Duval County

Colorful solution to pedestrian safety in Springfield

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Springfield is using a colorful way to protect pedestrians in the sidewalk.

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) worked with the city’s traffic engineering department for the past two years to install sidewalk art.

The third installation recently went in at the corner of Third and Market streets.

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“Our residents walk to our events and businesses — but all of this collective development and attention is bringing more people to the neighborhood,” Kelly Rich, SPAR’s executive director, said.

Each sidewalk is designed by a local artist, and neighbors agree it slows traffic down.

“It makes people slow down,” Diane Grase said. She moved to Jacksonville from Chicago. “I wanted something like my old Chicago neighborhood — the buildings, the ability to walk to bars, the walkability.”

SPAR said over the past few years, more than 1,000 people have moved in.

More than 20 businesses, most in the entertainment industry, have also come to Springfield since 2017.

Rich said the sidewalks help connect Springfield to downtown and attract more people to the neighborhood.

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 34 people died in pedestrian crashes in 2018 in Duval County. That statistic grew by about 20% to 41 pedestrian deaths so far in 2021.

A 2020 Smart Growth America study ranked Jacksonville as the tenth-most deadly city for pedestrians in the country.

A lack of visible sidewalks was one of the leading causes of fatalities.

In addition to the three painted sidewalks, SPAR helped get the speed limit reduced from 30 to 25 miles per hour on neighborhood roads.

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Rich said they hope to add up to three additional painted sidewalks every year.