Arizona has the 4th highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the country, with more than half of those fatal accidents occurring away from a crosswalk or intersection. Ted Simons spoke with Perry Vandell of the “Arizona Republic” who has been reporting on this issue.
Vandell said that in a study conducted by The Maricopa County Association Of Governments, found that the amount of pedestrian fatalities nearly tripled from 2009-2019. Additionally, a Federal Agency found that Arizona ranked 4th most in pedestrian fatalities in the United States per capita, just behind New Mexico, Florida and Louisiana.
“This is partly an issue of city roads being designed initially with driver convenience in mind, with the idea that — of prioritizing drivers to ensure that they are able to go where they need to go without so much pedestrians being involved in that design process,” Vandell said. “So one thing that Phoenix has and a number of American cities have, are these large arterial roads that have many lanes, a lot don’t have medians separating the traffic, so you don’t have that many intersections to disperse between these roads, so it can be difficult for pedestrians to get to where they need to go, and can sometimes entice them to jaywalk as it’s commonly known, and potentially risk their safety for convenience.”
Vandell continued to say that there were fewer fatalities in the valley’s more affluent areas, largely in part due to speed cameras in areas like Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Lighting can also be a factor.
Although the numbers are high now, there are potential solutions. “So there are a number of different factors involved.One is to add a raised curb to separate bike lanes.To add increased lighting for these crosswalks to essentially give drivers more signs that a pedestrian or cyclist is using that — that cross walk, and to basically increase the — the chance of the pedestrian meeting the eyes of the driver, and ensured that they both have an understanding that one is wishing to cross the road and waiting for the other to slow down before actually making that crossing. There is a whole host of different things. Having a raised median, separating different directions of traffic, and placing barriers to ensure that, you know, it’s harder for a car into a lane that a pedestrian or cyclist right be using, or even just coloring the road.”