2015 Rise in Traffic Deaths Underscores Need for Quick Action

Jaime Leonen was one of 23 people who died while walking in San Diego last year, and one of 54 people who died in traffic crashes. Circulate San Diego and Vision Zero Coalition partners BikeSD and AARP honored these lives in a press conference Tuesday, February 2 by placing 54 pairs of shoes on the steps of Civic Plaza. The numbers for 2015 represent a 17% increase in deaths for all modes, and a particularly alarming increase of 42% in serious injuries for pedestrians.20160211_074902.jpg

We were honored to have the City Council adopt a resolution last October to support the goal of zero traffic deaths in San Diego by 2025. Since then, Circulate SD has worked with Mayor Faulconer's office and City staff to form a Vision Zero Task Force. Membership on the Task Force involves health professionals, community representatives, business representatives, San Diego Police Department, Transportation and Stormwater staff, and advocates for bicycling and pedestrian safety. The first meeting was convened in January, and the group is creating a 1-year strategy to implement Vision Zero in San Diego.
A draft of the strategy is expected to be completed in April and is organized around engineering of safe streets, education and enforcement.
The timing of this effort is intentional - to coincide with the City's budget cycle to ensure that funds are allocated in the FY2017 budget to implement safety measures that will help save lives in the City. 
The increase in death and serious injury on our streets last year shines a light on the need for action. Friends of Jaime's - present at the press conference - remind us that behind every statistic cited, there is a real person with family and friends who suffer loss. 

Media Advisory: 2015 Deadly Year for Traffic Crashes - Numbers Increase from 2014


Contact: Kathleen Ferrier

2015 Deadly Year for Traffic Crashes – Numbers Increase from 2014

San Diego, California (February 2, 2016) – 2015 was a deadly year for people walking, bicycling, and driving the streets of San Diego. Fifty-four people died on the road last year, a 17% increase from the previous year. Advocates for Vision Zero, a movement to reach zero traffic deaths, will gather at noon to honor lost lives by placing white shoes on the steps of City Hall.

WHEN: 12 Noon, Tuesday, February 2

WHERE: Steps of 1200 Civic Center Plaza

WHAT: Honoring the 54 lives lost in 2015 due to traffic violence, and release of 2015 traffic death data

WHO: Kathleen Ferrier, Director of Advocacy, Circulate San Diego

Samantha Ollinger, Executive Director, BikeSD

Jose Miranda, Nicole Leon, Friends of Jaime Leonen, crash victim

WHY: Vision Zero is a strategy adopted by the City last fall to reach zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries in San Diego by 2025. Members of the Vision Zero coalition will acknowledge the City’s early actions to advance the strategy, and highlight the need for further action to reduce the The City has experienced an alarming increase in traffic deaths, especially among pedestrians, over the past several years. The numbers increased significantly in 2015 for all modes of transportation, including people walking, bicycling, driving, and motorcycling. People walking experienced the biggest increase, with 23 deaths and 54 people seriously injured, 42% higher than 2014. This tragic reality comes on the heels of 2014, the now the second deadliest year in San Diego in a decade.

Vision Zero is supported by a coalition of leading transportation, business, and community based organization. This coalition will release 2015 traffic fatality statistics at the press conference.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Varnell


Circulate San Diego works with some great volunteers and interns throughout the year to create excellent mobility choices and vibrant, healthy neighborhoods in San Diego.

Meet Jim Varnell, one of our awesome volunteers on loan to us from the San Diego Natural History Museum. Jim, volunteers his time as a canyoneer and has been working on the Safe Routes to Nature Project in Otay, which brings students on walks to the Otay Valley Regional Park for an afternoon of safe educational exploration. 


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So You Want to Join Your Community Planning Group?

Below is a guest blog post from Robert Barry, a member of the North Park Community Planning Group. Robert provides some insight about how to serve on a community planning group. You can find more resources on Circulate San Diego’s community planning group resource page.

Remember, community planning groups all elect new members in March, so now is the time to get involved! 

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Letter: Incorporating Affordable Homes and Climate Action Plan Facilities in Rebuild San Diego Measure

Circulate San Diego has signed onto a joint letter with the Climate Action Campaign and the San Diego Housing Federation urging the City to incorporate homes and Climate Action Plan facilities in the proposed Rebuild San Diego measure.

To view the joint letter, download the PDF version here: [PDF]

Circulator- Housing Component, SANDAG Public Input, Vision Zero Press Conference, Recap Blog, Program Spotlight, PedsCount! 2016

Adding a Housing Component to the Infrastructure Measure

Circulate San Diego believes that increasing infrastructure funding is vital to the economic and environmental vitality of the region. The key component to making an infrastructure program work holistically is to dedicate a portion of those funds to affordable homes near public transit. 

Circulate San Diego's Executive Director, Jim Stone, along with the Executive Director of the San Diego Housing Federation, Stephen Russell, co-wrote an editorial for the Voice of San Diego on this topic.

Circulate San Diego also wrote a Policy Letter explaining why any infrastructure measure passed by the City should contain funds for Affordable Homes.


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Letter: Road Widening Not Consistent With CAP, Vision Zero

Circulate San Diego has published a letter today objecting to two road widening measures before the Infrastructure Committee: expanding Mission Bay Drive Bridge from four to six lanes and widening Miramar Road to eight lanes with Class 2 bike lanes.  Widening roads does not achieve safe neighborhoods.  In fact, widening roads throughout the City has led to increased vehicular speeds and contributed to a high number of crashes in the City.  These measures are antithetical to the goals of Vision Zero and the Climate Action Plan and, as such, we ask that the projects be reevaluated.  

To read the entire letter, download the PDF version here: [PDF].

Program Spotlight: Lemon Grove Safe Routes to School


Below is a Program Spotlight Blog from one of Circulate's coolest staff members Juan Ramirez, Program Coordinator. In the blog below, he spotlights just one of the terrific series of projects Circulate has been working on to improve sustainable mobility throughout the San Diego Region.

Circulate San Diego recently completed the Lemon Grove Walks & Wheels to School Program, a 3.5 years Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Federally funded Non-Infrastructure project. The program that implemented SRTS education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering, and evaluation activities in five elementary schools and one middle school, serving over 3,000 students in the City of Lemon Grove.

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Toolkit: Lemon Grove Kids Walk & Roll to School

The “Lemon Grove Kids Walk & Roll to School” is a 3 year (2013-2015) federally funded non-infrastructure
Safe Routes to School program administered by the City of Lemon Grove in partnership with Circulate San
Diego (formerly WalkSanDiego), and the Lemon Grove School District. The purpose of the project is to
achieve the following:
  • Create and implement a comprehensive education and awareness strategy.
  • Encourage and empower more children to walk to school.
  • Increase the number of parents and children choosing active transportation1 to get to and from school.
  • Provide the tools necessary to empower students and parents to feel safe walking and biking in their community.
  • Gather/collect public input used to inform the ongoing community plan update effort.

Recap - Successful Event - How to Join Your Community Planning Group


I am civically minded and wanted to give back to my community.

I realized a way to get more housing in my community was through planning, so I looked into joining my community planning group.

I want to stay in my community and this is a way to contribute my love for the community.

These were some of the experiences shared by four panelists last week on why they joined their community planning group. The event “How to Join Your Community Planning Group” was organized and hosted by Circulate San Diego to encourage more folks to get involved. The evening provided a hearty discussion of benefits from getting involved and advice on how to get started.

For those that could not attend the event, Circulate San Diego maintains a resource page for how members of the public can join their community planning groups.

How to Get Started

Panelists had good advice on how to get started with a community planning group that they shared through Q&A as well as through their personal testimonies.

-         Join a Subcommittee: Several of the planning groups have subcommittees like transportation, urban design, and others. Contact the chair to ask which are available in your community.

-         Get on an email list: It doesn’t get easier than this. Get on the right list to receive emails on meetings and other announcements to become familiar with the issues the planning group is dealing with.

-         Attend meetings to listen: As one of the panelists commented, getting involved in the planning group allows you to learn what people value and why. Attend meetings to hear discussion and determine whether or not you are still interested.

-         Meet with the chair or someone else on the committee: It may seem overwhelming to join and participate, but find out from people who are active on their planning group what’s really happening. As shared by one of the panelists, meeting with folks already involved and talking can also help develop mutual respect for one another.

-          In communities where being elected to the community planning group is highly competitive, do all of the things above to develop more relationships in the community and help folks recognize you as an interested person.

Overall, the panelists were very complimentary of their experience touting it helped them join in dialogues about issues they care about, gave them a different perspective, supported personal professional development, and provided personal fulfillment from being involved in the community.

We know there are tough issues discussed by community planning groups. One of the panelists summarized the experience well: Being involved in civic engagement is rewarding – at times frustrating – but this type of discourse in our communities is important.

Last week’s event was co-sponsored by BikeSD, Center on Policy Initiatives, League of Women Voters, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and the San Diego Leadership Alliance.



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