On average, only 25 percent of Springfield drivers yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, according to a recent driver compliance assessment completed through the City’s SGF Yields pedestrian safety program.
The quarterly assessment, performed by Public Works Traffic Operations division since 2017, evaluates driver compliance at six crosswalk sites with similar traffic speeds and characteristics. Two locations are studied every quarter as a control group. The remaining sites are selected from each of the four City Council zones. Results from each location are averaged to produce a snapshot of driver compliance across town.
“We aren’t surprised by these results,” explains Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “Most drivers will slow for a pedestrian already in a crosswalk, but very few drivers know that they are required by law to yield to walkers waiting at the curbside of crosswalks. And if drivers don’t stop at crosswalks, it’s difficult to encourage pedestrians to use them.”
Traffic Operations staff stages crosswalk compliance assessments at either mid-block or two-way stop intersections with a clearly marked crosswalk. A staff member poses as a crossing pedestrian, timing their approach to the crosswalk so he or she stops at the edge of the street when an approaching motorist is a safe stopping distance away. The pedestrian subject places one foot in the roadway or bike lane and makes eye contact with the on-coming motorist, clearly demonstrating their intent to cross as is stipulated by City ordinance. Staff then keep a count of how many drivers yield or do not yield to the test pedestrian. Each site is assessed for roughly an hour, tallying the behavior of between 100 and 150 drivers.
In an effort to raise public awareness, the assessment results will be posted on a set of educational boards located at the intersections of Glenstone Avenue and Division Street and at Campbell Avenue and Walnut Lawn Street. These boards will be updated quarterly to reflect the community’s performance.
“Education is key in encouraging both drivers and pedestrians to properly utilize crosswalks and increase safety,” says Buettgen-Quinn. “We’re hoping the community will respond to that number and make an effort to do better, hopefully contributing to a safer, more pedestrian-friendly Springfield.”
For more information on the SGF Yields pedestrian safety campaign, visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.
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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected].