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Local History 

New Traffic Signals in 1925

 Traffic being regulated by signal signs
Springfield Leader, October 21, 1925 page 1

"Operation of the automatic traffic signals on the square and at the intersection of St. Louis Street and Jefferson Avenue was begun at 10 o’clock this morning by the police department and although some drivers were confused temporarily by the new system, the majority were quick to catch the signals as they were flashed and to obey them, according to chief of Police A. C. Boehm.

“’No trouble will be experienced if drivers keep their heads up and look where they are going,’ said the chief.  ‘The signals tell the driver plainly what to do and he will experience no trouble if he obeys the signals as they are flashed.  Anyone having an accident while disregarding the signals will have to suffer the consequences.’

"A number of drivers failed to see the signals they told police after being hailed.  This excuse will not be considered at any time and under any conditions said Chief Boehm.  ‘Anyone who can’t see the signals surely must be blind,’ the Chief said.

"The square has been marked off to fit in with the signal system.  Street cars now stop at safety zones inside the square and it is being suggested that parking be eliminated for several feet on streets leading into the square.

"Traffic on the square is presenting the greatest problem for the man handling the signal controls.  A system is being worked out as to turns which will be allowed on the square and this will be announced later by Chief Boehm.

"The signals will be operated each day from an early hour until 10 o’clock at night said the chief.  The Chief urged today that all pedestrians be careful in crossing intersections on the square and at St. Louis and Jefferson.  ‘If everyone will watch the signals and attempt to cross the street only when the crossing is closed to automobile traffic then no one will get hurt,’ said the chief.  ‘It will be extremely dangerous for any pedestrian to disregard the signals and wait in the middle of the street until traffic clears away.  No left hand turns are being allowed at St. Louis and Jefferson.  Several drivers were stopped and warned today because of their disregarding this signal.  A driver may make a right hand turn at the Jefferson and St. Louis intersection but under no circumstances will be allowed to turn to the left, said Chief Boehm. 

“’We will give everyone a reasonable amount of time to get acquainted with the new signal system,’ said the chief.  ’Everyone should be interested enough to be willing to cooperate with us in making traffic conditions better in this city.  But after a certain time when everyone living in this city has had a chance to become acquainted with the new system, we will start arresting all violators.  We hope we do not have to arrest anybody.  The signals were installed for the benefit of pedestrians and drivers alike and I am sure the signal system will do much towards solving the traffic situation in Springfield.’”


Read an article at History.com about the first electric traffic signal.

 


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