FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
City Council will vote tonight on a proposed ordinance the City staff think will protect pedestrians and occupants of vehicles at intersections and along streets which have high volumes of traffic, high speed limits, or narrow medians.
Over the past year, five pedestrians have been killed on Springfield streets and an average of 60 pedestrians are struck on Springfield streets each year. The City of Springfield has taken measures to address the educational component of pedestrian safety with the ‘SGF Yields’ campaign aimed at bringing awareness to both drivers and pedestrians. In addition, City Council asked that City staff commission a study examining pedestrian safety on Springfield streets and intersections to better understand what can be done to address the issue.
A report following that study conclusively demonstrated that arterial roadways with higher speeds and traffic volumes present a heightened potential for dangers for both pedestrians and motorists. To facilitate safety for pedestrians and motorists alike, recommendations urge that pedestrians should only be allowed in the roadway when:
- They remain in designated pedestrian areas where motorists reasonably expect them to be located (sidewalks and crosswalks)
- There is temporary traffic control set up to warn drivers that pedestrians will be present (maintenance or special events)
- They are using particular roadways that sustain low traffic volumes and speeds
- They use temporary pedestrian refuge as part of the process of crossing a road.
The proposed ordinance provides the ability to fine pedestrians or drivers (minimum of $100) for violating City Code regarding right-of-way in crosswalks, limits the time of day that a pedestrian can cross a roadway outside of crosswalks and intersections (during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, no pedestrian shall cross any roadway at any place other than a crosswalk or intersection), limits the crossing of arterial roadways and intersections to designated locations, and prohibits certain conduct between pedestrians and drivers on roadways with high volumes of traffic or high speed limits.
The exceptions to these prohibitions include law enforcement personnel, persons engaged in rescue activities, persons engaged in emergency vehicular repair, public employees or permitted contractors with required duties, or persons entering a stopped vehicle such as a taxicab or public transportation in a designated area.
“With the number of pedestrian-involved crashes and fatalities continuing to grow on Springfield streets over the past decade, the City is seeking ways to curb the trend,” said Public Works Traffic Engineer Eric Claussen. The start of the study came in conjunction with the 2017 launch of the SGF Yields campaign aimed to increase education and awareness of pedestrian safety.
If passed by City Council, the ordinance goes into effect immediately, however Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says that officers will primarily issue warnings and help to educate the public regarding the new rules through end of December. Beginning in January 2018, officers will proactively enforce the ordinance.
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Recommended restricted crossing locations
Street and Intersection Pedestrian Safety Study
Council Bill 2017-282: Proposed Pedestrian Safety Ordinance
SGF Yields Public Education Campaign: www.springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields
For more information, contact Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or Public Works Traffic Engineer Eric Claussen at 417-894-2774.