FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City’s SGF Yields pedestrian safety program is stepping up their driver crosswalk compliance efforts. Beginning Thursday, Oct. 20 motorists who fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk may get pulled over. The first Yield Check will be conducted at the intersection of Bennett Street and Delaware Avenue in the Delaware Neighborhood.
Funded through a $21,120 grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation for overtime-based enforcement for hazardous moving violations, the Springfield Police Department, in partnership with SGF Yields, will begin conducting weekly driver Yield Checks at well-marked crosswalk locations. The goal of the exercise is to further increase the yielding rate at crosswalks through education-focused high-visibility enforcement, making the community more pedestrian friendly.
“Walkability and safety continue to be the top concerns of Springfield citizens. The Yield Checks conducted in 2021 increased driver compliance at crosswalks to an all-time high of 63 percent - not just at enforced crosswalks, but across the city,” explains Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “We’re thrilled the Springfield Police Department received this grant and is partnering with SGF Yields again to continue making progress in city-wide pedestrian safety.”
Between October and November 2022, the grant will fund three police officers on overtime for one four-hour Yield Check shift per week. The public will be notified of upcoming Crosswalk Yield Check locations in advance via news release and social media. Results of the exercise will also be reported to the public.
“Crosswalk Yield Checks are a way to give the community a friendly nudge to obey the rules,” says Buettgen-Quinn. “For the first few months, officers will hand out warnings and educational materials to those who don’t comply. After that, they may begin issuing citations if necessary.”
According to quarterly crosswalk compliance assessments, Springfield drivers currently yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk approximately 52 percent of the time. National studies show that educational enforcement activities like Yield Checks can result in 70 percent or more of drivers yielding at crosswalks.
How Crosswalk Yield Checks Work
Three police officers will station themselves at a designated crosswalk location for approximately four hours, monitoring for driver compliance. One officer will act as a decoy pedestrian, a second will function as a spotter and a third will be in a patrol car, ready to stop those who do not properly yield to the pedestrian.
Posted signage will alert drivers that they are approaching a Yield Check location. Those who are stopped will be provided a warning and educational materials. After a warning period of a few months, drivers may receive citations for blatant violations. Officers may also address any pedestrians that do not follow regulations and put themselves or others at risk.
The public will be notified of upcoming Crosswalk Yield Check locations in advance via news release and social media. Results of the exercise will also be reported to the public.
Crosswalk Yield Check locations are determined by Springfield Public Works and Springfield Police Department with guidance and input from citizens through the SGF Yields Citizen Action Group.
For more information about Crosswalk Yield Checks and the SGF Yields pedestrian safety program, please visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields, follow SGF Yields on Facebook, or email [email protected].
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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected] or Springfield Police Department PAO Cris Swaters at 417-864-1786 or [email protected].