North Grant Ave Crosswalk Improvement
As part of the SGF Yield’s pedestrian safety campaign, Springfield Public Works conducts regular crosswalk studies to measure the program’s success. When a routine driver compliance assessment was conducted at the crosswalk at Grant Avenue at Calhoun street in 2019, staff found that only 3.8% of drivers stopped for a waiting pedestrian. A 12-hour follow-up study showed that around 140 people cross the street on foot daily, many of them children, yet only 1 out of 25 drivers would yield to a pedestrian waiting to cross. Conversations with the neighborhood and nearby Boys and Girls Club revealed that Grant Avenue is effectively a barrier for pedestrians, since traffic is swift and often constant and very few drivers yield.
A Traffic Calming Effort
Since Grant Avenue is a major arterial street and the cross streets have very minimal traffic, Public Works staff had to think outside of the box to come up with an improvement that allows traffic to move at a reasonable pace but clearly reminds drivers that they are in a neighborhood and that pedestrians have the right-of-way. Planned improvements include two sets of traffic calming medians that bookend the high-pedestrian area:
- The extra-wide medians will narrow down travel lanes on Grant Avenue at Lynn Street (by the Grant Beach Park entrance) and at Grant at Calhoun Street. Studies have shown that narrower lanes reduce speeding.
- The medians’ left turn lanes will be short, forcing turning motorists to slow down ahead of time, effectively slowing down other drivers as well.
- Slower traffic with larger gaps between cars is more likely to stop for a pedestrian.
- Medians will prevent drivers from passing public buses near the intersection, which is a major safety concern at crosswalks.
- Parts of the median will have a low profile, which means large vehicles such as fire trucks can allow their back tires to roll over the median when making turns.
- It is planned that local artists and residents will help design murals for the medians. This art is intended to remind drivers that they are in a neighborhood.
- Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) will aid pedestrians across. When a pedestrian activates the flashing lights, drivers will be alerted from a distance, allowing drivers more time to slow to stop. Studies show driver compliance increases significantly with the installation of RRFBs.
A traffic calming demonstration event was held on Oct. 28, 2019. Public Works set out cones, tires and a temporary crosswalk to simulate the footprint of the proposed traffic calming improvement project at Grant and Calhoun. Residents and drivers were invited to comment and ask questions, while engineers had a chance to test the design and make field changes if needed.
After collecting citizen input, engineers decided it would be best to keep the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection. The event was a success and Public Works is working toward installing the medians and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in early 2020.
The City will work to educate the public further on the function and operation of the new RRFBs, teaching pedestrians how to activate them, and educating drivers to stop.
National studies have indicated that driver compliance increases to about 70-80% following the installation of RRFBs. The current compliance rate at Grant and Calhoun is 3.8%.
Call to Artists!
This project is as much of a pedestrian safety project as it is a neighborhood improvement project. Residents should be to able to confidently and safely traverse Grant Avenue on foot - to enjoy the neighborhood as a whole. The traffic calming medians are intended to be decorative, reflecting the community’s support of pedestrian safety. The unique artwork will remind drivers that they are traveling through a neighborhood where people are concerned about everyone’s safety.
There will be four raised medians, one set at Grant and Calhoun, the other set at Lynn Street. Design proposals must not be too detailed or distracting. We ask that one of the colors used is neon-yellow, matching the pedestrian crosswalk signs.
All are encouraged to submit their design ideas, especially nearby schools and local groups. Download the design flyer here and drop off or mail your design to:
City of Springfield - Traffic Operations,
Attn. Mandy Buettgen-Quinn,
840 Boonville Ave, Springfield, MO 65802.
For Questions, contact Mandy Buettgen-Quinn, project manager at (417) 864-1801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.