Report recommends ways to improve pedestrian safety in Springfield

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Springfield, MO Nationwide, car accidents are declining. Those involving pedestrians, however, are up.

Back in July, the city launched SGF Yields, a campaign aimed at getting the number of pedestrian facilities to zero.
It will take time to get the word out and raise awareness. The city says this year, the number of those accidents already at five fatalities, which is one more than all of the previous year.

There are more cars than ever out there mixed with more people walking and biking. Another contributing factor, law enforcement says, is the presence of more distractions- on both the part of drivers and the pedestrians.

"We really need to get a handle on this issue. It is something that not only the city is deal with this issue," said Shawn Leight with CBB Transportation Engineers and Planners.

CBB was commissioned by the city to come up with ways to turn back the unfortunate trends. The firm praised the city for things like the SGF Yields campaign, and for having uniform design standards to minimize confusion.

In a presentation to the Springfield City Council on Tuesday, CBB pointed out areas where most of the accidents have taken place.
Many are downtown, but most are along arterial streets with higher speeds- larger volumes of traffic, and narrow medians.

Eric Claussen, City of Springfield Traffic Engineer, stated, "I think what they brought forward was really good; it was really what we were after as a city."

Their recommendations include better regulation of pedestrian access along those busy roads, which area defined as 15,000 or more vehicles per day, having a speed limit of 35 miles an hour or higher, and lacking wide medians.

"We want everything we can do in place to protect bicyclists, pedestrians, all users of our facilities within the city of Springfield," Claussen said.

The report did not reveal a cost estimate for implementing some or all of the recommendations. Council members will soon vote whether to adopt the report and use as a guide for planning purposes.