Common sense enforcement needed, not study committees
Arizona has a problem with pedestrian fatalities. According to data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which lists by state, we have the highest rate in the entire nation. Hawaii, which is not a border state, has the lowest. Making the numbers even more compelling is the fact that Maricopa County has the unenviable distinction of coming in second in fatalities of all U.S. counties.
The City of Phoenix, under the thumb of leftwing Mayor Greg Stanton —– a self described “progressive,” now running for congress —- jumped into action with the creation of a board to study the crisis. ‘Complete Streets’ has made recommendations after blaming the high fatality rate on our “streetscape.”
What? You haven’t previously heard that word? That’s because you’re not a liberal urban planner, public health advocate dealing with sustainability, and complete streets, multi-modal/transportation planning and design or health impact assessments. Many of the board members are “quality of life” specialists.
Check out the Complete Streets Advisory Board Roster and their specialties.
An assemblage of nearly a dozen such luminaries is impressive, if you’re into costly social transformation. They addressed the Phoenix City Council demanding council members accelerate the process and adopt the “Complete Streets Guidelines” to make streets safer for pedestrians.
The group blames pedestrian fatalities on economic conditions, demographics, weather, fuel prices, and the amount of time people spend walking. Ergo, if you’re poor, snow drifts are high, you have to walk while texting, you could be an accident waiting to happen.
Among the concepts to alleviate such deficiencies provided for in the guidelines are more sidewalks, reducing the rate of traffic, shade structures and trees, including increased night time lighting. The slowing of traffic, more lighting and planting of trees clearly conflict with the need to reduce gas, electricity and water consumption previously favored by “sustainability” alarmists.
There is a simpler and less costly way to address the increase in pedestrian deaths. Begin ticketing people who refuse to use marked crosswalks. This was once known as “jaywalking” and was a ticketable offense. Now officers in patrol cars, concerned about negatively impacting cultural mores, blithely sail past mothers standing on the median with a flock of tykes, waiting for a traffic break to hustle them across the busy street, ignoring the nearby crosswalk and traffic signal.
Crosswalks are routinely disregarded. The attitude is, lines in the street are put there by authority figures and should be avoided regardless of the fact that they save lives. It’s a foolish, often ethnic-based, power struggle that has made Arizona the leader in pedestrian deaths. This is a fact you can be certain the ‘Complete Streets’ committee won’t address.