Laveen residents concerned over accidents at busy intersection

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- It keeps happening on Southern and 39th Avenues in the Laveen area of Phoenix, as pedestrians trying to cross busy streets are hit by traffic flying by. Now, neighbors say they have had enough, and want the city to make some life-saving improvements to the intersection.

There's already an attempt to get people to slow down driving through, with a sign that shows how fast a driver is going. Neighbors, however, say that's just a start, and they either want a crosswalk with flashing red lights to stop traffic, or a stoplight at this intersection.

On December 22, 60-year-old Manuel Villaverde was stuck and killed. His little brother, Steve, takes care of his memorial where it happened, 39th Avenue and Southern.

"My brother is right over here. I just came by this morning and lit a candle for him because he is a runner. So my brother is right here on this side. He happened to be here or here. They hit him and dragged him that way," said Steve. "He was trying to get across the street. Cars flying by on both sides of the intersection."

It's not the first time it's happened at 39th and Southern. The traffic goes fast, and there's no crosswalk or traffic light. Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski said traffic engineers are looking at a crosswalk with red lights, as well as more street lights. He promises "we will actively work with the community to get this done."

To Steve, it's a top priority.

"We need a crosswalk or a light. We need something done," said Steve. "How many more lives are we going to lose?"

There will be a public hearing to deal with safety. It is scheduled for Thursday, January 24 at Maurice Cash Elementary School, near 39th Avenue and Roeser.