SGF Yields, the City of Springfield’s pedestrian safety program, reports a 37% average driver compliance rate at Springfield crosswalks for the first quarter of 2020, a rate 12 percentage points up from the first quarter of 2019.
“With a 35% average in fourth quarter, our first quarter 2020 results show the improvement in compliance is continuing to inch up,” says Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn. “Of course, our ultimate goal is to see 100% driver compliance. The community isn’t there yet, but the improvement over the last year shows that drivers are taking notice. We began our quarterly assessments in 2019 with only 25% stopping for a pedestrian waiting to cross. We hope to see continued progress in crosswalk awareness and safety throughout 2020.”
The quarterly assessment, performed by the 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.
In the first quarter of 2020, along with control locations at Grant Avenue near Talmage Street and Bennett Street at Delaware Avenue, Traffic Operations staff tested crosswalks on Commercial Street near Boonville Avenue, Kimbrough Avenue near Grand Street, Grant Avenue at Madison Street and Ingram Mill at Seneca Street.
Second quarter assessments were cancelled due to COVID-19, but Public Works plans to proceed with third quarter assessments in early July.
“We believe traffic patterns are beginning to normalize after the impacts of the pandemic,” says Buettgen-Quinn. “We’re focused on continuing these crosswalk assessments and believe driver awareness and compliance is key to increasing safety in our community.”
How are the quarterly assessments performed?
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, yard signs are placed at each study location to let the neighborhood know how they are doing. City-wide assessment results are 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. The boards are quarterly to reflect the community’s performance.
For more information on the City’s SGF Yields pedestrian safety program, visit springfieldmo.gov/sgfyields.