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As students dodge traffic, a crosswalk is several steps away

Desert View HS parents concerned about busy street
No crosswalk Alvernon Way
Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 07:22:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A busy intersection connecting a neighborhood to Desert View High School on Tucson’s South Side has some parents concerned about their kids’ safety.

Several students cross Alvernon Way at Transcon Way, just north of Valencia, every day to get to school. But the intersection has no stop sign or crosswalk.

Parent Nidia Romero says it’s been this way since at least last school year.

“I know my son has tried to walk, but I don’t let him. I don’t think it’s safe,” she said. “There’s no stopping… And the cars are not going slow. So it seems extremely dangerous to me. I’m surprised, and a couple times I’ve been here and kids are almost gonna get hit.”

KGUN 9 asked the city’s Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) about the intersection.

The department says a marked crosswalk alone is actually less safe than none at all, when taking into account factors like the number of lanes (two on each side, plus turn lanes), the 45 mile per hour speed limit, and high volume—around 20,000 cars passing by each day.

High Intensity Activated Crosswalks or “HAWK” signals are the best option: they stop traffic on busy streets with flashing lights when people need to cross.

According to DTM, the Alvernon and Transcon intersection has been added to a HAWK request list, but that list is not evaluated frequently and requires time to assess locations and acquire enough funding.

“Roughly every two years, we update the score and rank of potential HAWK locations. Unfortunately, there is not funding identified for every desired HAWK location,” said DTM representative Mike Graham in an email to KGUN.

There is also a process for formal school crossings with crossing guards, but according to Graham, state guidelines “formal school crossings are not to be put in place for high schools.”

If you want to request a marked crosswalk on a city street, you can email TDOTConcerns@tucsonaz.gov. Graham says this would initiate a Traffic Engineering Staff evaluation.

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