Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Chris Cignoli and Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood held a press conference today to announce important public safety plans to help mitigate traffic and increase pedestrian safety on State Street by the Springfield Central Library. The recent Pedestrian and Roadway Improvement Analysis, which was started in June 2021, for State Street will include roadway narrowing, a raised crosswalk and the installation of RRFB/HAWK system. The engineering design will include roadway alterations for grading, merging, visibility, sight distances and will be ADA compliant.
City Council President Marcus Williams, Springfield Police Captain David Martin and Lt. Mel Kwatowski, Springfield City Library Director Molly Fogarty, Board of Library Commission Chair Stephen Cary, Springfield Museums President Kay Simpson and Library Board of Trustees Chair Melinda Phelps were also in attendance.
DPW Director Cignoli provided a brief history of previous pedestrian and roadway analyses on State Street that included having a defined crosswalk on State Street from the Library to the parking lot located across the street from the early 1970’s to the early 1990’s. After numerous accidents and pedestrian issues, the crosswalk was removed and State Street was redesigned by the City and MassDOT in the mid-2000’s after traffic analysis determined that a crossing could not be installed at the Library. A full and upgraded pedestrian crossing at State Street and Chestnut/Maple Street was installed. Per a 2018 traffic study, it was confirmed that crossing at the Library is not safe due to ‘stop traffic queues’.
The new roadway and pedestrian improvements and design, which will include a raised crosswalk, roadway narrowing and the installation of a RRFB/HAWK system, will begin in the Spring of 2022. DPW will initially install cones, barrels and barricades to review the impact on traffic while an engineering design is drafted for the roadway and pedestrian crossing alterations. The total project cost is estimated to be about $650,000.
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank DPW Director Chris Cignoli and his team of engineers for doing a thorough job in reviewing this study to help mitigate traffic on State Street and increase pedestrian safety. Simply put, this is not about money, it’s about public safety. This new design plan will enhance the safety for our pedestrians and help control and mitigate the flow of traffic on one of our city’s busiest public roads. Working with Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and her brave and dedicated men and women in Blue, we will continue with our active traffic enforcement not just on State Street but across our City.”
DPW Director Cignoli stated, “The pedestrian and roadway improvement analysis, which was started back in June 2021, carefully reviewed the data and previous traffic and pedestrian studies for the corridor. These included a recent roadway safety audit, traffic study for the casino development and field observations counting pedestrian crossings. Together, they all played a part in determining the safest location on where a crossing could be installed while adhering to all state and local statutes for public roads and intersections. We then had to determine the proper roadway layout to alter the traffic flow to accommodate the new installation of the pedestrian crossing. It was determined that the narrowing of the roadway and installation of a raised crosswalk with a RRFB/HAWK system would be ideal. Much like we do with similar projects of this kind, DPW will initially install barrels and barricades at the designated location to review and monitor the impact on traffic before any construction is slated to begin. DPW anticipates this project to commence in the Spring of 2022.”
The Springfield Police Department will continue with their active traffic enforcement initiatives along State Street and across the city. Recent traffic enforcement efforts by the Police Department on State Street resulted in 40 citations issued, eight criminal complaints and one arrest. On Boston Road, Springfield Police and the Massachusetts State Police issued 109 citations and 11 criminal complaints. On Parker Street, Springfield Police issued 108 citations and 4 criminal complaints – including one driver who was stopped for speeding twice, not even a mile apart. She was first pulled over doing 70 mph and upon leaving that traffic stopped was pulled over again for speeding just a short distance down the road.
Police Commissioner Clapprood said, “The brave and dedicated women and men of the Springfield Police Department will continue with their enhanced traffic enforcement not only at State Street but across the City. The goal here is to save lives and get drivers to slow down and not drive distracted. We all want drivers and pedestrians to get home safely. The Springfield Police Department’s Traffic Unit, Metro Unit and Squad Officers will continue to work closely with the DPW during this engineering process and in support of their efforts to help slow traffic on State Street and increase pedestrian safety.”