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Aug 5, 2013 8:36 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson pedestrian deaths on the rise compared to 2012

TUCSON-Pedestrians are crossing Tucson city streets and never making it to the other side.

The most recent incident happened Saturday night near Grant and 4th Avenue. TPD says a truck struck and killed a 47-year-old man. TPD says the man was wearing dark clothes and wasn't in a crosswalk.

Sgt. Chris Widmer says it marks the 10th pedestrian killed so far in 2013 across Tucson. Compare that to the same time in 2012, when there were a total of three pedestrian deaths.

"Something needs to be done because otherwise it's never going to stop," says Pedestrian Ashley Haney.

Haney walks everyday to catch the bus for work. She always crosses the street in a crosswalk, but says she has had some close calls and nobody seems to care. "I've even had people almost hit me and then wave like they're saying 'oh sorry! I almost killed you! Have a nice day!'" Haney says.

"I wish they would use the crosswalk for their own safety," says Tucson Driver Dan Barry.

But whether it's the driver or pedestrian at fault, both agree there needs to be a change.

"It's concerning," says Tucson's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Ann Chanecka.

Chanecka is currently setting up Tucson's new Pedestrian Advisory Committee. "We need to take a look at every incident and see if there is some sort of trend," Chanecka says. "We need to see if there are counter measures we might be able to implement to try and make it safer."

A couple of measures include working closely with TPD to make sure drivers are obeying the speed limits and pedestrians are crossing in the crosswalks. Chanecka says the committee also hopes to start a public education campaign regarding pedestrian safety.

Chanecka says another big help would be adding more light up pedestrian crosswalks, where people press a button and then wait for the light to turn red, so cars stop. Currently there are about 115 of those types of crosswalks across Tucson.

The voluntary committee is still looking for a few members. It hopes to meet for the first time in September. For more information email Ann Chanecka at Ann.Chanecka@tucsonaz.gov. You can also call her at (520) 837-6691.

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