Last week LSA hosted a Pedestrian Safety & Comfort Forum with representatives from Tucson Ward offices, the Mayor’s office, the Department of Transportation, Pima Association of Governments, Tucson Police Department, Tucson Fire Department, Tucson Unified School District, Imagine Greater Tucson, Plan Tucson, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Watershed Management Group and Tucson Clean & Beautiful. The group reviewed results of the Walk-Friendly Communities “Community Assessment Tool”as a framework for improving Tucson’s walkability. The assessment captures the various factors that affect walkability in Tucson, documents our current efforts, resources and programs towards walkability, and indicates potential areas for improvement. In the forum stakeholders reflected upon factors impacting walking in our Tucson environment and established priorities for future collaboration in planning, engineering, education/encouragement, enforcement and evaluation. LSA will use this input to establish a baseline for walkability in Tucson, so that we can measure progress over time.
Here are the highlights from each section…
We need to be creative in thinking about planning on a neighborhood level and be responsive to the preferences of different types of neighborhoods in the city with respect to zoning and planning.
• Prioritize development of a new pedestrian plan based on community input that includes prioritization of roadways and an evaluation component
• Engage in the re-zoning process to prioritize making regional connections between pedestrian paths and facilities
• Integrate public transit into pedestrian planning process to encourage routes and around transit.
• Consider desert environment and alternatives to concrete
• Pursue dedicated pedestrian funding sources
We need to consider the human experience of walking as it relates to shade, road width, adjacent buildings, etc.
• Connect within and through neighborhoods to destinations rather than focusing on access along major arterials (balanced with safety concerns)
• Increase access to and comfort of bus stop amenities
• Revise major streets and routes plan to rebalance ROW space to include more pedestrian, bike, and green space
We need to address the culture of walking in schools, community and workplace.
• Adult and community educational programs focusing on raising awareness, walking maps
• Raise awareness about surroundings and behavior (how much are you really walking)
We need more amenities to make walking comfortable and convenient.
• Way-finding signage
• Maps of safe walking routes and paths
• Beautification of walking routes
Although motorists are accountable for obeying pedestrian safety laws, the incentive for safety is on the shoulders of the pedestrian because they are the ones who get hurt.
• Encourage law enforcement to enforce traffic laws – especially around pedestrian safety
• Identify creative ways to incentivize pedestrian/motorist traffic violators to take part in education in lieu of fines
We need to establish a baseline of walkability, identify priority areas and measure progress in those areas.
• Promote comprehensive reporting and data collection related to pedestrian facilities and safety
• Track pedestrian infrastructure over time to evaluate efforts using: Road Safety Assessments, sidewalk inventories that include residential streets, and walking audits including comfort indicators such as shade, water harvesting, pathways, etc.
LSA will be incorporating these priorities/recommendations into it’s 2012-2013 Pedestrian Safety & Comfort Campaign, which will launch in the next few weeks.
You can download the full results of the Forum here.