Local

Oct 18, 2013 7:04 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Speedway crosswalk raises safety concerns for pedestrians, motorists

TUCSON - Hundreds of accidents have involved pedestrians throughout city limits this year, but one crosswalk located near Richey and Speedway has become a cause for concern for people who work and live in the area.

There is a marked crosswalk there with white stripes and a sign, but even with all those markings, some people who come through the area don't even know it exists.

Carlos Hermosillo works nearby and has grown frustrated with the situation. "It clearly says stop but a lot of motorists do not pay attention to it as well as they do not know that it's there," Hermosillo said.

In the past, Hermosillo has seen small children or even families try to cross and he and other employees where he works have had to play interference with oncoming traffic to help them get across the street.

"We actually throw ourselves in front of the traffic, so we can stop them," Hermosillo told News 4 Tucson.

However, that section of road is no strangers to accidents. Hermosillo recalled two separate accidents in the past three days but he recognizes that the danger is two-fold as drivers get distracted and don't stop and pedestrians get daring and try to cross.

"[Drivers] don't stop and they actually cause a lot of accidents when people do stop," he said.

That's exactly the reason why a new pedestrian advisory committee was formed by the City of Tucson this year.

"Pedestrians need to pay attention and understand that they are vulnerable," said Ann Chanecka, the Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator who is working with the committee.

She said that although the committee has only just recently had its second meeting, they are trying to identify problem areas on city streets.

"We have a lot of high speed streets, so even if you're not expecting a pedestrian - if you don't see the crosswalk - you have to recognize that we're all out there. Everyone is a pedestrian," Chanecka said.

While the city plans to roll out a new safety campaign within the next few months, Hermosillo wants to see an automated crosswalk put up just like the one a few blocks down.

"We have a lot of people crossing this cross walk for numerous reasons, so yes, I believe they should put a light there," Hermosillo said.

If you'd like to get in contact with the Pedestrian Advisory Committee, you can contact Ann Chanecka at ann.chaneck@tucsonaz.gov

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