CAVE CREEK – The Town of Cave Creek was recently awarded a $40,000 grant from the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) for a Pedestrian Safety Study that officially kicked off on December 30, 2019. The MAG consultants, who will conduct the study, were in Town last week for a field study walk.
The Pedestrian Safety Study will evaluate previous Town traffic studies that take into consideration pending new developments in the Town Core area; while also making recommendations for placement of traffic warning devices, crosswalks, regulatory signs, and signage and striping that will better manage traffic flows.
The funding assistance from MAG comes at the request of Cave Creek’s Public Works Director, Hal Marron, who applied for the grant due to an increased volume of Town Core traffic over the last few years, along with increased speeds. These factors have caused a rise in pedestrian involved traffic accidents (or near misses) in recent years, becoming a priority area of concern for the Town Administration.
“This study will help determine the optimal number and placement of crosswalks in the Town Core, as well as determine if additional signage is needed to direct pedestrians to crosswalks. Lighting will also be evaluated in the Town Core as it pertains to increasing pedestrian safety, including potentially adding lighting to crosswalks that would warn vehicles when they are in use.” Marron said.
The Town of Cave Creek timed the study and traffic counts to begin during the busy tourist season and during the season with the least amount of daylight hours.
The Maricopa Association of Governments recognized the Town Core’s unique traffic issues that accommodates pedestrians, bicycles, equestrians, motorcycles and vehicles utilizing only one, two-lane road and a single stop sign. The study takes into account the large influx of tourism activity in the Town Core during the winter months combined with limited night visibility.
“Cave Creek’s historic Town Core and its thriving business community offers one-of-a-kind experiences, attracting tourists from far and wide. Our biggest problem isn’t managing typical residential traffic, it’s managing visitor traffic during the busy season,” Marron said.
The Pedestrian Safety Study will take place on Cave Creek Road from Surrey to Galloway drives with the goal of developing a cost-effective plan to evaluate the optimum location of crosswalks, enhance pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian visibility, and improve driver compliance. Residents can expect traffic and pedestrian counts to start soon with the study finishing up by June 2020.
The study will include four pedestrian counts in separate locations downtown for a duration of 24-hours each. It will accomplish this by evaluating specific safety countermeasures, past collision history (including near misses), traffic counts and data from past polls.
“Eighty-five percent of cars traveling through downtown Cave Creek are traveling 43-miles-per-hour or less, and the posted speed limit is 30-miles-per-hour,” Marron says of traffic counts the Town collects from digital speed signs placed throughout the Town Core.
Although Cave Creek has taken swift action in addressing traffic concerns downtown by installing high-visibility crosswalks, digital speed signs and safety barriers, the Town recognizes there are still areas that can be improved upon. The Town understands distracted driving, rural infrastructure, high tourism activity in the winter, and our desire to maintain dark skies create unique factors that potentially expose pedestrians to traffic threats.
The findings from this study will provide recommendations to the Town to determine the best methods for improving driver compliance and reduce the possibility of future collisions that takes into consideration the Town’s unique traffic factors.