Supervisor Buster Johnson is the current Vice President of the Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Executive Board. Lake Havasu’s MPO is working towards completing their first Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that will be a guiding factor in the region’s transportation needs for the next 20 years. In completing this process, the MPO released their first Public Outreach Report outlining areas in which community members and the general public addressed their concern for road safety within the MPO area. “Public participation is a vital part of creating the RTP,” Supervisor Johnson stated. “An important part of that is transportation safety, and with this first report we will be able to look at what the public considers dangerous areas and unsafe roadway behaviors in order to create a 5, 10 and 15 year Transportation Safety Plan,” Johnson continued.
Some of the key issues identified in the MPO’s first safety report were the need for more bike lanes. Some comments in the report related to cyclist’s safety included the lack of lane markings, too much traffic congestion, sight obstructions, and a lack of road maintenance that made travel difficult for cyclists. Improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians were among the top responses in the study of what local residents hope to see in future transportation safety planning. “The MPO is responsible for prioritizing transportation initiatives. They do work closely with the county and city; however they are a separate entity. For Lake Havasu City residents, the addition of more bike lanes would be up to the City Council ultimately,” Johnson explained.
The study also focused on unsafe driving behaviors. According to public comment, a distracted driver is the number one cause of accidents in the region. Eighty-three percent of respondents identified texting or talking on cell phones as the number one cause. Speeding was identified by 73% as another major cause of local accidents and failure to signal a turn was identified by 63%. The study showed that the majority of respondents felt that more enforcement of traffic laws could help reduce accidents in the area. While not at the top of the list, some also felt that creating new laws such as a driver license renewal and a ban on cell phone use/texting while driving could also help the issue. “The Arizona legislature in the past has tried to implement a texting while driving ban. The legislation has failed every time. A cell phone ban for school bus drivers was passed in 2012 and the city of Kingman just recently imposed a city-wide ban on cell phone use while driving,” Supervisor Johnson stated.
Aside from a few key issues, overall the public doesn’t seem to have too much concern for the current transportation safety conditions in the region. Sixty-eight percent of respondents felt that the roads in the area were safe or very safe and only 32% indicated they felt unsafe or very unsafe. The LHMPO is comprised of approximately 100 square miles and includes all areas within the Lake Havasu City limits, the Mohave County area north of the City limits known as Desert Hills, Havasu Gardens, Crystal Beach and the Mohave County area south of the City known as Horizon Six.
For any interested citizen still looking to comment on the region’s road safety, they can do so by clicking this link: http://www.lhmpo.org/LHMPO/studies/strategic-transportation-safety-plan
The MPO’s first Public Outreach Safety Report can be read in its entirety by clicking here: http://www.lhmpo.org/LHMPO/docs/default-source/studies/strategic-transportation-safety-plan-public-outreach-report-11-20-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=0