Tucson task force focusing on pedestrian safety

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The City of Tucson is working to reduce pedestrian accidents, even as emergency calls keep coming in.

A new task force aims to tackle this problem from all angles.

Another pedestrian was hit Wednesday, this time near Congress and Westmoreland.  It's one of 25 pedestrian emergency calls handled this month by the Tucson Fire Department.

"There's so many people who just don't pay attention," said mother Randi Hall.

Randi Hall likes to stroll around Reid Park with her baby daughter.

It's the same area where, last month, a 13-year-old boy was killed crossing 22nd Street.

"We've crossed the road and gone to McDonald's and people don't want to stop at that crosswalk," Hall said.

Now city leaders plan to install a crossing signal.

"We have about a 110 of these HAWK crossings spread throughout the city currently with funding from the regional transportation authority we have money to do approximately nine additional HAWK crossings," said City of Tucson spokesman Michael Graham.

The city has also formed a pedestrian safety task force with the Tucson Fire Department now expanding its roadside awareness courses for local third graders.

"We put a crosswalk and we have pedestrians walking across the street along where they bikes are having to cross so we've implemented the pedestrian safety into our bicycle safety portion," said Capt. Trish Tracy with the Tucson Fire Department.

Cynthia Lester knows all too well the dangers of walking near traffic.

"I was in a crosswalk on Broadway and Euclid and got hit," said Lester.  "I was crossing by a parking lot and got hit."

That's why she takes time to teach her kids about crossing safely.

"Always look both ways before you cross and if you can't see the driver's eyes they can't see you," Lester said.

The task force uses the three E's, engineering, education and enforcement.

The city says police will be handing out jaywalking citations to get pedestrians to be more safety-conscious.