Circulate San Diego working to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/29/20 - 07:30 AM | 1793 views | 5 5 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Maya Rosas, policy director for Circulate San Diego.
Maya Rosas, policy director for Circulate San Diego.
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Circulate San Diego recently released 2019 collision data showing 44 people traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or vehicle died last year within the San Diego City limits.

That was 14 fewer fatalities than the year before in 2018. However, 2019 still had more fatalities than two years prior in 2017, which shows Vision Zero’s goal of entirely eliminating all traffic fatalities remains a long way off.

Circulate San Diego is a regional grassroots organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to live, work, learn and play.

Vision Zero is a data-driven approach to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries on roadways by increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility. Vision Zero’s focus includes reducing speed limits, redesigning streets to make them more accessible and raising awareness of unsafe activities.

"No one should have to risk losing their life while walking, bicycling, or driving," said Maya Rosas, policy director for Circulate San Diego. “To save lives and prevent collisions, the City must continue to prioritize funding for Vision Zero.”

Half of the 2019 fatalities were pedestrians, according to collision data compiled by Circulate San Diego from data released monthly to the City’s new Mobility Board.  

The 22 pedestrian fatalities are a reduction from 34 in 2018. However, that is still more than the 17 pedestrians killed in 2017. Also, five bicyclists died in 2019, after two years in a row with zero bicyclist fatalities in the City.

On Circulate’s 2018 list of the 15 most problematic intersections, a total of seven — Mission Boulevard and Felspar, and Olney Street and Grand Avenue in PB, Pearl Street and Fay Avenue in La Jolla, W. Point Loma Boulevard and Rue Dorleans in Midway and14th Street and Broadway, University Avenue and 32nd Street and Market Street and 30th Street in Uptown/Downtown — are in areas covered by San Diego Community Newspaper Group.

“These were the most dangerous intersections for which we were asking for improvements in 2018,” said Rojas.

“I don't have recently compiled intersection data with those most dangerous intersections. We didn't come up with a new list in 2019 because the mayor committed to fixing 300 intersections.”

A full list of 2019 serious injury and fatalities data is available online.

Of the 200-plus collisions at problematic intersections that occurred citywide last year, more than 20 were in the Peninsula, known for its limited access and growing gridlock.

Point Lomans reacted to the recent collision data. 

Amy Stark, assistant manager at The Orchard Apartments at 4040 Hancock St., pinpointed several troublesome traffic spots in her Midway neighborhood including:

Sports Arena/Midway/West Point Loma Boulevard corner;

The bike lane on Sports Arena; and West Point Loma Boulevard heading to/from OB (new bike lanes and loss of car lane).

Stark characterized Sports Arena/Midway/West Point Loma Boulevard as “dangerous,” noting The Orchard seniors have been hit several times there in the last few years. “It is especially treacherous for mobility devices because riders sit low to the ground and are harder to see,” said Stark. 

Stark argued new bike lanes on West Point Loma Boulevard to and from OB is also a safety issue.  “With the new bike lane and loss of a driving lane, bikes come in and out between parked cars, which seems dangerous,” she said. “The whole stretch seems poorly designed and will bottleneck even more on summer weekends (beach traffic) and rush hour on weekdays.” 

Of the bike-lane issue raised, Rosas of Circulate San Diego said, “There is no data that I am aware of that shows any negative safety or traffic impact of adding bike lanes. … In Downtown, the newly installed protected bike lanes don't seem to have any impact on traffic or safety, besides making it more comfortable for bicyclists and scooter riders to ride.”

Concerning the introduction of bike lanes on W. Point Loma Boulevard, lifelong Point Loman Robert Tripp Jackson noted, “There has been a ‘learning curve’ on the changes set forth. This may create confusion when a pedestrian, bike rider or one in a car needs to determine how to share, navigate or become familiar with the new lanes.” 

Point Loman Don Sevrens praised Peninsula Community Planning Board member Brad Herrin for “doing a great job of identifying unsafe intersections and forwarding them to the city for study or corrective action. That’s a great start.”

But, added Sevrens, “What is missing is even token enforcement. … Speed limits or parking limits, without any enforcement, are meaningless.”

Moving forward, Rosas said funding is the top priority to achieve the changes needed to make Vision Zero’s goal of eliminating traffic fatalities a reality.

“We urge the mayor to increase funding for life-saving Vision Zero projects in the upcoming proposed budget,” said Rosas. “No loss of life on San Diego streets is acceptable and we can prevent traffic fatalities by funding more safe streets projects, improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure during routine resurfacing projects, and educating San Diegans to choose to be safe when getting around San Diego.”  

 

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