How Phoenix Plans To Spend Pedestrian Safety Money

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, September 23, 2019 - 3:48pm

cars stopped at intersection
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Phoenix has identified 27th Avenue as one of four hot spots for pedestrian deaths and serious injuries.

Three months after the Phoenix City Council approved $2 million for pedestrian safety, the Street Transportation Department has a plan to spend it. The proposal, which relies on getting millions more in state and federal grants, must still be approved by the council.

The department wants to spend $600,000 on HAWKs, traffic control signals that allow pedestrians to safely cross busy streets. The first HAWKs under the proposal will focus on the following four locations identified as hot spots based on pedestrian fatalities and serious injury collisions:

  • 27th Avenue from Bethany Home Road to Claremont Street
  • Indian School Road from 19th to 23rd avenues
  • Seventh avenue from Mohave Street to Buckeye Road
  • McDowell Road from 40th to 43rd streets

Phoenix expects to add 18 HAWKs in 2019, contingent upon matching funds. The proposal calls for $660,000 in crosswalk upgrades and $350,000 in street lighting. Mailen Pankiewicz, the city’s pedestrian safety coordinator, recently told a subcommittee they also want to add more medians.

“They’re actually called pedestrian refuge areas because they provide that rest for pedestrians,” she said. “If they’re crossing large arterial roads they can stop in the middle and feel protected by a median and be able to have time to assess the traffic, the oncoming traffic to see what the volume and the speed is in order to proceed on the road.”

The city’s approach uses the four “E”s of traffic safety: evaluation, engineering, education and enforcement. Pankiewicz said they’re working on children’s activity books in English and Spanish.

“I’m an immigrant to this country myself, and I know the importance of being able to understand this (rules) of the road,” she said. “For anyone that has ever traveled to a different country and you see all sorts of crazy signs and things, it can be very crazy. So it’s something that we’re very hard to be able to have ready.”

While Phoenix has seen a 24% decrease in pedestrian deaths during the first half of this year, the city has seen fatalities increase 67% over the last five years. In 2018, Phoenix had 112 pedestrian fatalities.

City of Phoenix

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