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FHWA Home / Safety / Pedestrian & Bicycle / Phoenix Pedestrian Safety Action Plan

Phoenix Pedestrian Safety Action Plan

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  1. Introduction

    1. City of Phoenix Commitment to Pedestrian Safety

      The City of Phoenix is committed to improving pedestrian safety for all residents and visitors through continued application of sound engineering, educational and enforcement techniques.

    2. Overall Pedestrian Safety Goal

      The City of Phoenix is committed to an overall 10% reduction in pedestrian crashes, injuries and deaths by the end of calendar year 2016.

    3. Responsibility

      The City of Phoenix Police and Street Transportation Departments are responsible for achieving the overall goal. In doing so, these two departments have the committed resources of the rest of the City government.

  2. Specific Goals and Objectives

    1. Definitions

      1. Pedestrian Crash – any motor vehicle crash on a City of Phoenix public street where the primary harmful event was listed as impact with a pedestrian. Crashes where a pedestrian was hit secondary to another collision or other harmful event are not considered pedestrian crashes.

      2. Injury – any person receiving possible, non-incapacitating or incapacitating injury severity codes as determined by the investigating officer or as indicated on the Arizona Traffic Accident Report form for a particular crash.

      3. Population – City of Phoenix population estimate as of June of the year of interest as determined by the City of Phoenix Planning Department

    2. Baseline values

      1. City of Phoenix Population – 1,477,730 as of June, 30 2005
      2. Average Pedestrian Crashes (2001-2005) – 644 crashes/ year
      3. Crashes per Capita – 44.5 crashes/ 100,000 residents
      4. Average Pedestrian Injuries (2001-2005) – 612 injuries/ year
      5. Injuries per Capita – 41.4 injuries/ 100,000 residents
      6. Average Pedestrian Fatalities (2001-2005) – 53 fatalities/ year
      7. Fatalities per Capita – 3.59 fatalities/ 100,000 residents
    3. Specific Pedestrian Safety Goals

      1. By 2016 the City of Phoenix will reduce (by 10% of baseline values) the five year average number of pedestrian:
        1. crashes to below 39.2 crashes/100,000 residents,
        2. crash related injuries to below 37.3 injuries/100,000 residents, and
        3. crash related deaths to below 3.23 deaths/100,000 residents.
    4. Objectives

      The goals will be achieved through completion of the following objectives:

      1. ENGINEERING – By 2016 the City of Phoenix will have:

        1. installed:
          1. new pedestrian safety islands at 30 locations,
          2. countdown pedestrian signals at 200 additional crosswalks at traffic signals,
          3. sidewalk along 100 additional miles of arterial or collector streets,
          4. ADA wheelchair ramps at 200 additional locations and,
          5. speed humps in 50 additional neighborhoods.
        2. established a Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) composed of City of Phoenix safety and planning professionals.
        3. conducted annual pedestrian safety audits of locations with high or unusual numbers of pedestrian crashes
        4. established a program for traffic calming on collector streets.
        5. reviewed 40 street segments for road diet consideration.
        6. established a program to review street lighting at mid-block locations.
      2. EDUCATION – By 2016 the City of Phoenix will have:

        1. developed and implemented:
          1. safe routes to school walking plans at 50 additional school,
          2. a light rail pedestrian safety campaign,
          3. a child pedestrian safety campaign and,
          4. an alcohol pedestrian safety awareness campaign.
        2. conducted annual school crossing guard training for city schools.
        3. updated and distributed the school crossing guard training video.
      3. ENFORCEMENT – By 2016 the City of Phoenix will have:

        1. TBD
        2. TBD
      4. ENCOURAGEMENT – By 2016 the City of Phoenix will have:

        1. conducted annual school safety audits for all city schools and,
        2. produced neighborhood walking plans in five neighborhoods.
    5. Pedestrian Safety Action Steps

      The objectives will be reached through completion of the following action steps:

      1. Data collection

        1. Collect and analyze all pedestrian crash reports and summarize findings in annual pedestrian crash report summary
        2. Continue collecting individual crash reports, field reports and citizen feedback on specific pedestrian safety concerns
        3. Perform annual pedestrian safety audits of high pedestrian crash locations (intersections and segments)
        4. Perform periodic pedestrian crossing counts in areas of high pedestrian activity
        5. Perform periodic field reviews of all Phoenix streets paying particular attention to areas of high pedestrian activity
        6. Perform ADA compliance checks of all City of Phoenix pedestrian facilities
        7. Continue working with pedestrian safety experts from surrounding communities
      2. Infrastructure Improvements

        1. Review all submitted plans for pedestrian friendly infrastructure upgrades
        2. Continue to fund the sidewalk installation program
        3. Promote and fund expansion of ADA facilities citywide
        4. Continue to fund the Neighborhood Traffic Management Team (NTMT) speed hump program
        5. Expand efforts to obtain federal and state funding for pedestrian friendly infrastructure improvements and upgrades
      3. Educational outreach

        1. Conduct pedestrian safety education training through police and fire departments in Phoenix elementary schools
        2. Periodically hold adult pedestrian safety training or discussion
  3. Stakeholders

    1. Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC)

      The PSAC will be established from members of the Street Department Traffic Operations Division and at least eight additional members of the City of Phoenix Street, Public Safety and Planning Departments as well as other Departments as deemed necessary. The PSAC will serve as an advisory panel with the task of implementation, oversight and review of the Phoenix Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.

  4. Data Collection

    Pedestrian safety data is currently being collected through a series of venues within City government. It is the intent of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan that the collection will continue and where possible and practical, be enhanced. The raw data and resulting analysis shall be funneled through the appropriate Section and Department heads to the PSAC.

    1. Citizen Complaints

      Complaints on pedestrian safety issues as well as other traffic safety concerns can be generated by citizens, police and fire personnel and other city employees and are collected by the Traffic Operations Division of the Street Department. Once collected, the specific concern is evaluated and forwarded to the appropriate department or section for investigation. The investigation is tracked and followed up on by either assigning it a unique work order or work request number or by assigning a council action number. Once the investigation and/or work is completed, the citizen or requesting agency is notified by the appropriate staff member and the results are logged within the City filing system.

    2. Field reviews

      All city work crews, investigative staff, street maintenance and emergency personnel conduct informal field reviews each time they travel about the city. They are responsible for reporting any deficiencies to the Street Department as they identify them. In addition, the Traffic Operations Division conducts formal reviews of traffic infrastructure including pedestrian safety related infrastructure on a periodic basis. Deficiencies are written up in work orders and forwarded to the appropriate Department for disposition.

    3. Crash Histories

      The Street Department Traffic Safety Section is responsible for official traffic crash histories and can search traffic crash reports specifically for pedestrian related crashes. The Section relies on three databases for traffic crash records. The Accident Location Identification and Surveillance System or ALISS is maintained by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and contains crash records from all jurisdictions in Arizona. The Traffic Accident Data System or TADS is maintained by the City of Phoenix Policed Department and contains only City of Phoenix crash reports. The final database is know as the Traffic Accident Records System or TARS and contains copies of individual crash reports from the previous year.

      The results of the database searches are compiled in tabular and or diagram form and presented to the requesting individual. See Appendix A for example pedestrian crash summary tabular and diagram.

    4. Pedestrian & Vehicle counts

      Pedestrian and vehicle counts are conducted by the Traffic Operations Investigators and the Street Department Traffic Count Shop respectively. Pedestrian counts are conducted to determine pedestrian behavior such as frequency and location of pedestrian crossings. They are usually performed by hand but may also be conducted through video surveillance. Pedestrian counts are not stored in a master database.

      Vehicle counts are usually conducted by pneumatic tube counters positioned across the road in question. Vehicle counts are conducted to determine traffic volume and average speeds and are usually performed over a two to three day continual basis. Traffic Investigators are also occasionally asked to conduct traffic speed evaluations using radar units. These counts look specifically at vehicle speeds and are usually conducted over a much shorter time period than tube counts. Count Shop tube counts are stored on a master database and every three years, are compiled into a master traffic volume map.

    5. Crosswalk Warrants

      Crosswalk warrants are a special form of pedestrian count is occasionally performed by traffic investigators. Such warrant counts are conducted at specific locations in areas of high pedestrian activity. The intent is to determine if a marked crosswalk is would focus pedestrian crossing activity into a single area and thus increase pedestrian activity and driver expectations in this location. Such warrants require a balance between pedestrian activity and vehicles traffic and installing them is generally approached with caution. Unwarranted crosswalks can actually create pedestrian safety issues.

      See Appendix B for Traffic Operations Crosswalk Policy and Procedures

    6. Pedestrian Safety Audits

      Pedestrian Safety Audits are periodically performed by the Traffic Safety Section and the Traffic Investigators. They consist of a review of pedestrian crash records and a ranking of the intersections or segments with the highest number of reported pedestrian crashes over a predetermined period of time. Following identification, copies of the individual reports are analyzed and a checklist is crated. The reports and checklist are supplied to an investigator and an on-site audit is performed. Based on the results of the audit, changes or repairs can be recommended by the investigator.

      See Appendix C for Safety Audit Procedures and Checklist

    7. Plan Review

      Plan reviews are conducted on two levels and help assure the pedestrian and bicycle access are maintained in both new and existing roadway designs. The general information gathered from plan reviews consists of pedestrian facilities and pedestrian access to specific areas.

      1. Site plans
        Individual site plan reviews are conducted with members of the Planning, Design and Programming (PDP) and Traffic Operations Divisions on a weekly basis. During these drawing reviews, pedestrian safety issues are addressed on site specific roadway development projects.

      2. Community developments
        Larger development plans are reviewed during the same meetings and during ad hoc meetings between members of Development Services Department (DSD) and both PDP and Traffic Operations. These meetings also address potential pedestrian access issues on a larger scale and often include large subdivisions and larger commercial complexes.

  5. Analysis

    Data generated by the above activities is continuously analyzed by city staff with the intent of determining if crash patterns exist and what if any remedial action may reduce crash incidence at specific locations. Pedestrian data is usually combined with planning data including aerial photographs, maps, site plans and general knowledge of the surrounding area of interest. Typically, analysis is carried out manually by technicians and engineers from the Street Department who are looking for both crash patterns and possible remedial action.

    Pedestrian crash pattern analysis looks for common types of pedestrian crashes and relative to specific locations. Factors that are examined include but are not limited to traffic direction and movements to determine if crashes are occurring in specific vehicle travel lanes or during specific vehicle movements such as right or left turns or driveway exits. Time of day and season are examined to determine if patterns arise under certain lighting conditions such as sun rise or sun set. Physical locations are examined to determine if crashes are occurring at specific pedestrian crossing points such as convenience store exits or park entrances. Pedestrian ages are examined relative to school traffic and pedestrian and driver physical conditions are examined relative to alcohol, drug use or other commonly observed physical impediment.

    Analysis of field observations, pedestrian traffic patterns, crash data or citizen complaints does not necessarily either indicate the presence of a crash pattern or concern nor does it indicate that effective solutions are available or feasible.

  6. Solutions

    If an analysis of pedestrian data determines that crash patterns or other safety concerns exist, analysts then look for modifications in either infrastructure (engineering) or behavior (education, enforcement or encouragement) that are likely to have a beneficial impact on pedestrian safety, the following types of changes as well as others may be considered:

    1. Engineering Solutions

      Walking along the road crashes

      Rural environments (within Phoenix City Limits):

      Paved shoulders provide room for pedestrians to walk away from traffic; they also provide room for bicyclists and increase safety for motor vehicle operators. To be effective paved shoulders should be 6’ wide or more; 4’ is considered the minimum acceptable width.

      Phoenix provides paved or graded shoulders along major roadways in rural areas of town where possible and appropriate.

      Urban and suburban environments:

      Sidewalks reduce walk-along-the-road crashes by providing positive separation from traffic. Continuous and connected sidewalks are needed along both sides of streets to prevent unnecessary street crossings. Sidewalks should be buffered with a planter strip to increase pedestrian safety and comfort; separation makes it easier to meet ADA requirements for a continuous level passage and for a clear passage around obstacles.

      Phoenix provides sidewalks along both sides of arterial streets where and when possible and requires new development along collector streets to provide sidewalks where practical. Phoenix also funds sidewalk construction through street modernization programs where neighborhood support is present.


      Access points clearly mark the area where drivers will be crossing the pedestrian’s path. Continuous access to parking creates long conflict areas between pedestrians and drivers; this ambiguity complicates the driver’s task of watching for pedestrians.

      Where possible, Phoenix ensures that access points are limited and well defined and that visibility for both drivers and pedestrians is adequate.

      Driveway Design should be made to look like driveways, not street intersections. Sidewalks should continue through the driveway, the level of the sidewalk should be maintained, and the driveway should be sloped so that the driver goes up and over the sidewalk. Driveways should be away from intersections. The number and width of driveways should be minimized.

      Phoenix requires driveways on all new or newly redeveloped construction projects to be located a minimum of XXX feet away from intersections and where possible, requires that they be designed to look like driveways, not intersections.


      Illumination greatly increases the driver’s ability to see pedestrians walking along the road at night. Double-sided lighting illuminates both sidewalks for increased pedestrian safety.

      Phoenix requires double-sided street lighting along arterial streets and along other roadways with high night-time pedestrian activity or where safety concerns exist.

      Crossing the road crashes

      Pedestrian crossing islands reduce crashes substantially at uncontrolled locations, especially on busy multi-lane streets where gaps are difficult to find. An island breaks an otherwise complex crossing maneuver into two easier steps: a pedestrian looks left, finds an acceptable gap in one direction, crosses to the island, then looks right and finds a second gap. Islands also have the affect of lowering traffic speeds by optically narrowing the street with curb and fencing in the center turn lane.

      Phoenix installs pedestrian crossing islands on arterial streets at mid-block locations where heavy pedestrian traffic patterns dictate and where vehicular traffic volume makes pedestrian crossing difficult. Islands are installed they do not adversely affect established businesses or property owners on either side of the street.

      Curb extensions reduce the total crossing distance on streets with on-street parking and increase visibility. Waiting pedestrian can better see approaching traffic and drivers can better see pedestrians who are waiting to cross the road, because their view is no longer blocked by parked cars. Similarly, approaching drivers can better see pedestrians preparing to cross prior to the pedestrian entering the street. Curb extensions also help slow traffic by narrowing the street.

      Phoenix allows and encourages curb extensions on new construction but does not routinely install or retrofit extensions on existing intersections. Instead, Phoenix discourages or prohibits on-street parking on most arterial streets and on collector streets near intersections.

      Illumination greatly increases the driver’s ability to see pedestrians crossing the road. Increased lighting should be provided at the primary crossing points. Double-sided high intensity, lighting should be provided along wide arterial streets; this enables drivers to see pedestrians along the road, who may decide to cross anywhere, anytime.

      Phoenix provides double-sided lighting on all signalized intersections with high pressure sodium (HPS) street lights on all four corners of the intersection. In addition, where possible, Phoenix provides double-sided lighting is provided near mid-block pedestrian islands and in other areas of higher than normal pedestrian crossing activity.

      Popular Crossing Countermeasures & how to improve them

      The public often responds to a tragic pedestrian crash with a call for an immediate solution. Commonly requested solutions include speed humps, traffic signals, pedestrian bridges or tunnels, flashers or marked crosswalks. While these can be effective solutions in certain places, in some instances they are not appropriate or effective.

      Speed Humps:

      Speed humps are asphalt mounds typically placed perpendicular to traffic across the entire width of local streets. Their primary purpose is to slow neighborhood traffic and discourage cut-through traffic. Speed humps require vertical curbing and standard center crown road profile. They also cannot be installed in locations that will create or exacerbate drainage problems. The primary drawback to speed humps is that they require all traffic including emergency vehicles to slow which increases response times and decreases effectiveness. As a result City of Phoenix policy is to install speed humps only on local streets and only with neighborhood participation.

      The City of Phoenix will install speed humps where appropriate traffic conditions and neighborhood support exist.  The Neighborhood Traffic Management Team (NTMT) is responsible for oversight of the neighborhood coordination and installation of the speed humps.

      Traffic Signals:

      The primary purpose of a traffic signal is to create gaps in traffic that otherwise would be hard to find. The MUTCD warns against the overuse of signals for a variety of reasons. Inappropriate traffic signals may increase crashes and in fact in 2004, nearly 25% of all pedestrians involved in crashes were struck at intersections controlled by traffic signals. Traffic signals are expensive, from $80,000 to $120,000 for one intersection, not including any associated road widening or complex construction requirements.

      The Phoenix experience with traffic signals reflects these same issues however, in some rare instances; the only solution to crossing a busy, multi-lane arterial street is to install a pedestrian crossing signal. This is especially true in locations where there is no other signal for a quarter of a mile or more in an area with lots of pedestrian activity.

      Since it’s difficult to meet MUTCD traffic signal warrants for a pedestrian signal based solely on existing pedestrian counts and since Phoenix does not use anticipated counts of how many pedestrians might cross once a signal is installed, Phoenix prefers to use two-stage crosswalk islands where these conditions exist.

      Pedestrian Bridge or Pedestrian Undercrossing

      Bridge or overpass:

      In certain instances, Phoenix installs pedestrian bridges in an attempt to completely separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic. While pedestrians using the bridges are separated from traffic, several problems exist with these structures that make them less than effective.

      The primary short coming with pedestrian bridges is the design considerations necessary to build them. Due to the need for complete accessibility, all such structures must be wheelchair accessible which requires a ramp of standard pitch. Due to the height above traffic (usually 20’) this requires a ramp of roughly 12:1 or 288’ which necessitates a large ramp foot-print on both sides of the street. This need for an extensive ramp system limits where bridges can be installed and significantly impacts the cost of installing such bridges. Additional design considerations include overhead utilities, visibility obstructions and the stability of the pedestrian traffic patterns.

      Even if room exists to install a bridge and no other design considerations preclude installation bridges may not be a good solution. The out-of-distance travel required by long ramps is so inconvenient many pedestrians will refuse to walk this extra distance and instead cross at-grade which pedestrians crossing at grade where drivers may not expect or see them.

      If pedestrian bridges or overpasses are to be considered, they must be installed on heavy, stable pedestrian travel paths across unsignalized sections of high volume roadway (ADT > 25,000 vehicles/day). There must also be a local commitment to use the bridge and a coordinated educational campaign advertising the need for use of the bridge. The final requirement is that funding must be secured for design and construction. Pedestrian bridges are one of the most expensive remedial measures available for consideration.


      Many of the issues affecting choice of a pedestrian bridge also affect the consideration of a pedestrian underpass. The one issue unique to an undercrossing is the fact that due to limited visibility, undercrossings are often prone to security problems which make them harder to patrol and tend to reduce the public willingness to use them especially at night when they would provide the best protection to pedestrians.

      Under certain circumstances, the City of Phoenix installs both pedestrian bridges and pedestrian undercrossings however, the design conditions and security concerns expressed above make them an option of last choice in most instances.

      Marked Crosswalks Alone

      Marked crosswalks should only be installed where there is an expectation of a significant number of pedestrians such as near a school, park or other generator. Without the associated features mentioned so far (islands, curb extensions, illumination etc.), marked crosswalks on their own do not necessarily increase the security of a pedestrian crossing the street.

      Research has indicated that in general, pedestrians are just as vigilant in marked crosswalks as unmarked however, looking behavior for pedestrians in marked crosswalks increased significantly after crosswalks installed. While this is encouraging information, this same research also found that marked crosswalks have no significant crash reduction on two-lane roads or on multi-lane roads (3 or more lanes) with less than 12,000 ADT. On multi-lane roads with more than 12,000 ADT and no medians or multi-lane road with more than 15,000 ADT and medians, crashes actually increased in marked crosswalks versus unmarked. See Appendix D for the complete study results.

      City of Phoenix does install marked crosswalks at unsignalized locations however engineering judgment, crash data and field observations are used for deciding on where or whether to install such crosswalks. When considered, marked crosswalks will be installed at non-signalized crossings where it is believed that such a marked crosswalk will consolidate multiple common crossing points into one area. Also, in order to be considered, there must be a reasonable expectation that a single marked crosswalk will help clarify where pedestrian should cross, thus assisting both pedestrians and drivers. Finally and perhaps most importantly, there must be a stable and substantial pedestrian route in the area (>30 pedestrians per hour) in order for a marked crosswalk to be considered at an unsignalized location. See Appendix B for the specific requirements on where crosswalks are justified and who field measurements are taken.

      Textured and/or Colored Crosswalks

      Marked crosswalks that are installed are designed for maximum visibility and contrast on roadway pavement both day and night. Techniques such as textured and/or colored crosswalks are another popular request. In reality, they are less visible to drivers than white marked crosswalks, may create maintenance problems, and are difficult for pedestrians with disabilities to negotiate.

      Phoenix does not install textured crosswalks. When marked crosswalks are installed, Phoenix per the crosswalk policy (Appendix B) they are painted using high contrast, high visibility white (standard) or yellow (school zone) paint. In addition to paint, there are a number of other tools Phoenix uses to improve the visibility of crosswalks to both pedestrians and drivers. These tools include advanced warning signs, street lighting, advanced STOP bars as well as other techniques.

      Improving Marked Crosswalks:

      1. Crosswalks with advance stop bar (or yield line) help prevent “multiple-threat” crashes on multi-lane streets. STOP bars help limit blind spots created when a driver in one lane stops to let a pedestrian cross, but does so too close to the crosswalk so as to mask a driver in the adjacent lane who is not slowing down; the 2nd driver does not have time to react and the pedestrian is struck at high speed. The advance stop bar (or yield line) requires the 1st driver to stop back 30 feet (+/-) so the pedestrian can see if a driver in the 2nd lane is not stopping. This enables the pedestrian to wait, or even pull back if he has started to proceed into the 2nd lane. It also allows that much more reaction time for drives in the second lane.

        Where possible, Phoenix installs advance STOP bars at crosswalks both at intersection and mid-block locations. Phoenix installs STOP bars a minimum of 30 feet from the near-side crosswalk line. When STOP bars are installed at mid-block locations Phoenix usually removes all lane divider markings from the road between the STOP bar and the crosswalk. This gives the optical impression that the driver is approaching an intersection rather than a mid-block crossing.

      2. Proper signing increases the driver’s awareness of a pedestrian crossing. Where possible, Phoenix will install advance warning signs, advance STOP signs and overhead warning signs. As with all signage, Phoenix is sensitive to sign over use and the related phenomenon of driver overload. As a result, Phoenix installs as many signs as necessary but as few as possible. This being said, Phoenix will install advanced warning signs designating pedestrian crossing locations where possible and also where the mounting of such signs will not adversely impact driver work load or create visibility problems.

      3. Illumination increases the driver’s ability to see pedestrians crossing the road. Phoenix mounts high-wattage, high pressure sodium (HPS) streets on all four corners of all signalized intersections and where possible on both landings of any mid-block crosswalks. On mid-block crossings at high traffic volume streets, Phoenix also attempts to place at least two street lights one on either side of the crosswalk landing on both sides of the street.

      Experimental Roadway Enhancements

      Occasionally, Phoenix will experiment with new products or techniques that may offer improved visibility or better advanced warning of approaching crosswalks however, these experimental applications are usually limited in scope and duration. Eventual wide scale use of any new product is dependent on several factors including the results of field studies in Phoenix, general industry acceptance, cost effectiveness and engineering judgment.

      Intersection Geometry

      Intersection geometry has a profound effect on pedestrian safety as it determines to a large extent whether or not drivers will perceive pedestrians, the length of crosswalks, and the speed of approaching and turning vehicles.

      The City of Phoenix does not have a specific intersection design policy geared towards pedestrian accessibility however; the City does follow appropriate and well recognized AASHTO, ADA and MUTCD design standards for all street design projects. Where appropriate and possible, the city also encourages use of the following design tools to assist in pedestrian mobility:

      1. Tighter corner radii. Smaller (tighter) corner radii benefit pedestrians by shortening the crossing distance, bringing crosswalks closer to the intersection, increasing visibility of pedestrians, and slowing right-turning vehicles. They also force right turning traffic to slow more completely prior to entering the turn thus further protecting pedestrians crossing in front of turning traffic. The appropriate radius must be calculated for each corner of an intersection; difficult turns for the occasional event are acceptable (for example a large moving truck turning onto a local street).

        Phoenix encourages developers and city staff to design intersection corners with tight radii where merging traffic conditions do not make such radii dangerous to right turning traffic. Intersection radii are dependent on intersecting street classifications and cross-sections. Phoenix does not typically modify existing radii at developed locations unless the site is being redevelopment.

      2. Pork-chop islands. Raised pedestrian or traffic channel islands between an exclusive right-turn lane and through lanes shorten the crossing distance, reduce pedestrian exposure and improve signal timing. Such islands enable pedestrians and drivers to negotiate one conflict separately from the others. These islands usually have the longer tail pointing upstream to the approaching right-turn driver; so drivers approach at close to 90º and are looking at the crosswalk. This type of layout also necessitates drivers slowing more completely prior to entering traffic. The crosswalk is placed one car length back from the intersecting street so the driver can move forward once the pedestrian conflict has been resolved. The right-tuning driver can focus on traffic and the pedestrian can focus on cross or through traffic. Phoenix requires pork-chop islands where appropriate and reviews the designs of such islands to ensure that they regulate both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Phoenix does not typically retrofit islands in existing locations unless general redevelopment is being considered.

      3. Median islands. Raised median islands have several key benefits for pedestrian safety. Primarily, medians channelize and slow down left-turning vehicles thus significantly reducing or completely eliminating the potential threat that left turning traffic poses to crossing pedestrians. Islands also provide a refuge for pedestrians crossing wide, unsignalized portions of roadway at mid-block locations or large signalized intersections when crossing the entire street in one light cycle is not feasible.Where possible, Phoenix installs or encourages developer installation of median islands especially on high speed, high volume, limited access surface streets. Phoenix must balance the desire for median islands against the requirement for left turn access by local businesses. Where restrictions exist or where full medians are not feasible, partial medians, shadow islands or pedestrian safety islands are often considered as an alternative.

      4. Proper Crosswalk & curb ramp placement and design. To ensure that all users cross in crosswalks, close to the intersection, where drivers can see them, and without undue delay. Ramps (wings not included) must be wholly contained within the marked crosswalk. Poorly placed or oriented ramps force wheelchair users to make long detours and they may not cross in the allotted time at a signalized intersection; they may be crossing outside the crosswalk lines where drivers don’t expect them. The City of Phoenix routinely provides separate wheelchair ramps for each leg of each marked crosswalk and provides curb ramps at intersections where no marked crosswalk exists. In addition, the City has an ongoing ramp retrofit plan that installs new ramps at existing marked or unmarked crossings. The City also has an inspection program for all wheelchair ramps and other ADA facilities and schedules repair or replacement as needed on a continual basis.

      Signalized intersections

      Signalized intersections where pedestrians are reasonably expected to cross need accommodations for pedestrians. Phoenix policy is to make signalized intersections with known pedestrian traffic as accessible as possible to all pedestrians.

      Signal Design Considerations. There are currently no retrofit programs to add these features to existing signalized intersections however, on all new intersections that are expected to support pedestrian activity, pedestrian signals, actuation buttons and marked crosswalks. Phoenix traffic signal technicians periodically inspect all traffic signals and report any damaged or disabled pedestrian signal features.

      1. Pedestrian signal indications. To ensure pedestrians know when the signal phasing allows them to cross, and when they should not be crossing pedestrian signals are added to all new or rebuilt signalized intersections. At many traffic signals close to schools or downtown, special pedestrian countdown signal heads are used to notify pedestrians of how much time is remaining in the signal. On one-way streets a pedestrian approaching from the opposite direction cannot see the vehicle signal heads and may not realize an intersection is signalized, nor know when it is safe to cross. Left turn arrows are generally not visible to the pedestrian.

      2. Marked crosswalks. As outlined previously, Phoenix installs marked crosswalks at signalized intersections to indicate to the driver where to expect pedestrians and help keep the crossing area clear of vehicles. They also inform the pedestrian as to where to cross the street. All legs of a signalized intersection are be marked.

      3. Push buttons. Most arterial/arterial intersections in Phoenix run on an automatic 90 second cycle. Most of these intersections have pedestrian signals but the automatic time eliminates the requirement for pedestrian activated push buttons. Push buttons are used at all loop controlled signalized intersections such as intersections of collector or local streets with arterial or collector streets. Phoenix ensures that all new loop controlled traffic signals have pedestrian push buttons. Wherever physically possible, Phoenix also ensures that push button access and design correspond to current ADA requirements.

      4. Pedestrian Signal Timing. Phoenix recognizes the need for traffic signal timing that balances the need for pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic. Signals must be long enough for pedestrian traffic to clear the intersection but not so long that pedestrian actuated signals especially those at collector or local intersections with arterial streets unnecessarily delay through traffic flow. Such delays may result in increased risk taking behavior by motorists such as red light running or speeding, both of which may endanger pedestrians as well as drivers.

        To balance out the conflicting demands for cycle time, Phoenix generally relies on pedestrian actuation signals for minor street signal activation across arterial streets. Once activated, the signal through movement is calculated based on the arterial cross-sectional length and an assumed walking speed of 4 ft. /sec. from curb to curb. This timing allows pedestrians to cross completely out of the traffic lane prior to the yellow and all-way red clearance intervals.

      Signal timing techniques. As a compliment to signal design features, the City of Phoenix evaluates each intersection signal plan to reduce the incidence of crashes that occur while the pedestrian are crossing with the WALK signal include. Some of the techniques used include protected left turn phasing and right turn on red restrictions.

      1. Protected Left-turn Phases. Under certain conditions Phoenix allows installs protected phasing for left turning traffic. In all cases such movements accommodate dual left turn lanes. Because such phasing reduces the amount of time available for through traffic, they are installed infrequently and only where field observations, crash history and engineering judgment predicts that the benefit of exclusive left-turn only phasing will benefit traffic.

        While this type of phasing eliminates a potential conflict with pedestrian traffic, this benefit by itself is not generally used to justify installation of protected left turn phasing.

      2. Right-turn on Red Restrictions. At certain location with high pedestrian traffic and conflicting right turn traffic volume, right turn on red restrictions may help reduce conflicts. An unfortunate

      Other techniques to create a better pedestrian environment

      Road diets: Reducing the number of travel lanes a pedestrian has to cross can be beneficial to all users. A well-documented technique takes a 4-lane undivided street (2 lanes in each direction) and reconfigures it to 2 travel lanes, a center-turn lane and 2 bike lanes, edge lines or parking lanes (without changing the curb lines). The benefits for pedestrians include fewer lanes to cross and slower traffic speeds. The center-turn lane also creates space for pedestrian crossing islands. The bike and parking lanes add a buffer for pedestrians as well. Variations include reducing a multi-lane one-way street by one lane; narrowing the travel lanes to slow traffic and create space for bike lanes; or moving the curbs in to narrow the roadway.

      Phoenix makes extensive use of road diets where appropriate, especially on collector streets where speed humps or other local street traffic calming measures are not permitted. Where bike lanes are added, parking is restricted which requires petitioning of the front facing homes that are affected. Edgelines or parking lanes generally do not require petitioning but do require notification and usually some form of official request by area residents or home owners.

      Arterial Street Design: High speeds make it harder to avoid a crash, and increase the severity of a crash or the likelihood of a fatality. Speed reduction can be used as a tool in reducing pedestrian crashes. Simply lowering speed limits is usually ineffective. Streets must be redesigned to encourage lower speeds.

      Phoenix generally sets speed limits on arterial street based on several factors including, traffic volume, average vehicular speeds and pedestrian activity in the area. Speed limits are periodically evaluated and where conflicts exist, changing speed limits is considered. When speed limits are changed, Phoenix is conscious of the affect such changes are likely to have on traffic patterns. Phoenix also typically lowers speed limits at locations that are logical such as transition points between two different speed limits. Phoenix will not lower speed limits on very short stretches of roadway just to raise the speed back up again once vehicles clear the short stretch of slow speed limit.

      Residential Street Design: Residential streets built in the last few decades are often wide and barren, encouraging speeds higher than appropriate for streets where children can be expected. Good residential street designs are narrow and have on-street parking, tight curb radii, short block length, buffered sidewalks with street trees, short building setbacks, and streetlights.

      Phoenix does not typically build residential streets however, where practical, Phoenix attempts to encourage pedestrian friendly residential street design by developers and contractor teams.

      Traffic Calming. Engineering solutions to neighborhood traffic speed and cut through volume also have a positive affect on pedestrian safety. Although not specifically used to enhance pedestrian safety traffic calming techniques generally improve road safety for pedestrians by reducing both speed and volume of neighborhood traffic. One side-effect of traffic calming is that engineering solutions generally require all vehicles including emergency response (police, fire and ambulance) to slow or find alternative routes. A second and sometimes unintended consequence of such efforts sometimes means that traffic restricted in one neighborhood simply finds a path through nearby neighborhoods without traffic calming infrastructure in place.

      Recognizing these positive and negative aspects of traffic calming, the City of Phoenix allows extensive forms of calming on local streets and more limited forms on collector streets. The types and traffic conditions required for traffic calming are determined by the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Traffic Management Team (NTMT) which is responsible for investigation of traffic conditions and the coordination of any mitigation measures that result from such investigations. Such programs are developed in conjunction with neighborhoods and require both petitioning and some form of neighborhood support (financial or otherwise).

      1. Local Streets. Speed humps, speed tables, diverters (semi- and diagonal), road closures, new signage and striping and neighborhood speed watch programs are used to help slow traffic on local streets inside neighborhoods.

      2. Collector Streets. New signage and striping, chicanes and traffic circles are used on Phoenix collector streets.

      3. Arterial Streets. No traffic calming measures are utilized on Phoenix arterial streets.

      Miscellaneous Road Improvements

      In addition to the more modest improvements that are considered in addressing pedestrian safety, Phoenix also considers the following measures when evaluating specific new or existing road conditions:

      Visibility Obstruction Removal: Phoenix continually looks for and removes obstruction to visibility from vegetation that either obscure traffic control devices or block pedestrian and driver visibility.

      Transit-related crashes

      Many crashes involve a pedestrian crossing the street to access transit. All street-crossing techniques are applicable to transit stops. The local transit authority, Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix Street Department make every effort to ensure that all transit stops are accessible to all pedestrians. Phoenix recognizes this and takes appropriate steps to mitigate transit passenger/pedestrian risks.

      All stops consider the safety of the pedestrian crossing. Phoenix does not necessarily install marked crosswalks at each stop location however; Phoenix makes every effort to locate most transit stops where it is possible for a pedestrian to cross safely at or very near the stop. Where mid-block transit stops are necessary due to pedestrian demand, every attempt is made to limit pedestrian exposure to traffic.

      Provide a safe place to stand and wait. Phoenix recognizes that transit stops with a lack of space push people out into the roadway. As such, where possible, Phoenix makes every effort to provide a formal bus shelter or passenger standing pad at transit and school bus stops regardless of the presence of connecting sidewalks or other pedestrian infrastructure.

      Transit stops connected to pedestrian infrastructure. All transit trips begin and end with a pedestrian trip; therefore Phoenix makes every effort to provide either contiguous sidewalk or paved shoulders to safely guide pedestrians from point of origin to transit stops.

      Street and/or shelter lighting provided at or near all bus stop locations. Phoenix attempts to provide adequate street and shelter lighting at all transit stops that are served during hours of darkness. This policy helps with both pedestrian safety and security.

      Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix Public Transit Department also periodically review all its stop locations to facilitate access and crossing. Techniques include:

      1. Eliminating transit stops in areas that are hard to cross
      2. Consolidating closely-space stops to limit the number of crossings and improve transit efficiency as the buses stop less often
      3. Moving stops to a location where it is easier to cross. In general, far-side locations are preferred for pedestrian safety, as pedestrians cross behind the bus, and the bus can leave without having to wait for pedestrians to cross. However, there are locations where a nearside stop is safer for operational reasons.
      4. Placing crosswalks (where warranted) behind the bus stop at mid-block locations so pedestrians cross behind the bus, where they can see oncoming traffic; it also enables the bus driver to pull away without endangering pedestrians.

      Valley Metro and City of Phoenix Public Transit Department also have their concerns:

      1. Bus stops should be easily accessible: a stop should not be moved to a far side location if this location requires a lot of out-of-direction travel for users.
      2. Bus stops should be located where the driver can easily stop and move back into traffic again.
      3. Bus stops need to be located where passengers with disabilities can board the bus.

      Planning Solutions

      Land Use and Site Design

      Land use patterns impact pedestrian crashes. Pedestrian crash severity is higher in suburban, auto-oriented locations where speeds are faster and drivers don’t expect pedestrians. Pedestrian crashes are less severe in established, traditional urban areas where drivers are more aware of pedestrians and where vehicles speeds tend to be lower. Sample land use and site design techniques that can encourage more walking and help manage speed and therefore affect crash rates include:

      Buildings that define streets such as those located at the back of the sidewalk give the driver sense of enclosure; buildings set back with large parking lots in front create wide high-speed roads.

      Mixed-use development buildings with retail on the bottom and housing on the top encourage pedestrian activity.

      Street connectivity encourages walking because of the reduced travel distance to reach destinations (cul-de-sacs without connector paths reduce pedestrian connectivity).

      Parking should not be placed between the sidewalk and buildings; on-street parking is a very effective way to slow traffic and encourage pedestrian-oriented development. The principles of access management should be extended to parking: single lots serving multiple stores are preferred over single stores each with its own parking and driveway.

      Phoenix currently has no city codes designed specifically to encourage pedestrian traffic to the exclusion of vehicular traffic. Phoenix does encourage mixed use street and business development. This includes recommendations for adding sidewalks, bike lanes and connectivity between new and existing developments.

    2. Educational Solutions

      In addition to engineering solutions, the City of Phoenix also pursues educational and enforcement solutions to help solve pedestrian safety issues. Educational solutions generally concentrate on schools and neighborhood or community organizations with active participation.


      Safe Routes to School. The School Traffic Safety Team within the Phoenix Street actively assists public and private schools within the city who are interested in establishing safe walking plans for students walking or biking to the school. Members of the team work with parents and teachers from interested schools to establish walking routes for students that generally allow the students to travel to school along residential streets.

      These safe routes to school plans generally limit the need for street crossing or channel such crossings to intersections controlled by crossing guards. Once developed the walking plan routes are then distributed to parents and students who live inside the walking boundaries of the school. The plans are periodically evaluated for changes and updated as necessary.

      International Walk to School Day. The City of Phoenix Street, Fire and Police Departments also work with community schools on the annual International Walk to School Day which typically occurs in the fall. During the staged events, the City provides schools with safe walking and bicycling techniques and reinforces lessons learned on safe walking through out the year.

      The School Traffic Safety Team from the Phoenix Street Department coordinates these events which are usually held at two schools in Phoenix each year.

      School Safety Audit. The Phoenix Street Department also provides School Safety Audits for both new and existing schools to help control both vehicular and pedestrian traffic at arrival and dismissal times. Such plans generally require extensive input from the individual school or school board and rely on school officials to enforce.

      The School Traffic Safety Team also conducts these audits. Schools interested in assistance contact the team and establish a traffic team similar to those established for safe route plans. Traffic patterns in and around the school are examined and plans to minimize conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians as well as vehicles with other traffic are developed. These plans often involve signage or striping changes to the school parking lot, driveways and related public streets.

      Each year, members of the team conduct inspections of the school grounds for updates, repair or replacement of any damaged, missing or faded signage and striping. Where requested they also review existing traffic control plans for continued relevancy.


      Safe Walking Plan. If requested by neighborhoods or community organizations, the City of Phoenix Street Department will also help establish safe walking routes to pedestrian traffic attractors such as shopping areas, parks or other points of interest. Such plans are similar to safe routes to school plans developed by the Street Department and require both initial interest from citizen groups and continued input during the process.

      Pedestrian Safety Classes. A final area of educational input is in pedestrian safety classes that the City of Phoenix Police and Street Departments occasionally hold for interested neighborhood or citizen groups. Such classes are usually held at the request of a citizen group in response to real or perceived problems with pedestrian crashes. They generally involve a discussion of pedestrian crash statistics followed by a review of safe walking or bicycling tips. Depending on the level of interest, such classes may result in additional safety audits, walking plans or other educational or engineering review of conditions in the neighborhood.

    3. Enforcement Solutions

      Pedestrians & Drivers

      The final component of the pedestrian safety solutions is enforcement of pedestrian safety regulations. Most of this effort is directed against motor vehicle operators. Police continually conduct routine and special enforcement of traffic regulations that benefit pedestrian safety. Occasionally Phoenix Police will conduct pedestrian jay-walking enforcement in specific areas based on either pedestrian crash history or observations of pedestrian behavior.

  7. Funding

    In an effort to continually improve pedestrian safety on Phoenix streets, the City of Phoenix funds pedestrian projects using a mixture of Departmental, Governmental and private funding paths.


    Governmental funding is supplied by all three branches of government, local, state and federal.

    City of Phoenix Funding
    This includes money from tax and bond programs that the city uses to upgrade pedestrian facilities. Specific programs the City funds with this money are street modernization programs and emergency sidewalk installation programs.

    1. Street modernization. With this program the city typically funds the improvement of collector streets which generally means widening of the street and installation of sidewalks. Streets to be upgraded are identified and petitioned by neighborhood leaders and once petitioned, they are added to a running list of location. Limited availability of funds typically means that once on the list projects take 3-5 years to schedule.
    2. Sidewalk installation. Limited funds are available each year for small segment sidewalk installation. These funds are typically used to install wheelchair ramps or to connect otherwise discontinuous segments of sidewalk.
    3. Neighborhood Traffic Management Team. The NTMT has an annual budget for speed humps, traffic circles and other traffic mitigation projects that are used to slow or reduce vehicle traffic and thus directly or indirectly benefit pedestrian safety.
    4. Other roadway improvements. Additional improvements are sometimes made to pedestrian facilities through development of arterial and collector streets, traffic signal installation, road re-striping or other normal city street improvement processes.

    Additional funding for specific pedestrian safety projects is available through other governmental agencies.

    1. Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) – occasionally makes funds available for projects within the county that benefit Phoenix.
    2. Governors Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) – Federal funding for educational and enforcement campaigns is made available through GOHS on an annual basis.
    3. Highway Enhancements for Safety (HES) – Federal funding for infrastructure improvement projects is made available though the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) on a continual basis. Many of these projects include improvements to pedestrian facilities at high crash locations through out the city.

    The final and most overlooked source of funds for pedestrian safety projects is generated by continual private development of residential pockets throughout the city and county islands. Private development pays for most of the sidewalk construction in Phoenix and paves most of the local streets where residential homes are located.

  8. Conclusion

    Phoenix is continually striving to improve the pedestrian safety. It is the intent of the pedestrian safety action plan to establish concrete and measurable goals on both towards this end. The document once approved will be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that the information contained within it reflects both the goals for pedestrian safety and the techniques available for achieving these goals.

Appendix A. 2006 Pedestrian Crash Summary Report


2006 Pedestrian Collision Summary

Appendix B. Street Department Crosswalk Policy

Crosswalk Markings - page 1

Crosswalk Markings - page 2

Crosswalk Markings - page 3

Crosswalk Markings - page 4

Crosswalk Markings - page 4a

Crosswalk Markings - page 4b

Appendix C. Pedestrian Safety Audit Procedures and Checklist

As part of the ongoing efforts by Phoenix to promote and improve pedestrian safety, Traffic Operations staff will perform Pedestrian Safety Audits on a periodic basis or as needed under special circumstances.


Pedestrian Safety Audits are conducted to periodically review areas of town with high pedestrian crash experience and determine if crash patterns exist, and if so, what if anything can be done to improve conditions. The Traffic Safety Section is responsible for identifying the audit locations and coordinating the audits.


  1. Periodically, the Traffic Safety Section will produce a list of the locations with a high number of pedestrian crashes over a given time period.

  2. Once the list is complete, the Safety Section will obtain copies of all collision reports at each location and prepare a Pedestrian Safety Audit checklist and collision diagram for each location. The collision reports, checklist and diagrams will be verified by the Safety Section Lead before distribution to the Investigations Section Lead.

  3. A Work Order will be issued for each audit location and the police reports/collision diagram will be provided to each appropriate traffic investigator by the Principal or appropriate Chief Engineering Technicians.

  4. The area investigator will review each collision report and conduct a safety audit of the location checking for infrastructure repair or improvements to the location that might improve pedestrian service, accessibility, or safety. If a nighttime collision pattern exists, a nighttime check may be authorized to evaluate lighting and other nighttime conditions.

  5. Once complete, the investigator will complete the Pedestrian Safety Audit checklist for each location and return the checklist and all other documents to an Investigative Lead for work order close out.

  6. All documents will then be forwarded to the Safety Section Lead.

  7. The Traffic Engineering Supervisor, the Safety Section Lead and the area investigator will jointly review the crash reports and documentation and close out the audit. Additional traffic counts or other studies may be requested, which will be conducted under a separate Work Order.

  8. The closed work order, collision reports, diagrams and checklist will then be placed in archive in the Traffic Safety Section. The electronic Work Order will be retained in the SPARKS II work order tracking system.

2005 Pedetrian Safety Audit Checklist

Appendix D. Neighborhood Traffic Management Policies

A Policy to Reduce “Cut-Through” Traffic - page 1

A Policy to Reduce “Cut-Through” Traffic - page 2

A Policy to Reduce “Cut-Through” Traffic - page 3

A Policy to Reduce “Cut-Through” Traffic - page 4

A Policy to Reduce “Cut-Through” Traffic - page 5

Page last modified on January 31, 2013.
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