Sep 19, 2013 12:31 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Alarming number of pedestrian deaths in Tucson, City forms a pedestrian committee

TUCSON - To prevent car vs. pedestrian accidents, a new committee has been formed to make Tucson a more walkable city.

To start, we're told this committee will tackle sidewalk repair and installation as well as crosswalk safety for both drivers and pedestrians.

The 13 member Pedestrian Advisory Committee or PAC met for the first time Wednesday.

They were appointed by city staff and come from all different backgrounds.

Many Tucsonans like Ignacio Gonzales see this as a step in the right direction. News 4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor asks, have you ever had a close call?

Gonzales says, "Yes, I was just walking and I guess they didn't see me, they were making a right hand turn, and I have pretty fast reflexes."

"My only issue around here, is there's a big stretch where there's incentives to jaywalk because there's no crossing," says Tyler Cone who walks to and from work and school in the midtown area.

The latest numbers from Tucson Police show 109 traffic accidents involving pedestrians so far this year. Twelve people have died in 2013, double last year's numbers. In 2012 there were 166 crashes involving pedestrians, of those six people died.

Transportation director Daryl Cole says the committee was formed in response to public concern.

"Lack of sidewalks, first thing," says Cole, "We want to be able to get to and from, from a pedestrian point of view."

He says the PAC will focus on both drivers and pedestrians.

"I think an education campaign is something we probably should look at. Trying to teach people to cross in signalized intersections, marked sidewalks," says Cole, "Some of our pedestrians are hawks, pelicans or toucans, so I those are some of the things we want to talk to them about."

Tucson resident Jose Camacho says, "It should have happened a long time ago, but I mean it's better late than never. I'm happy they're going to get something done about the streets make it a safer environment, especially for little kids, whose parents can't afford cars."

Many car vs. pedestrian accidents happen at sunset and after.

Public safety officials recommend wearing light colored clothing or a reflective vest, and always cross in a designated crosswalk.


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