City of Phoenix forms task force to study pedestrian crashes

Posted at 7:28 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-10 01:45:53-04

It comes up far too often here in the Valley, people hit by a car just trying to cross the street. It's such a problem, the City of Phoenix now has a task force to study each crash.

So far in 2018, 48 pedestrians have lost their lives trying to cross the streets of Phoenix.

Carl Langford is with the Street Transportation Department. He's with just one of the departments making up the city's Pedestrian Task Force - a newly formed group that's studying every pedestrian crash in the city.

Langford says the city is focusing on what it calls the three "E's" - engineering, education, and enforcement.

"You need to have all three components working together to truly make a change," said Langford.

The task force, made up of about ten people, isn't going to just scratch the surface on these crashes. They're looking for trends like if there have there been crashes in the area before, was the pedestrian crossing mid-block, where's the closest crosswalk, what time of day was it and what was the pedestrian wearing?

The task force wants to find any clue into why the numbers of pedestrian crashes is so high.

"There's a lot of speculation that a lot of it has to do with cell phones today," said Langford. "On the driver's side being distracted from cell phones and also to pedestrian's side being distracted from cell phones."

Lieutenant Mark Tovar with Phoenix Police says the department will soon be doing target enforcement, making face to face contact with pedestrians.

"When you say the word enforcement, sometimes we like to look at it sometimes as that educational component together," said Tovar. 

Phoenix Police recently released a public service announcement focusing on pedestrian safety. The city is also adding more technology to streets.

Phoenix now has funding to install eight more of the permanent Speed Feedback Signs every year. The signs instantly shows a drivers their speed on the road. They'll be installed in high traffic areas around schools.

Right now there are about 40 HAWK crossings in Phoenix. The city plans to add 11 more of the High Intensity Activated Crosswalks by the end of 2018.