Medians on Springfield’s East Sunshine Street? Not for at least three years, City Council decides
Springfield City Council voted 7-to-1 to delay a state plan to put medians along East Sunshine Street, after businesses in the area balked at the idea of more regulation on car traffic.
Recently, Missouri Department of Transportation plans to add traffic medians preventing some left turns along East Sunshine Street became a hot topic of community conversation.
But Springfield City Council voted against the idea Monday night, supporting a resolution to delay putting medians on East Sunshine Street for at least three years.
A coalition of at least 60 businesses objected to the medians, and several local entrepreneurs had their say with Council on Monday night. They said the safety measure would cost them revenues. City Councilman Richard Ollis, whose insurance company is located on East Sunshine, shared that view.
Ollis, who will exit City Council following the April 4 election, voted with the majority for the resolution to delay those medians.
Meanwhile General Seat C City Councilman Andrew Lear recused himself. Zone 1 City Councilwoman Monica Horton was the lone opponent of the move.
Horton questioned MODOT director Patrick McKenna as to whether there was any hard data on economic harm caused to business by traffic medians; he said state authorities only had “estimates from the businesses themselves.” Horton cited recent pedestrian and automobile deaths in Springfield as a reason to prioritize safety.
Craig Hosmer, General Council Seat B, voted for the delay on MODOT’s medians but used his City Council platform to note that in January, Council voted to send to committee a proposal supported by neighborhood residents to delay a controversial development in the University Heights neighborhood. The move cut off public debate before neighbors could have their say before their elected representatives, Hosmer said.
Neighborhoods, Hosmer argued, don’t get the same level of consideration that business interests do at the City of Springfield.
Hosmer added, "I’m not saying that businesses shouldn’t be listened to. But the same arguments that you all have made tonight: It impacts your business, impacts your property values, impacts your city, impacts public safety, impacts traffic — We should listen to you, but we should also listen to neighbors. Because Springfield is made up of good businesses, but it’s also — if we don’t have good neighborhoods in this city, I say it again: God help the City of Springfield. Because traffic is a big issue, but if you have bad neighborhoods in the City of Springfield, people are going to move to move to Republic, they’re going to move to Willard, they’re going to move to Strafford.”
A group of seven Republican state lawmakers also opposed the medians, according to documents filed with City Council. The Greene County Commission called for “engineering solutions,” arguing it was possible to accommodate businesses and safety.