21 pedestrians have died on Tucson roadways this year. City looks to improve road safety

Pedestrian coverage

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Two young pedestrians have died this week after being hit by cars.

“I don’t think we can pinpoint it on one thing,” said Krista Hansen, with the Tucson Department of Transportation.

The answer of why this is happening is not so easy. Roads are often built more for cars, said Hansen, but the TDOT says speed, multiple lanes and lighting can contribute to pedestrian fatalities. During fall and winter, the sun rises and sets in line with east and west streets.

“Especially at nighttime‚ it’s the worst time to cross one of these because you can’t really see it,” said Manny, a pedestrian who crossed at a HAWK light on Speedway Friday.

For at least the last decade, Arizona has been in the top ten states for most pedestrian fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, devised in part by the City and finalized in 2020, between 2014 and 2018, there were nearly 1,200 pedestrians involved in traffic crashes in Tucson. 90 percent of pedestrian deaths and severe injuries happen on 11 percent of Tucson streets, and most within a few hundred feet of a bus stop.

A growing memorial on the side of Broadway where 9-year-old Edouard Lautaire was killed in a hit-and-run Wednesday, near a bus stop- and on a multi-lane road, which are both risk factors in the City’s High Injury Network (HIN). The pedestrian HIN uses data from crashes and information on roadway characteristics to identify where future safety investments will go. It is about four percent of Tucson’s streets.

“No loss of life on our streets is acceptable, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Hansen.

Hawk lights, developed in Tucson, have more than a 90 percent success rate at stopping vehicles, according to TDOT. Lautaire and his family were crossing in one when he was killed. The city is looking at lowering some speeds, but TDOT said with roads, there is always a human element. People don’t always follow rules. Hansen asks for people to slow down and have empathy for those sharing the road.

“We all need to get where we need to go safely,” she said.

The city is putting in 23 more miles of bike boulevards and 18 more hawk lights are going in this year as part of the Complete Streets policy, passed in February 2019.

Some locations where you can expect to see a HAWK light—if you don’t see one already are below.

Speedway/Richey

22nd/Belvedere

22nd/Osborne

Oracle/Kelso

Stone/Kelso

First/Copper

Ajo/Liberty

Irvington/Liberty

12th/Canada

Grant/Arcadia

Alameda/Grande

12th/Wyoming

Glenn/Treat

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