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6/3/2008
Arizona: Engineering Improvements Slash Accidents
Injury accidents drop 39 percent at Chandler, Arizona intersections that received engineering improvements.

Dobson and Warner
Engineering improvements designed to allow traffic in Chandler, Arizona to flow more smoothly have also yielded a significant reduction in the number of accidents. According to city data, the five street widening projects completed to date have resulted in a 27 percent decline in the total accidents and a 39 percent decline in injury accidents through 2007. After a series of planned upgrades are completed, the city will have fixed half of the intersections that currently have red light cameras.

Earlier this year, Chandler police officials claimed traffic cameras had made the streets safer, without providing specific details or noting the benefit found from two intersections that received substantial improvements. Independent studies have shown that, without engineering improvement, red light cameras can increase the number of accidents and injuries where they are used (view studies).

In 2006, Chandler paid $5.3 million to widen Ray Road at Arizona Avenue, a photo-monitored location. The extra room improved the flow of the 62,000 vehicles passing through the location on a daily basis. Dual left turn lanes, dedicated right turn lanes, a third through-lane on Ray Road, and new sidewalks also helped reduce conflicts. Similar improvements were made at Arizona Avenue and Elliott Road, which is also photo enforced.

Additional improvements likely to reduce the number of accidents will also take place at several locations with existing red light camera installations. For example, at Alma School and Ray Roads, the city will spend $4.4 million by the spring of 2009 to add dual left turn lanes, dedicated right turn lanes, a third through-lane, new medians, street lighting, sidewalks, and traffic signals.

Last month, the city began work widening the intersection of Dobson and Warner Roads with the addition of new sidewalks and improved traffic signals. The project is scheduled to be complete by January 2009. At Riggs and Gilbert Roads, the intersection will be widened to six lanes, with bicycle lanes new sidewalks, new street lights, and new medians. The project is scheduled to begin within weeks.

Chandler's Fiscal Year 2009 budget expects twelve red light cameras, six of which double as speed cameras, to generate $4.2 million in net profit. Australian vendor Redflex keeps a $19 bounty for each ticket the company is able to issue.



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