FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nationally, pedestrian-involved crashes have been on the rise since 2009. This number can be attributed to the growing use of smart phones which can serve as a significant source of distraction to both drivers and pedestrians.
On average, 60 pedestrians are struck on Springfield streets per year.
To combat this growing trend, the City is rolling out a new pedestrian safety campaign called SGF Yields, made possible by a $5,000 Blueprint for Safer Roadways grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
The goal of the campaign is to initiate a cultural change in Springfield toward being more pedestrian friendly. The aim is to foster an awareness in motorists to actively watch for pedestrians and to yield to them at crosswalks, while pedestrians are urged to travel responsibly – using crosswalks, obeying traffic signals and following other tips to stay safe.
In an attempt to increase awareness of crosswalk locations and remind drivers to watch out, the campaign includes a unique element – sculptural installations of the campaign’s spokes-pedestrian “Mr. Walker.” These brightly colored, life size metal cutouts will be installed near crosswalks at 10 locations around Springfield. They are intended to reinforce existing crosswalk signage and serve as a highly visible reminder to drivers and pedestrians.
“Our goal is that the Mr. Walker installations will raise awareness and make people take care in crossing the street and that drivers watch closely for pedestrians,” says Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “We hope citizens will identify with this character and have a little fun seeking out each Mr. Walker location.”
Educational booths will be setup at multiple art and safety events this summer beginning with a kick-off event in Park Central Square during the July 7 First Friday Art Walk. The booth will feature pedestrian safety tips, give-aways and a selfie station with Mr. Walker.
For more information and safety tips, visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.
For more information, please contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected] or Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn at 417-864-1801 or [email protected].