NewsOperation Safe Roads


Anthem mother turns to Operation Safe Roads for slowing solutions in her neighborhood

Driving a Car
Posted at 4:18 AM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 09:49:01-04

ANTHEM, AZ — An Anthem mother tells her children to look right, look left and then right again for five seconds before they can even think about crossing the street. If the roadway looks clear, she then tells them to run.

Gail Marks tells Operation Safe Roads she is afraid of speeding drivers in her neighborhood.

"There was an accident in front of my house," Marks said. "It was so, so loud."

She gave the video to ABC15. In it, viewers can see a red car appear to swerve to avoid another vehicle backing out of the next-door driveway. The red car then crashes into the front yard of Marks.

"I was just like a mess because the kids were just here like 45 minutes before that," she explained.

MCSO told ABC15 they did not cite the driver or blame speed. However, Marks is still shaken.

The spot where the crash occurred is where the bus stops to pick up kids in the neighborhood, including her two young girls.

It forced her to search for a solution.

"Then, I found a story about Operation Safe Roads," Marks said. She said the article was one from 2019. It discussed traffic calming measure options and how the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) works with first responders when they determine whether or not something like a speed bump should be installed.

Marks submitted her request to MCDOT and they responded the next day with plans to investigate her neighborhood's needs.

If a community member is in the MCDOT jurisdiction, the process to request help with speeding drivers starts with a call.

"At first, the process is going to be technical," MCDOT Communications Manager Zoe Richmond explained. "Where we look at it through a traffic engineering lens."

Research needs to be done to see if a traffic-calming measure makes sense and follows the county ordinance.

"We look at the speed and is the average speed about eight miles above the posted speed limit? And we're also looking at how many vehicles travel through the area," Richmond said.

In all, it takes about 30 days.

If their study finds the roadway has at least 1,100 vehicles per day and 85% are speeding, they can move forward with the next steps.

"Ultimately, we have to look at the way that traffic flows through a community," Richmond said. "So, there are specific engineering principles where you can't have a speed hump so close to a stop sign... a traffic signal."

Marks is on board with adding some traffic calming measures.

"If you speed, you're going to break your car - instead of my kid," Marks said.

But 80% of residents also must agree and the community could be responsible for paying 50% if the study shows it does not meet the ordinance threshold.

MCDOT will finish their study in Marks' neighborhood toward the end of the month.

They stress this problem stems from people choosing to speed.

So far in Anthem this year, MCSO has cited 400 drivers for speeding.

To contact MCSO regarding speed, the agency asks that people call 602-876-1742 or the non-emergency line at 602-876-1011.

To request a speed hump in your area, MCDOT said community members should start here to verify if a neighborhood is in MCDOT's area.

From there, click here to contact MCDOT.

Have a road issue for the Operation Safe Roads team to look into? Call 833-AZ-ROADS or email