Phoenix task force aims at getting pedestrians safely across
PHOENIX — With pedestrian deaths on the rise in the Valley, Phoenix’s street transportation department has stepped up its efforts to try to limit deaths on the road.
“[The pedestrian task force] is looking very closely at issues,” Monica Hernandez with the city of Phoenix told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “What are the contributing factors? What are some of the common themes? What are some of the trends and so on.”
The task force is made up of law enforcement and street transportation officials, among others.
According to Hernandez, there are two scenarios that put pedestrians in the most harm.
“One of the most common reoccurring issues is what we’re seeing on roadways is the mid-block crossing activity,” Hernandez said. “This is taking place at very busy and large streets. The other one is people crossing mid-block during dark hours.
“It’s something we see a lot and what we’re aiming to do is focus on the three E’s; engineering, enforcement and education. Those are paramount when it comes to safety.”
One of the plans of attack is to give pedestrians more areas to safely cross, Hernandez said.
“From an engineering standpoint, I can tell you we are looking to increase the number of pedestrian traffic signals at busy street locations,” Hernandez said. “What these do is allow the pedestrian to have a safe, designated area to cross. Unlike the traditional traffic signals, the pedestrian signal is operated by the press of a button.”
There are currently 40 pedestrian traffic, or high intensity activated crosswalks (HAWK), in the Phoenix area with more being planned around the Valley.
“There is a list of additional pedestrian traffic signals that we identified and we’re preparing to install those and activate those as well,” Hernandez said, adding that a new signal was expected to be placed over the next three weeks.
The city plans to add 11 more pedestrian traffic signals by the end of 2018.
The task force is also adding additional lighting to areas with the pedestrian traffic stops.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mark Carlson contributed to this report.