Making Streets Safe for Pedestrians

In 2013, 25 pedestrians were struck and killed in Arizona, making our state sixth among the states for the highest pedestrian fatality rates. Because they are often frail, elderly pedestrians are at particular risk.

According to the Tucson Police Department, distraction — by both pedestrians and drivers — is a common factor in many fatal pedestrian accidents in our city.  The driver’s speed at the time of the collision is a key factor in pedestrian survival.  More than 90 percent of people hit by cars traveling at 20 miles per hour survive the crash, but at 45 miles per hour, only 35 percent live.

We can make streets safer for pedestrians.  Lawmakers can pass laws prohibiting texting while driving. Communities can design roadways to slow drivers down. For example, streets with raised medians allow pedestrians to pause and wait for traffic to clear. Traffic lights can be timed to give pedestrians adequate time to safely cross the street. http://www.aarp.org/home-family/getting-around/info-2014/pedestrian-safety-car-accidents.3.html 

In response to an increasing number of pedestrian accidents in Tucson, the City Council established the Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The committee is brainstorming on how to make Tucson a safer and more walkable place for pedestrians.  You can learn more about the committee at the City of Tucson webpage. http://clerks.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/boards?board=115

Making streets pedestrians-friendly is expensive, but its a worthwhile investment. As our population ages, we can expect to see more elderly pedestrians needing to safely cross our street.