The Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM) is implementing changes to traffic lights across the city to increase safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

These changes began in April, with some traffic lights only allowing drivers to turn left on solid green arrows from 7am to 7pm.

According to Greg Orsini, a traffic engineer at Tucson DTM, the changes were made after the department discovered an elevated number of crashes at busy intersections with dual red lights.

There would be a left turner who might take a risky maneuver,” Orsini said. “If you cant see, you really shouldnt make that turn. So thats where some those left turn crashes were coming from. They were sight visibility issues. 

Grant and Craycroft is one area being targeted for improvements. The intersection is surrounded by Tucson Medical Center and sees crippling traffic jams daily.

Orsini says that there were 22 left turn-related crashes last year at the intersection.

In addition to Grant and Craycroft, the new traffic light rules will impact:

Houghton Rd. and Mary Ann Cleveland Way Houghton Rd. and Rita Rd. River Rd. and 1st Ave. 22nd St. and Wilmot St. River Rd. and Oracle Rd. Valencia Rd. and Houghton Rd.

Patricia Jimenez is an employee at Hacienda Home Health, located near the corner of Grant and Craycroft. Shes seen firsthand how busy the intersection gets.

We are close to the hospital so theres a lot of traffic,” Jimenez said. “Theres a lot of walking traffic as well.

Jimenez says she occasionally hears ambulances wailing from accidents occurring nearby, often a result of aggressive driving in the area.

People run red lights,” she said. “Theyre just constantly rushing

Last year, Tucson DTM installed the city’s first blue light at Grant and Craycroft to prevent drivers from running red lights.

The blue lights, located underneath the intersection’s traffic light, are activated when the light turns red. This allows law enforcement to see from a distance if a driver runs through a red light.

Red light running is definitely a problem,” Orsini said. “Please, when the light hits red, stay where youre atdont proceed through the intersection. Keep you and the person traveling in the other direction safe.”

After one year, the city will review traffic data to analyze whether the traffic light changes have decreased accidents in the affected intersections.

They will then decide if additional safety measures are needed.