An Update on San Diego’s Most Dangerous Intersections

Crossing the street is one of the most dangerous activities a person does every day. That’s why Circulate San Diego has been working with the City of San Diego to adopt and implement a Vision Zero strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.

In February, 2017, Circulate San Diego released a list of the Fatal Fifteen, the most dangerous intersections in the City of San Diego. Shortly after, the City Auditor released the Pedestrian Safety Performance Audit, which included a list of 15 dangerous intersections. Circulate’s Fatal Fifteen intersections had the highest collision rates in the City, whereas the City Auditor’s list included the intersections with the highest collisions and which were also lacking in three basic improvements: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and countdown audible signals. These lists had some overlap but were mostly different, resulting in 26 intersections across the two lists. Circulate reviewed a tracking table from the City for both lists of intersections, which includes valuable information such as recommended improvements, the status of those improvements, and the cost. It shows that the City has made progress by installing improvements at many of these intersections but that there is still more work that needs to be done to save lives.

1. Many intersections have been improved.

Circulate San Diego is thankful for and encouraged by the progress the City has made to install improvements to the City’s most dangerous intersections. Below, we have highlighted two intersections that show the City’s progress:

University Avenue and Menlo Avenue

University Avenue and Menlo is a Fatal Fifteen intersection on a Vision Zero corridor in City Heights. At this unsignalized intersection, on a four-lane major corridor, the City added a pedestrian refuge, repainted a continental crosswalk, and added a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon.

 

Before

 

After

Paradise Valley Road & Deep Dell Road

Paradise Valley Road and Deep Dell Road is perhaps the most dangerous intersection in the City of San Diego. According to data provided by the City, It is one of the top five locations with the most fatal or severe pedestrian crashes and is one of Circulate San Diego’s Fatal Fifteen. The City identified 10 projects to improve this intersection, including installing a red curb, upgrading pedestrian ramps, and adding high visibility crosswalks (pictured). Seven out of 10 improvements have been funded and completed.  

 

                Before

 

                After

2. Improvements are still needed at dangerous intersections.

While the progress on many of the Fatal Fifteen intersections represents an improvement, numerous projects remain unfunded even though the City has identified those projects as integral to improve the safety of dangerous intersections. Of the Fatal Fifteen intersections, all are partially or completely funded for at least some improvements. Of the 15 intersections identified by the pedestrian audit, eight intersections contain at least one recommended improvement currently lacking funding. Of those eight intersections, we have highlighted below two that call for serious improvements.

Cass Street & Garnet Avenue

The City identified this intersection in Pacific Beach as one of its top 15 priorities for installing improvements. The City has stipulated seven recommended improvements, yet only four have been funded and completed: installing pedestrian countdown timers, high visibility crosswalks, audible pedestrian signals, and Left Turn Yield signs. The City’s recommendations of installing “needed accessibility improvements,” upgrading 8 inch signal indications to 12 inch, and updating street lights to latest standard LED lack funding. The City puts the cost of the three unfunded recommendations at $68,500.

 

                Before

 

                After

Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue

Populated by locals and tourists and located in the heart of Pacific Beach, this intersection is also one of the City’s most dangerous. Circulate San Diego designated Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue as a Fatal Fifteen intersection and the City placed this intersection on its top 15 list for intersection improvements. In order to improve the safety of this intersection, the City made six recommendations: 1) install continental crosswalks; 2) install pedestrian countdown timers; 3) install audible pedestrian countdown timers; 4) install needed accessibility improvements; 5) install Left Turn Yield signs; and 6) upgrade street lighting. The City has installed continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, audible pedestrian countdown timers, and Left Turn Yield signs; however, installing needed accessibility improvements and upgrading street lighting remain unfunded. According to the City, completing the rest of the recommended improvements would cost only $14,500.

 

                Before

 

                After

The City has made great strides to install continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, red curbs, and/or left turn yield signs on most of the 26 (the combination of both lists of most dangerous intersections) intersections where those improvements were needed. Based on the data from the City on high pedestrian crash locations, the City has been proactive by installing these and other low-cost improvements.  Unfortuantely, the more costly recommended improvements such as upgrading street lighting and accessibility improvements frequently lack programmed funding.

Since the City has been proactive in implementing numerous, low-cost improvements and financing others, 16 of the 26 dangerous intersections have all their recommended improvements either completed or funded for implementation by the City. However, crucial improvements for the remaining intersections have been placed on the unfunded needs list.

The following table lists the names of the 26 dangerous intersections and the recommended improvements yet to be funded. The Fatal Fifteen intersections are in bold while the City’s top 15 intersections are in italics, and the four intersections that overlap are in bold and italic.

Name of Intersection

Council District

Listed Estimated Cost ($)

Recommended Intersection Improvements that Currently Lack Funding

Mission Blvd & Garnet Av

2

14,500

Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade street lighting

Palm (SB) Av & 16th (SB) St*

8

0

N/A

Paradise Valley Rd & Deep Dell Rd

4

14,356

Upgrade street lighting, install 2 signal heads

University Av & Marlborough Av

9

0

All improvements funded or completed

4th Av & B St

3

0

All improvements funded or completed**

5th Av & B St

3

0

All improvements funded or completed**

6th Av & Broadway

3

0

All improvements funded or completed**

Broadway & 5th Av

3

0

All improvements funded or completed**

Coronado (SB) Av & Thermal Av

8

0

All improvements funded or completed**

El Cajon Bl & 36th St

3

0

All improvements funded or completed

Euclid Av & Naranja St

4

0

All improvements funded or completed

University Av & 52nd St

9

0

All improvements funded or completed**

University Av & Fairmount Av

9

0

All improvements funded or completed

University Av & Menlo Av

9

0

All improvements funded or completed

University Av & Park Bl

3

0

All improvements funded or completed**

1st Av & A St

3

61,000

Develop project scope for pop-out on northwest corner

30th St & North Park Wy

3

2,500

Upgrade lighting to LED

Cass St & Garnet Av

2

68,500

Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade 8'' signal indications to 12'', update street lights to latest standard LED

Cesar E Chavez PY & Logan Av*

8

0

N/A

G St & 6th Av

3

0

All improvements funded or completed

Ingraham St & La Playa Av

2

2,500

Upgrade street lights to latest standard LED

La Jolla Village Dr & I-5 Off-Ramp*

1

0

N/A

Ocean View Bl & 32nd St

8

0

All improvements funded or completed

Robinson Av & 6th Av

3

11,600

Install needed accessibility improvements

University Av & 30th St

3

0

All improvements funded or completed

University Av & Vermont St.

3

11,600

Install needed accessibility improvements

Total

 

$186,556

 
* CalTrans jurisdiction
** Listed Recommendation is to “Evaluate for audible pedestrian signals”

As shown in the table, the total amount of funding required to implement all the currently unfunded, recommended improvements is $186,556, according to the City’s estimates. The City of San Diego has made many intersections safer by implementing infrastructure improvements that Circulate San Diego advocated for: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and audible pedestrian signals. Still, now is the time to prioritize pedestrian safety at intersections where lives are at risk, and where safety improvements have already been identified.

This update is funded by the Focus Cities California Program. Focus Cities California is a program of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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