City explores solutions to lower number of pedestrian accidents
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Oct. 28, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson has been plagued this year by pedestrian accidens. So far, there have been 22 fatalities in the city and county combined.
There is no High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) where a pick-up truck hit and killed 28-year-old Matthew Bono earlier this month.
Tucson's pedestrian safety coordinator Ann Chanecka said the city is looking to add more HAWK signals throughout the city.
"If we know there's already been pedestrian crashes, that will likely raise that signal toward the top," Chanecka said.
The city is considering crash history, traffic volume and proximity to schools as it ranks 80 potential locations for new HAWKs when Regional Transportation Authority Funding becomes available.
"When you put in a HAWK signal and you have the flashing yellow and then the solid red, it's a lot more effective at getting motorists to stop," Chanecka said.
Meanwhile, the City of South Tucson is setting the example along Sixth Ave.
"I feel safer now that they have put these lights on," Jocellyn Mora told 9 On Your Side as she walked to her bus stop near Sixth and 31st.
Since adding three hawks there's been a drop in the number of pedestrian accidents, South Tucson Police Lt. Jeff Inorio said, but drivers don't always know the rules.
"Flashing red lights, some comply, some don't," Inorio said. "But it is come to a complete stop or you could be ticketed."
As Tucson looks to install more HAWKs, the city is testing a new high-tech sensor at the crosswalk near the east side Fellowship Square retirement community.
"It actually senses when the pedestrian is still in the crosswalk and actually extends the light that HAWK stays red," Chanecka said.
The city is also changing all pedestrian signals to "countdown" clocks as it looks to give pedestrians more time to cross.
But these engineering solutions don't substitute the need for pedestrians to always use the crosswalks, look both ways and be alert.