Phoenix is one of the most unsafe places in America for pedestrians. The Complete Streets Advisory Board (CSAB) has been working for the past several years to increase safety by making Phoenix’s streets safer for everyone to walk, bike, use public transportation, and drive. Unfortunately, this process has hit more than a few road blocks.
Most recently, the CSAB experienced mass resignations. As of May 29, a majority of the CSAB has resigned – only two members remain on the board. The members who resigned cited interference, lying, and obstruction from City of Phoenix staff members among many other reasons for their decision.
Before this development, the proposed guidelines had slowly gained some traction. On April 18, in a 6 – 1 vote, the Phoenix City Council voted in favor of expediting the approval process for Complete Streets.
The city council was supposed to hold an official vote on the Complete Streets guidelines on May 16, but Complete Streets was removed from the agenda after the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee voted to stall the process even further. Now, no voting on the matter will occur for up to six months.
There is a push for the Complete Streets guidelines to be enacted due to the large amount of pedestrian collisions that have occurred in Phoenix. From 2014 to 2017, 271 pedestrians died in traffic collisions. So far in 2018, there have been over 30 pedestrian traffic deaths. The CSAB proposed a set of guidelines that aim to decrease these unfortunate numbers.
The guidelines focus on various aspects of urban design in Phoenix. Currently, Phoenix is primarily designed around cars and driving. The CSAB and its guidelines provide ways for Phoenix to balance its transportation options. The balance will make the streets a safer place for everyone.
The proposed guidelines call for a redesign based on safety, comfort, convenience, sustainability, context, connectivity, and cost-effectiveness. The new design would consist of reduced speed limits, better street lighting, and increased accessibility for children, elderly, and people with disabilities. It would also have more shade, protected bike lanes, and public seating.
Fostering safe places for all Arizonans to stay active and live better is central to our mission at Pinnacle Prevention. Complete Streets guidelines provide an opportunity for Phoenix to make our streets safer for residents and visitors. Testifying in support of the guidelines in April, Adrienne Udarbe stressed the importance of having policies in place that match the city’s messaging:
“It’s hard to tell citizens that we want them to bike to work when they don’t feel safe doing so,” she said.
The push – and continuous lack of meaningful progress – for Complete Streets in Phoenix has received both local and national attention:
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