NewsOperation Safe Roads


Tempe looking to reduce crashes with new 'Safety Corridors'

Posted at 5:03 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 09:51:16-04

TEMPE, AZ — The city of Tempe wants East Valley drivers to be aware of more education and enforcement on their daily commutes.

The police department and traffic engineers have come together to find what areas in the city are seeing a higher rate of crashes. From there, they have put up large 'Safety Corridor' signs and will assign officers to keep a sharp eye out for bad driving behavior.

"My biggest observation of driving in the Valley is everybody comes from somewhere else," said Tempe driver Robert Kirkpatrick. "And they learn the way they drive and now we're all just trying to piece together."

Arizona roads are like a jigsaw puzzle. It's confusing to decipher and has way too many pieces. It is the best way Kirkpatrick can describe his East Valley commute over the years with Arizona's growing population.

"Being in the car is, essentially, the most dangerous thing you do every single day," said Kirkpatrick.

The city of Tempe is looking for solutions with its Vision Zero campaign. This is a goal of zero deaths from traffic crashes.

Operation Safe Roads has covered its efforts since 2018 when it became the first city in Arizona to be recognized as a Vision Zero spot.

"So, we wanted to try it," explained Sgt. Bacon. "Try a pilot program in Tempe to try something that maybe we haven't done before."

Sgt. Bacon took ABC15's Megan Thompson to Rural and Baseline roads while officers conducted enforcement. That is one of the multiple 'Safety Corridors' where the department said it will be looking for unsafe driving behavior.

"I think when people hear strict enforcement the first thing, they think about is. 'Oh, my goodness. I'm going to get a ticket.' That's not necessarily the case," Sgt. Bacon explained.

He spoke about how contacting drivers and explaining their mistake could be enough to change their behavior.

Here are the current spots where drivers may see one of these big 'Safety Corridor' signs:

  • Scottsdale RD between Curry Rd to Continental Rd
  • Baseline Rd between Country Club Way and Rural Rd
  • Priest Rd between 10th ST and Broadway RD
  • Curry Rd between Scottsdale Rd and Mill Ave
  • Rural Rd between University Dr and Broadway Rd

"The Safety Corridor plan is an opportunity to bring more awareness to certain corridors where we've noticed either a consistency or an uptick in serious injuries and fatalities due to traffic crashes," stated Dr. Ellie Volosin.

She is a traffic engineer with the city of Tempe and said this is a joint effort with officers to continually monitor data about incidents.

They will look at data every month and decide if they need to move the signs every quarter. Volosin said that way, the signs will hopefully not become just part of the background.

Safety Corridors were also on Valley freeways, but the program ended back in 2020 due to a lack of successful impact.

The city of Tempe says they are aware of the mixed results throughout the country and will make adjustments if they see similar results.