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Pedestrian deaths lead to safety boost on Oracle Road

Pedestrian safety boost on Oracle Road
Posted at 7:12 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 22:12:35-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It can be worth your life to walk in Tucson and Pima County.
Pedestrian deaths are up.  
The City of Tucson has had 24 so far this year.
Now, one of the busiest, fastest stretches of road in Pima County is getting a boost for pedestrian safety.

You can tell the stretch of Oracle between River and Orange Grove is a dangerous place to be a pedestrian.  There's a lot of high-speed traffic--a lot of it coming around a curve where they don't get a look at someone crossing the road until the very last minute. There have been deaths there as well.  Now there's a project underway that should help make the spot safer.
In July two vehicles hit a man walking along Oracle about a quarter mile north of River.  The man died.  DPS is still looking for one of the drivers.
The area is a dangerous place for pedestrians with over 14 pedestrian accidents in the last ten years.  Three were fatal.
Now the Regional Transportation Authority is close to completing a protected crossing at Oracle and Los Lomitas.
It will be like what the City of Tucson calls a HAWK---a light pedestrians trigger to tell drivers to stop until they're safely across.
We often see pedestrians ignore crosswalks put in for their safety.
RTA Deputy Director Jim DeGrood says designers considered that.

"In this particular case we've put in fencing along the median to channel people to the specific crossing."
At Persnickety's Boutique Debi Wallace has seen plenty of accidents near her shop. She thinks the signal will make pedestrians and drivers safer.

"People just need to slow down and be aware that there's a lot of people crossing around here because there's a lot of pedestrians."
The crossing is just waiting for lights and poles to arrive for installation. RTA is working towards more sidewalks along Oracle to give pedestrians a safer walk down this busy road.