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The City of Springfield Department of Public Works was recently awarded a $11,400 Blueprint for Safer Roadways grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation to continue and expand the SGF Yields pedestrian safety program.
Launched in July of 2017, SGF Yields is an effort to combat a growing trend in pedestrian-involved crashes on Springfield roadways. The program is aimed at encouraging motorists to actively watch for pedestrians and yield to them in crosswalks while also urging pedestrians to do their part to travel responsibly.
In its first year, the program distributed educational pieces to over 5,000 citizens at 14 safety-related events. Local employers have agreed to share SGF Yields Traffic Safety Guide with nearly 1,000 of their employees and more than 45 local businesses show their support for pedestrians by displaying SGF Yields materials in their stores.
In addition to educational resources, nine life-size “Mr. Walker” statues have been installed at various crosswalk locations throughout Springfield – downtown, on Commercial Street, near busy intersections and greenway trails. The presence of these brightly-colored statues is intended to reinforce existing crosswalk signage and serve as a visible reminder to thousands of drivers and pedestrians that pass by each day.
A portion of the newly-awarded grant will be used to continue current SGF Yields efforts to reach the general public. A larger portion will support the expansion of the program to focus specifically on children – making safety educational resources available to Springfield schools and potentially adding Mr. Walker installations near school crosswalk locations.
“From the beginning, the goal of SGF Yields has been to change the culture in Springfield to be more pedestrian-friendly,” explains Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “The best way to encourage that cultural shift is through reaching kids, who are more receptive to learning new ways and building safe habits. Our hope is they may even pass some of these habits on to their parents.”
To learn more about SGF Yields, visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.
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For more information, please contact Kristen Milam at [email protected] or 573-819-3713.