SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield is now one of the few cities in the country where a driver is required to yield to pedestrians waiting near a crosswalk.
Mandy Buettgen-Quinn, a traffic safety professional with the City of Springfield, said the new “three-foot rule” was a series of updates the city made to traffic codes in November. Quinn said only 44% of Springfield drivers were yielding at crosswalks last quarter.
“Drivers are doing better and better, but still more than half of people are not stopping for pedestrians,” said Quinn.
Drivers will now have to watch for not only pedestrians already in the road or waiting at an intersection, but anyone who’s walking within 3 feet of a crosswalk.
“We want them to just stop for somebody who is right at the curb, where they’re safe, but visible by driver’s and they are making eye contact, demonstrating their intent of crossing,” said Quinn. “So three feet is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair safely, but it’s narrow enough that drivers are not confused about what pedestrian is trying to do.”
This change only applies to crosswalks and four-way stops, not intersections that already have traffic lights and signals; the same goes for bicyclists.
“If bicyclists want to use a crosswalk and get a yield, they would have to dismount their bikes,” said Quinn.
Quinn also says that Springfield police officers will dress in plain clothing and test drivers at intersections around the city starting in March.