Walking in Phoenix Can Mean Taking Your Life in Your Hands

Phoenix's roads are the most dangerous in the state for pedestrians, but the city is taking little action to make them safer.

April 8, 2019, 12:00 PM PDT

By Camille Fink


Alan Stark / Flickr

Agnel Philip and Bree Burkitt take a closer look at pedestrian safety in Phoenix. Of Arizona cities with populations greater than 10,000, Phoenix has the highest pedestrian death rate, and the number of deaths doubled between 2010 and 2017.

The city has put in 20 special crossing signals called HAWK signals, but Philip and Burkitt say the locations of the signals do not correspond with crash hot spots:

Despite the signals' potential to save lives, The Republic analysis showed the city is installing them in areas where no pedestrians were seriously injured or killed in recent years. Among the 23 signals the city has built or plans to build this year, half aren't within 300 feet of serious injury or fatality crashes during the period The Republic analyzed.

They also note that the most dangerous areas for pedestrians are on wide, high-speed roads with few crossings, which are common features of main thoroughfares in the city. While half of pedestrian deaths in Arizona involved individuals who were intoxicated, the speed of vehicles is also a key factor in the severity of pedestrian crashes, and activists are calling for design changes that would narrow roads and slow traffic.

"Dozens of cities across the United States have begun redesigning their streets in response to surging pedestrian death rates in recent years, setting a target of zero roadway deaths. But in Arizona, there's almost no commitment to that goal," say Philip and Burkitt.

Monday, April 1, 2019 in AZ Central

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Rittenhouse Square, a park in Philadelphia, framed by large buildings.

Parks as a Weapon Against Climate Change

The 2022 ParkScore finds that cities are increasingly employing green space as a tool for mitigating heat and extreme weather effects, but the distribution of parks remains inequitable.

May 16 - Trust for Public Land

View of Louisiana state capitol building and downton Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana Capital Shifting to Electric Transit

The Baton Rouge area is now served by a fleet of nine all-electric buses.

May 16 - American Journal of Transportation

Mount Rainier

New Community Engagement Practices for Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan Update

A major update of Seattle’s comprehensive plan is just getting under way, with new opportunities for local groups to get involved with outreach and engagement.

May 16 - Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.