Why you should “pop up” as a volunteer for traffic calming demo June 16-17

One of the most-cited issues at Rountree neighborhood meetings is the traffic situation at Cherry and Pickwick. It’s absolutely awesome that this lynchpin “commercial node” is becoming more vibrant, hip, and popular. But that also means more people want to visit this space to eat, shop or have a drink. Combine this traffic with the average high speed of cars traveling along Cherry and all the pedestrians in the area and, well, it’s increasingly congested – and dangerous.

This month, the issue will receive some attention – and you can help make it happen as a volunteer. If you’re worried about safety at Cherry & Pickwick, there’s something you can do to help spotlight the problem.

If you were at the city’s kick-off meeting for the UCD review on May 16, you heard mention of a new pilot project to test some “pop-up” traffic calming measures on Cherry. This is actually a partnership between the Ozark Mountain Section of the American Planning Association’s Missouri Chapter; Trailnet; the City of Springfield; and various other local organizations. It’s made possible by a $60,000 grant from the APA, and similar demonstrations are happening in Kansas City and St. Louis.

If you’re not familiar with the term “traffic calming,” it’s just engineering speak for using street design to get vehicles to slow down. This demonstration will temporarily put in place some curb, crosswalk and other elements designed to do just that. Traffic counts and speeds will be taken before and during the demo to measure impact. The project will consist of building out curbs at two “choke points” just to the east and west of the Cherry/Pickwick intersection; bumping out the curbs on both sides of Cherry at Pickwick; a crosswalk; and signage.

Here’s where we come in: it’s going to take a lot of effort to put all that stuff in place. It has to be done quickly and efficiently, and it has to be done right.

“We are very excited to partner with the Rountree Neighborhood Association to show how small changes in street design can make a big impact for the community. However, we cannot make this happen without volunteers. Support from the neighborhood is vital to this community engagement event’s success.” said Jeremy Snow, President of the APA Ozark Mountain Section and project lead.

Volunteers are needed from 5:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. on Friday, June 16 to set up, as well as 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 17th to tear down. Various data collection activities will be conducted throughout the day on both days and will need some additional volunteers.

Not only will you be helping make this happen, but you’ll be pitching in with neighbors and friends. The project planners are also inviting local media to cover this story, so it will be a great way to show how involved and connected our hood is to the rest of the community.

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Jeremy Snow at jsnow@environmentalworks.com.

UPDATE: Here’s some local news coverage of the project.

KSPR: Creative study hopes to improve the safety of one intersection in Springfield

News-Leader: “Something has to be done” … Pop-up traffic calming on Cherry Street

About Mike Brothers

Mike is a Pickwick Person; husband to Maureen and dad to Vivian and Dorothy. He has lived in the neighborhood since 2011 and has lived in Springfield for over 20 years. He the PR director for Drury University. He was previously a communications specialist with the City of Springfield and the Springfield-Greene County Health Dept, and before that a features writer and music columnist with the News-Leader.
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