Concern over ‘missing’ crosswalk on the east-side

Keeping pedestrians safe

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - They say you won’t miss it until it’s gone.

KOLD News 13 viewer Kelly Kay reached out with a concern about a crosswalk that was never repainted at the intersection of Wilmot Road and Stella Road after the improvements were made.

“I definitely think it’s a safety issue," said Kay.

While Kay was happy to see the resurfacing near her neighborhood after more than a decade, she expected to see the white lines back on the street after the sign indicating a crosswalk went back up. She said she now worries about what could happen with people using bus stops, children at a school nearby and a walking path across the street.

“There’s just much different kinds of traffic, pedestrian traffic," said Kay. “I see a lot of joggers, a lot of dog walkers, a lot of people on bikes.”

Kay asked KOLD News 13 to get an answer as to why the markings were never repainted, so we went to the City of Tucson.

Michael Graham, a spokesperson for the Tucson Department of Transportation, said the crosswalk markings were not repainted on purpose.

In an email, Graham said TDOT takes the opportunity to “review, re-evaluate, and potentially revise the pavement markings" when a road is resurfaced. The department also evaluates all uncontrolled marked crosswalks identified within the project corridor.

The email went on to explain:

“Part of the study includes following federal guidance to determine under what conditions (traffic speeds, traffic volumes, and the number of lanes to cross) a marked crosswalk alone should not be installed. This location meets that criteria; therefore, the crosswalk markings across Wilmot at Stella were purposefully not reinstalled after paving.

In order to have this crosswalk marked, additional safety countermeasure would need to be installed, such as a pedestrian hybrid beacon (HAWK signal). Since funding for such a device was not included in the project, the crosswalk was not reinstalled."

While Kay doesn’t agree with the reason, she will continue to cross with caution and hopes others will, as well.

″I think that the increased visibility that it would bring to the fact that there was a crosswalk here, I mean, there’s no amount of money that you can put on somebody’s safety," said Kay.

Graham said he gets several calls about the same issue Kay was concerned about. The city does not track when markings were painted at crosswalks, but he said ‘unmarked’ crosswalks are used frequently around the city, especially when cross streets from neighborhoods or development areas join a busy road, like Wilmot.

The city looked at a study, Graham said, that determined pedestrians actually became more defensive in some areas where there is not a painted crosswalk.

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