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Council steers neighborhood funding toward fixing up West Central intersection

Mount Vernon Street and Broadway Avenue March 2023
Gregory Holman/KSMU
The intersection of Mt. Vernon Street and Broadway Avenue will get $87,000 in upgrades including "bulb-out" curbs and pedestrian markings after Springfield City Council passed a resolution funding the work on Monday, March 6, 2023.

A street intersection residents say is plagued by speeding drivers will get upgrades including "bulb-out" curbs and pedestrian markings after Springfield City Council passed a funding resolution.

Springfield City Councilman Mike Schilling represents Zone 3. That’s the southwest quadrant of the city.

“I’ve lived here for 40 years or so," Schilling told KSMU late last week. "And I’ve never seen traffic that seems to be so risky and unmannerly and the speeding that’s really at the root of it is really an epidemic, everywhere.”

At past council meetings, Schilling has spoken out about the effect of cars on Springfield life. And so when one of his constituents contacted him about speeding along Mt. Vernon Street — in a leafy neighborhood near downtown that’s full of homes and churches — he helped the resident see if the city could put a stop sign at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Broadway Avenue.

But as it turned out, city traffic engineers determined there isn’t enough car traffic to justify a stop sign at that location.

So a new council resolution passed Monday night would steer roughly $87,000 to improving the intersection. The money comes from the 1/4-Cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax Minor Neighborhood Improvement Program. It would pay for “bulb-out” curbs to narrow the roadway and slow down cars. People walking across the intersection will travel just 20 feet through the road, instead of 30 feet, lowering their risk.

mount vernon bulbouts.png
Gregory Holman/KSMU
City engineering plans to improve an intersection in the West Central neighborhood are shown. On March 6, 2023, City Council voted to spend $87,000 to add the improvements including "bulb-out" curbs and pedestrian markings.

Folks who live in the area say they’re eager to slow down cars on Mt. Vernon.

KSMU asked, “Like is this a thing where it would be a good first start, but the neighborhood thinks more is ultimately needed?"

“Yes," said Brandon Jenson, president of the West Central neighborhood association. "...And we recognize the city a couple of years ago purchased some of those mobile speed signs that sort of flash if you’re going too fast over the speed limit and so that’s helped a little bit, but there needs to be major redesign of that road to truly change driver habits.”

Jenson is running for the City Council seat currently held by Schilling. David Nokes is also running.

A city traffic engineer told KSMU that many Springfield neighborhoods want traffic calming improvements similar to the plan for the Mt. Vernon-Broadway intersection, but that funding for them is relatively limited.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.