Town officials believe it may be several more weeks before implementation is begun regarding traffic safety corridors on Fountain Hills streets.
At its Aug. 25 session the council approved a plan to establish the safety corridors, which include Saguaro Blvd. between Desert Vista and Grande Blvd., Palisades Blvd. between Saguaro and El Lago Blvd. and Fountain Hills Blvd. between Palisades and El Lago. The program was approved on a 5-2 vote with Council Members Art Tolis and David Spelich dissenting.
The establishment of the safety corridors does not change the speed limits in those areas and traffic stops and citations will remain at the discretion of the deputy.
Town Manager Grady Miller said that the traffic signs for the corridors had to be ordered and, once they arrive, the areas need to be “blue staked” for utilities before they are installed.
Miller added there will be a period in which the enforcement is monitored and the stats from traffic stops will be collected and reviewed by the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee. Any proposed adjustments or changes would go to the council for consideration.
Miller said they will be taking an in-depth look at violations to look at moving violations beyond just speeding. This can provide data that highlights other concerns or safety measures.
Miller said staff would not be providing any direction to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office regarding the safety corridor enforcement.
“We will be leaving that up to MCSO,” Miller said. “Capt. Kratzer is a member of the safety committee and was very much a part of this design process.”
Kratzer told The Times the safety corridor enforcement will likely include additional patrols by deputies in these areas.
“Currently, deputies conduct traffic enforcement based upon many different factors, but one factor is requests from citizens,” Kratzer said. “I plan on making safety corridors more of a priority for deputies to spend their time in when conducting traffic enforcement and putting additional focused resources to these areas when I can.
“We would still conduct traffic enforcement in other areas and still try and put resources in the areas where residents are notifying us of perceived issues to not take away from other areas in town.”
Kratzer said the overall discretion will still lie with the deputy conducting the enforcement. The biggest difference here would be that deputies would understand that these areas have been designated, signed, and data has determined that these areas pose more of a risk to drivers and pedestrians for accidents.
Some deputies view the signage as a warning, so they may be more apt to issue a citation for speed-related violations, according to Kratzer.
“I want to be clear, however, that we would not be adopting a zero-tolerance enforcement plan in these areas,” Kratzer said. “There were some concerns by residents that folks would be cited for driving one mile an hour over the speed limit and we have no intentions of that sort of enforcement.
“Most deputies have an idea of their threshold for what they will issue a citation for rather than give a warning and I envision this remaining consistent here. Some deputies may decide to lower their thresholds in the safety corridors for a citation, but it will never by one mile per hour over.”