FAQ - SR 89 Yarnell (RSA)

FAQ - SR 89 Yarnell (RSA)

SR 89 Yarnell Road Safety Assessment


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a road safety assessment (RSA)?

A road safety assessment (RSA) is a formal safety examination of an existing (or future) state, tribal or local roadway by an multidisciplinary team of experienced traffic safety engineers and other specialists.

  • The goal of ADOT’s RSA team is to answer the following questions:
  • What elements of the roadway may present a safety concern or potential safety issue? What opportunities exist to eliminate or mitigate identified safety concerns?

Once the assessment is completed, a formal RSA report is created that includes the findings and recommendations. The recommendations typically include both near-term recommendations that can be implemented relatively easily without seeking additional project funding, as well as recommendations for future projects that may need new funding to implement.

What were the major findings of the RSA that was recently conducted on the two-mile section of State Route 89 in Yarnell (mileposts 276-278)?

As part of the assessment, the RSA team reviewed the crash history on the section of roadway being studied. The five-year crash history of SR 89 in Yarnell (2017-2021) showed a total of 23 crashes with three injuries and two possible injuries. Of the 23 crashes:

  • 16 involved a single-vehicle only.
  • 5 were rear-end crashes.
  • The crashes equally occurred during both daytime and nighttime hours.
  • 2022 crash data was not complete at the time of the data analysis and is still being compiled and verified.

In addition to the 2017-2021 crash history, the RSA team conducted field observations on SR 89 in Yarnell. The following are the observations collected from the on-site field visits:

  • Pedestrians walk across the highway at different locations to get to various businesses or to their vehicles parked along the road.
  • While visibility is good along this section of SR 89 in Yarnell, vehicles parked near the street corners can impact a driver’s ability to see pedestrians crossing the highway.
  • Drivers regularly stop their vehicles in front of the Yarnell Post Office to drop-off mail or to drop off passengers to pick up mail.
  • Some drivers pass other vehicles in the four-lane section of the road.
  • Drivers traveling in the outside lanes are relatively close to parked vehicles.

What were the results of the Yarnell community survey summary that ADOT administered last fall?

ADOT conducted a community survey in October 2022 in conjunction with the RSA. The purpose of the survey was to provide area residents and others the opportunity to share their concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety on SR 89 with the RSA team. More than 150 residents completed the survey, which was available online and in paper form at the Yarnell Public Library and Yarnell Regional Community Center. The following is a summary of the survey results:

  • The top two community concerns as indicated through the survey are: motorists driving faster than the posted speed limit and crossing the roadway as a pedestrian, bicyclist or wheelchair user.
  • Other concerns included challenges with drivers turning onto or from the highway, drivers passing other drivers and pedestrian visibility due to on-street parking.
  • Regarding specific locations of concern, survey respondents identified the post office location as the #1 location for traffic safety.
  • When asked to provide comments for the RSA team to consider, increasing speed enforcement was the top comment, followed by installing crosswalks and new signage.

What are the RSA team recommendations to improve pedestrian and driver safety through Yarnell?

One of the most significant recommendations is to reduce the four-lane section of SR 89 to a three-lane configuration with one travel lane in each direction and a center left-turn lane. Restriping SR 89 from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction with a center left-turn lane will eliminate passing and help keep motorists driving at the posted speed limit. Other recommendations include:

  • Restriping both sides of the highway to include a bike lane/buffer between pedestrians and oncoming traffic, as well as provide more space between through traffic and vehicles parked along the roadway.
  • Removing a limited number of parking spaces at street corners along SR 89 to improve visibility for both drivers and pedestrians wanting to cross the highway.
  • Installing “pedestrian curb extensions” at two locations along SR 89 to help pedestrians crossing the roadway.
    • Curb extensions significantly improve pedestrian crossings by reducing the pedestrian crossing distance, improving the ability of pedestrians and drivers to see each other and reducing the time that pedestrians are in the roadway.
  • Installing “pedestrian refuge islands,” which are medians with a refuge area intended to help protect pedestrians crossing a multi-lane roadway.
    • Refuge islands at a mid-block or intersection location allows pedestrians to focus on crossing one direction of traffic at a time and give them a place to wait for an adequate gap in oncoming traffic before finishing the second phase of crossing the road.

The pedestrian curb extensions and refuge islands are recommended to be installed together.

How will reducing the travel lanes to one lane in each direction enhance safety for both drivers and pedestrians?

Having one travel lane in each direction through the community of Yarnell eliminates unsafe lane changes (passing) and large differences in travel speeds between vehicles, which make it more difficult for pedestrians and drivers to gauge when it is safe to cross SR 89. This will make it easier for pedestrians to cross as they only have to deal with one lane and direction of travel at a time when crossing SR 89.

Why didn’t the RSA recommend marked crosswalks or traffic signals?

The assessment determined that traffic volumes along SR 89 in Yarnell do not warrant a traffic signal.

For pedestrian safety reasons, ADOT does not place marked crosswalks at uncontrolled intersections, which is an intersection without traffic signals or traffic control signs such as stop signs. A marked crosswalk at an uncontrolled intersection or mid-block can create a false sense of security for pedestrians crossing the road. As a result, the recommendation is to create simplified, shorter crossing sections at a few points along the corridor with pedestrian curb extensions and refuge islands in the median.

Why is ADOT recommending reducing on-street parking along the highway? How many parking spaces will be removed?

The main concern shared by ADOT’s RSA team and Yarnell community members is to improve visibility for both pedestrians and drivers. We both want pedestrians to be able to clearly see down the road for oncoming traffic while safely on the sidewalk before crossing. Drivers need to also have a clear view of pedestrians on the street corners ready to cross.

While ADOT recommends removing some parking spaces, there are still factors for traffic engineers to consider regarding how many spaces and which specific spaces will be removed. These factors include whether SR 89 will be re-striped into a three-lane roadway with a center turn lane or remain a four-lane highway.

When can we expect these safety improvements to be made?

ADOT is planning to re-stripe the two-mile segment of SR 89 in Yarnell (roughly between mileposts 276-278) to the three-lane configuration by the end of this year. For other improvements, such as the pedestrian curb extensions and median pedestrian islands, a funding source will need to be identified first in order to determine when those improvements can be made

What safety improvements has ADOT already implemented along this section of SR 89?

ADOT recently installed new speed-limit reduction warning signs, additional speed limit signs and pedestrian crossing warning signs on each side of the highway approaching Yarnell. The additional signage (twice the number of signs than before) will simplify and clarify the speed limit through Yarnell and alert drivers of increased pedestrian activity through improved signage.

How can I talk to the RSA team members about the safety measures being recommended?

ADOT is hosting a community open house from 4 - 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Yarnell Regional Community Center. The open-house format will provide residents the opportunity to stop by the community center anytime during these hours to ask questions and learn more about the recommendations.

How can I obtain a copy of the complete RSA report and stay up to date with progress on these safety improvements?

ADOT has created a website for the SR 89 Yarnell RSA, where community residents and others can read the full report and an executive summary of the report as well as view other related information. You can visit the website at azdot.gov/Yarnell.