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Tucson could soon make these changes to keep pedestrians safer

Posted at 10:08 AM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 13:08:53-04
Tucson is working on a new plan to make the city more pedestrian friendly, and you could start seeing changes as soon as next year. Changes will most likely include more crosswalks and hawk lights, but that's not all the city wants to do.
 
Their five part approach focuses on Engineering, Enforcement, Education, Encouragement, and Evaluation.
 
Engineering changes may include: reconfiguring the timing of traffic lights so they can lower speed limits around town, but not make your trip time longer. Additionally, more crosswalks and hawk lights will be added as the funding becomes available.
 
But Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Coordinator Ann Chanecka explained that more crosswalks does not necessarily equal safer streets. On higher speed roads, it sometimes confuses drivers when they have to slam to a stop for a pedestrian.
 
"Multi-lane roads where there's higher speeds you can imagine when one car stops but the car to the next doesn't quite know why that car has stopped yielding for the pedestrian, and it's a sight visibility issue, so they call it the multiple threat scenario. so it's more likely to happen in these environments," Chanecka said.
 
Another change you could see is more TPD officers enforcing speed and making sure cars yield to pedestrians and pedestrians cross in intersections-even if they aren't marked crosswalks.
 
"It may be a crosswalk even if there isn't a painted marking on the street," Chanecka said. "The data shows about half the time it's pedestrians not yielding the right of way when they're supposed to be and the other half the time it is car drivers not yielding, so it is a message that has to go both ways."
 
There have been almost 100 pedestrians killed in the last five years just within Tucson city limits. The city says 30 percent of our population uses walking as their main mode of transportation, which is why this plan is so important.
 
The city is still asking for public comment since this is still in the planning stages. You can attend any of the Pedestrian Safety committee meetings. The next one is October 19th.