High school senior’s death sparks concern for crosswalk

Family hopes for crosswalk at Silverlake

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A tragedy on Tucson’s west side has many hoping something will be done to help with safety on a busy stretch of road.

“How many more people need to die for them to put a crosswalk here?" asked Yarelyn Sendino as she stood my balloons placed on the side of Silverlake Road for her younger sister, Joana.

Joana Sendino was hit by a car while crossing Silverlake Road, near Cottonwood Lane, Thursday morning. The high school senior was walking to catch the bus to Cholla High School.

According to the Tucson Unified School District, school bus transportation is provided for high school students who live at least 2 ½ miles from school with no public bus service. Sendino said her sister lived just over two miles from the school.

“It was a long walk, it would take about thirty minutes to get here and then she would still have to cross this street to get to the bus to take to school," said Sendino. “She was an innocent, 17-year-old little girl, how many more people does this need to happen to?"

Sendino said her sister had a muscular disability, which limited how fast she could walk, and she wore hearing aids. She did not say if her sister was registered as ‘handicapped’ within the district.

The family is one of many people who have commented on the need for a crosswalk or traffic light at the intersection across from the Pima County Jail.

Where Sendino was crossing the road early Thursday morning is what the City of Tucson calls an unmarked crosswalk. Michael Graham, said data showed a marked crosswalk, meaning painted lines and signage, was not warranted.

Data the city considers includes posted speed limits, average daily traffic and the number of lanes.

Graham said the city has looked at putting a HAWK crossing signal at Silverlake Road and Cottonwood Lane, but on a list of 157 intersections in Tucson that need a crossing signal, this location is ranked #78. The list is ranked based upon crashes, incidents involving pedestrians and any other incidents in the area.

Funding for signals comes from federal grants or the Regional Transportation Authority.

“Even if they don’t decide to do it right away, in her honor we are going to keep trying and fighting for someone to do something about it," said Sendino.

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