Thursday, January 5, 2012


This past year, there has been an increase in collisions between
pedestrians and motor vehicles within the City of Tucson. In 2011,
there were 25 serious injury or fatal collisions involving pedestrians,
which is a significant jump over 2010, when there were 13 pedestrian
collisions, and 2009 when there were 10.

City Manager Richard Miranda has put together a task force of staff
from the Transportation, Police, Fire, and Parks and Recreation
departments to focus on pedestrian safety. The group is being led by
Assistant City Manager’s Liz Miller and Andy Quigley and is developing
a pedestrian safety strategy for immediate implementation and will
focus on three key elements – prioritized pedestrian transportation
improvements, education and enforcement of laws.

“At this time, I feel it is paramount that we evaluate our pedestrian
safety efforts to ensure that we are programming our available resources
as effectively as possible to provide for the safety of pedestrians
within the City.” Miranda said.

Over the years, Tucson has been a recognized leader with regards to
innovative pedestrian safety transportation improvements. The City
designed and installed the first HAWK (High Intensity Activated
Crosswalk) crossing in March 2000 at Valencia/San Fernando. Today there
are a total of 110 pedestrian-activated traffic signals throughout the
City, and the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices now
recognizes Tucson’s HAWK crossings as a transportation standard.

The cost of installing a pedestrian-activated traffic signal is
approximately $125,000. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is
the current funding source for these signals. In the past, the City
chose to use its HURF funds along with a match from a school or other
entity requesting the signal. HURF funding has been cut dramatically in
recent years and now stands at 1994 levels. In 2010, the RTA allocated
funding to install nine additional pedestrian-activated traffic signals.
Two have been installed (Campbell/Bantam and Speedway/Arcadia) with the
remaining programmed over the next two years. The planned locations are
as follows:

Swan/Third Street - 2012
22nd/Lakeshore Lane - 2012
Speedway/10th Ave - 2012
Broadway/Old Spanish Trail - 2012
Stone Avenue/King Street - 2013
Park Avenue/33rd Street - 2013
Golf Links/La Paloma Academy - 2013

The City has a list of over 50 additional locations where we would like
to install pedestrian-activated traffic signals if funding becomes
available. These locations are determined by a variety of factors
including adjacency to land uses that generate pedestrian traffic (e.g.
schools), requests from surrounding property owners, and prior accidents
at a particular location.

Education, awareness, and enforcement are also key aspects of
pedestrian safety.

“As far as immediate next steps, the task force will examine TPD
accident statistics to determine if there are hot spots or environmental
factors that contribute to accidents,” Miranda said.

For example, a first review of pedestrian collision statistics over the
past three years shows that the majority of incidents happen at night
and involve jaywalking. Stepped up enforcement at these locations may
also be needed. Going forward, the City will establish clear criteria
and protocols for identifying and prioritizing the locations for
pedestrian-activated traffic signals.

In addition, staff is updating current educational materials and will
take a more active approach to getting this information out through
existing City outreach programs. Presentations already scheduled by
departments (Fire during their school visits and recreation staff at
KIDCO and other programs for example) will emphasize pedestrian
awareness and safety during the next three months. The City will enlist
Channel 12 in producing an updated educational video on pedestrian
safety that can be distributed through City communication channels as
well as through a Public Service Announcement.

Some additional tips for pedestrians and motorists are below:

§ Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility
§ Cross streets at corners, traffic signals, or in marked
crosswalks. Don’t jaywalk
§ Pedestrians should not assume motorists see you in a crosswalk
§ Use sidewalks when available
§ Drivers look both ways when pulling out of driveways and side
§ Pedestrians look both ways before crossing a street
§ Pedestrians should wear light-colored clothing or reflective
clothing at night