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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SGF Yields, the City of Springfield’s pedestrian safety program, reports a 34% average driver compliance rate at Springfield crosswalks, a rate nearly 10 percentage points up from the first quarter of 2019.
“With a 35% average in third quarter, our fourth quarter results show the improvement in compliance has held steady,” says Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “Of course, our ultimate goal is to see 100% driver compliance. The community isn't there yet, but the improvement over the last year shows that drivers are taking notice. We began our quarterly assessments in 2019 with only 25% stopping for a pedestrian waiting to cross. We hope to see continued progress in crosswalk awareness and safety in 2020.”
The quarterly assessment, performed by the Public Works Traffic Operations division since 2017, evaluates driver compliance at six crosswalk sites with similar traffic speeds and characteristics. Two locations are studied every quarter as a control group. The remaining sites are selected from each of the four City Council zones. Results from each location are averaged to produce a snapshot of driver compliance across town.
This quarter, along with control locations at Grant Avenue near Talmage Street and Bennett Street at Delaware Avenue, Traffic Operations staff tested crosswalks on Broadway Avenue near Swan Street, Mt. Vernon Street at Golden Avenue, Seminole Street at Cedarbrook Avenue, and Pythian Street at Patterson Avenue.
The fourth quarter results also highlight marked improvement at the crosswalk on Broadway Avenue and Swan Street, near the entrance of Horace Mann Elementary School, where driver compliance has jumped to 48% from a rate of 28% in late 2018.
In the last year, the City has installed in-road pedestrian signs, improved ADA sidewalk ramps and re-aligned lane markings on Broadway Avenue to help accommodate school traffic flow and improve safety. Horace Mann was also the recipient of one of five Mr. Walker and Student Walker statues, made possible through a 2019 grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“The improvements at Horace Mann have all helped to increase visibility and awareness of pedestrians at the crosswalk,” explains Buettgen-Quinn. “To receive the Mr. Walker and Student installation, the school worked with us to increase pedestrian education to students, teachers and parents. It’s exciting to see the positive effect on driver compliance and safety at this location.”
About Pedestrian Safety Efforts in Springfield
SGF Yields was launched in 2017 as an educational campaign prior to passage of the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance, which was approved by City Council in response to an increase in pedestrian-involved crashes in Springfield. An average of 60 pedestrians are struck on Springfield streets each year.
The ordinance provides the ability to fine pedestrians or drivers a 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 (half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise), limits the crossing of arterial roadways and intersections to designated locations, prohibits pedestrians from stopping on medians for more than two consecutive opportunities when crossing roadways, and prohibits certain conduct between pedestrians and drivers on roadways with high volumes of traffic or high speed limits. The ordinance does account for exceptions related to emergency situations or for workers designated to work within the roadway.
“The ordinance prohibits pedestrians from lingering on medians for their own safety, since they are frequently involved when crashes occur in intersections,” Buettgen explains. “Education is key in encouraging both drivers and pedestrians to properly utilize crosswalks and increase safety. We’re hoping the community will continue to respond and make an effort to do better, hopefully contributing to a safer, more pedestrian-friendly Springfield.”
How are the quarterly assessments performed?
Traffic Operations staff stages crosswalk compliance assessments at either mid-block or two-way stop intersections with a clearly marked crosswalk. A staff member poses as a crossing pedestrian, timing their approach to the crosswalk so he or she stops at the edge of the street when an approaching motorist is a safe stopping distance away. The pedestrian subject places one foot in the roadway or bike lane and makes eye contact with the on-coming motorist, clearly demonstrating their intent to cross as is stipulated by City ordinance. Staff then keep a count of how many drivers yield or do not yield to the test pedestrian. Each site is assessed for roughly an hour, tallying the behavior of between 100 and 150 drivers.
In an effort to raise public awareness, the assessment results are posted on a set of educational boards located at the intersections of Glenstone Avenue and Division Street and at Campbell Avenue and Walnut Lawn Street. The boards are quarterly to reflect the community’s performance.
For more information on the City's SGF Yields pedestrian safety program, visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.
For more information, please contact Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or Mandy Buettgen-Quinn at 417-864-1801.