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Community Safety

Springfield Traffic Safety Report Finds Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities

SGF Yields Campaign
Sarah Teague

Springfield city officials hope the results of a recent study will prompt safety improvements for pedestrians at intersections.

The Street and Intersection Pedestrian Safety Study, released Nov. 21, follows the July launch of the SGF Yields campaign through Springfield’s Public Works Department.

Traffic Engineer Eric Claussen says the campaign and the study are separate entities but work together to educate Springfield drivers and pedestrians on effective traffic safety. They also highlight city intersections where pedestrians need more protection.

“We’re averaging about 60 pedestrians struck every year on city streets, and this year we have had five pedestrian fatalities,” Claussen said. “That’s what spurred the initiation of the study — (it) was just a way to address pedestrian safety in and around our busiest intersections.”

The study was compiled by St. Louis traffic engineering and planning company CBB. Claussen hopes the results will compel council to pass bill 2017-282, which calls for regulations to make Springfield’s streets safer.

Claussen said the bill details volume, speed and median width that may be the cause of higher risk for accidents at Springfield intersections. These will serve as the criteria for deciding where more protection is needed, he says.

“There are three roadway characteristics that were defined by the study,” Claussen said. “(These are) 15,000 vehicles per day on the roadway, or a speed limit of 35 mph or greater or a median of six feet wide or narrower. So (these areas) are really going to be where we’re looking at additional protections for pedestrians in that regard.”

A second reading of the study is scheduled for Dec. 11 as the city awaits passage, Claussen said.

He notes the study shares tips with drivers and pedestrians for creating safer roadways, including what drivers and pedestrians can consider when approaching intersections.

“The idea is for everyone to look out for one another,” Claussen said. “As a driver, we want pedestrians to be where they’re expected, but we also want drivers to be cautious in areas where they expect pedestrians to be. Everyone seems to be in a hurry and distracted with devices and whatnot, (but) we really ask that people put their devices down and pay attention to the road.”

Claussen said while drivers need to pay attention when navigating Springfield, pedestrians need to also be in the areas that are designated for them to prevent accidents.