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Nov 7, 2013 8:36 PM by Erika Flores

County says number of auto/pedestrian accidents at an all time high

TUCSON - An 18-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was hit by a car on the northwest side.

This incident marks the third time in the past couple of years that a pedestrian was struck in that area.

The accident happened near Oracle and Rudasill.

We're told the woman was not in a crosswalk when it happened.

In December 2011, a woman hit was killed there, and just a few months later, a man was also hit and killed.

The county's department of transportation said auto pedestrian accidents in the Tucson metro area are at an all time high.

Tucson police said there have been 16 auto pedestrian fatal accidents in the city this year and the sheriff's offices said six in the county.

These numbers are stirring a debate among pedestrians and drivers.

Ann Gorski walks this area nearly every day. "It's scary because I mean I thought what if it could be me," said Gorski.

She said she crosses in this crosswalk at Rudasill and Oracle and even then, "There's been several times when they've almost got me."

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the 18-year-old woman was not crossing in a crosswalk when she was struck.

"Car vs. pedestrian--pedestrian good luck because you're not usually going to win," said a pedestrian who lives in the area.

She and her dog walk up and down Oracle Rd. every day.

"You've got a lot of lighting at the intersections and what not, but between here and there there's no lighting," she said.

The closest lit area is at the crosswalk, 400 feet south of Wednesday's accident.

"You know people are just so lazy they don't want to walk a couple of feet to a crosswalk where it's going to be safer for them to walk and smarter for them to walk," she said.

"I see that pretty regularly. In all parts of town not just on Oracle Rd," said driver Alex Libeskind.

And Libeskind said at night it's even more of a problem.

"At night it's really hard to see pedestrians because they regularly don't wear bright clothing and it's difficult to see them," said Libeskind.

Drivers said they hope more pedestrians will make their way to the intersection for their own safety and others.

Another complaint pedestrians have is that there is not much sidewalk in this area one reason why some pedestrians said they choose to jaywalk, but the Regional Transportation Authority told News 4 Tucson they have a permit application with ADOT to install a new bus pullout and connection sidewalk on the west side of Oracle Rd just south of the Rudasill intersection.

As for the lights, ADOT said further traffic analysis would be needed to determine if lighting would be helpful.

ADOT also said:

"ADOT will gather and review crash data at this particular intersection, which has three known pedestrian crashes in the last two years. But it's extremely important for any pedestrian to use the designated crosswalks and not cross the roadway when there's no crosswalk.

ADOT is vigilant in monitoring incidents on the highways in our system and we work in collaboration with the communities served by the highways to address safety issues.

ADOT recently installed a pedestrian countdown timer to improve safety at this intersection last spring. It was part of a larger project that included nearly 1,000 upgraded pedestrian crossing signals in southern and eastern Arizona, including the State Route 77 corridor.

The new countdown timers enable pedestrians at the crossing to make better decisions when crossing the road by informing pedestrians how many seconds they have left to safely cross the road before the red ‘don't walk' symbol is displayed."

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