Over the past few months, several Springfield School District students, and in one instance a parent, were struck by cars while walking to school. When parents reached out to the school district and the police department to ask for more crossing guards and other pedestrian safety measures, they were given responses that seemed inadequate and even dismissive. Several concerned Springfield parents circulated a petition in an effort to force the issue with Springfield Township Commissioners, school district officials, and the Springfield PD. The petition, written by Amy Wall-Monte, demands more pedestrian safety measures and, to date, has nearly 800 signatures.
Several of those concerned, including those directly affected by the recent collisions, spoke at the Commissioners’ meeting on March 14th.
Likely in response to public pressure, the Commissioners formed a Pedestrian Safety Committee and had their first meeting on March 24. The initial meeting was not public, and at this time there are no community members on the committee. The committee consists of township officials, township commissioners, Chief Daly, members of the Springfield PD, township engineers, representatives from Springfield School District, and representatives from Jennifer O’Mara’s and Tim Kearney’s offices.
Following the meeting, the committee announced that they will move forward with a federally funded PennDOT Vulnerable Road User (VRU) project which will make pedestrian signal upgrades at certain already-signalized intersections throughout Springfield. The Springfield Police Department plans to add officer patrols to School Zones and increase its focus on School Zone speeding infractions. In addition, traffic and speed-monitoring equipment is being placed on both Ballymore Road and Saxer Avenue. It is unclear if the committee discussed increased crossing guard presence, which was one of the primary concerns of the parents who brought the issue to their attention. You can find more details about the committee’s plans here:
Members of the committee have made assurances that its work will continue to be made public. It will be important to keep up public pressure in the event that the committee’s level of transparency proves inadequate.