Rountree traffic project aims to slow drivers, make more room for pedestrians

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Tucked in the middle of the Rountree Neighborhood is the lively intersection of Cherry Street and Pickwick Avenue.

Mike Brothers, President of the Rountree Neighborhood Association, has lived in the area for nine years and has no plans on moving because of the growth of the busy intersection. He says over those nine years he and other residents have enjoyed that growth, but with growth comes traffic and safety concerns.

“The interactions between pedestrians and vehicles here have always been an issue. About four or five years ago, we really approached the city, saying we need to do something about this here. We’d like to see a crosswalk or some kind of signage or something,” says Brothers.

Well, the city accepted the concerns and held a traffic study in 2017.

“We did a pop-up traffic calming demonstration with the help of a few partners. That gave us a better idea on how a traffic calming feature might function in this location at this intersection. We were also able to gather feedback from the community and gather some data in terms of speeds and volumes on the roadway,” says Derrick Estell, Springfield Traffic Operations Engineer.

Courtesy: City of Springfield

Estell is the project manager for the traffic calming project the city drew up in response to the 2017 study.

Here’s what the project will bring to Cherry Street:

  • Bulb-out points
    • Near Cherry and Fremont Avenue
    • Cherry and Pickwick intersection
    • Near railroad tracks before Cherry and Weller Avenue
  • Three crosswalks
    • The middle crosswalk will be raised
    • Outer crosswalks will be featured on bulb-out points
  • Six new car parking spots, two motorcycle parking spots
  • Reduce crosswalk from 37 feet to closer to 22 feet

“As you approach this area, there will be appropriate signage basically indicating that you are entering into a pedestrian-friendly area,” says Estell. He says these signs will be similar to the ones used around downtown Springfield.

Courtesy: City of Springfield

Ellie Schmidly, Front of House Manager at Cherry Pickers Package and Fair, says as a business that has called the intersection home for four years, she has seen both vehicle and pedestrian traffic increase.

“I love the idea of making Cherry Street way more pedestrian-friendly, it is a neighborhood, and there’s a lot of amazing businesses right on this corner,” says Schmidly.

Brothers says parking will continue to be an issue for the area, but the new spots will help. He says as the area continues to grow as a pedestrian-friendly area, he encourages people to use modes of transportation besides a car, aka walking.

“Let’s have everybody walk form the neighborhood, let’s have everybody walk from Walnut and Elm, let’s get more people walking from Missouri State, maybe if they live downtown they can come over here. The extent we can get people biking and walking that is going to help everything, traffic, business, just the vibe and the energy here and that’s what the design is helping to do,” says Brothers.

One business owner in the area voiced concerns about delivery trucks not being able to maneuver the road’s narrower part. Estell says that the 11-foot section will still give room for trucks and emergency vehicles to drive in the area without a problem.

Following the public comment period for the preliminary design, Estell and his team will develop the final engineering design plans and expects to bid the project in November. Construction is anticipated to begin in early Spring 2021 and be done by the start of summer 2021.

The project is still in the public comment period; you can voice your comment here until Friday, August 21.

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