A new study by the City of Springfield shows that on average, three out of every four Springfield drivers ignore pedestrians who are attempting to use a crosswalk.
The city’s Public Works Traffic Operations department has performed a quarterly report since 2017 of crosswalk sites in all four City Council zones. Driver compliance is evaluated at six crosswalk locations with similar characteristics and traffic speed.
“We aren’t surprised by these results,” Traffic Safety Professional Mandy Buettgen-Quinn said in a statement. “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.”
The assessments are made when a Traffic Operations staff member times an approach to a crosswalk to allow a driver a safe distance to stop. The pedestrian puts one foot in the road or bike lane and makes eye contact with the oncoming motorist, indicating their intent to cross as defined by city ordinance. Staff then count the number of drivers who yield versus the number who keep driving.
The city plans to post signs at Glenstone & Division and Campbell & Walnut Lawn showing the poor community performance in yielding to pedestrians in an attempt to raise awareness.
“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.”