Contact: Kathleen Ferrier
619-544-9255, x. 301
SAN DIEGO (September 28, 2015) --- After a record breaking year, traffic violence in San Diego is not slowing down. Four pedestrians were hit by cars in the City just in the last five days leaving three of the walkers dead. The week prior, three pedestrians were seriously injured. That same week, a beloved P.E. teacher at Birney Elementary was hit while bicycling on Clairemont Mesa Drive. In many of these crashes, the walker was hit while in the crosswalk. The crash involving the bicyclist was a hit and run. In just two weeks, that’s a total of eight serious deaths and injuries for people walking and biking in the City.
Even for an organization like Circulate San Diego who has been monitoring the rise in traffic injuries and death in recent months, these numbers are alarming. Three of the seven pedestrian crashes involved older adults, folks over the age of 60, some of our most vulnerable members of society. One involved two boys ages 14 and 16.
Circulate San Diego has asked City leaders to support a strategy called Vision Zero, to set a goal to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Diego by 2025. On September 16, Circulate San Diego presented its Vision Zero initiative to the City’s Infrastructure Committee and received unanimous approval of a Vision Zero resolution. Adoption of the resolution recognizes the scale of traffic violence in the City of San Diego and will launch a Citywide Vision Zero Task Force whose mission is to create a Vision Zero strategy. The resolution will go to the larger City Council in October.
Vision Zero is a departure from previous strategies to address traffic safety in that it one, assumes traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable and two, that collaboration among a variety of disciplines such as traffic engineering, police, public health, and advocacy organizations can work to reduce and eliminate deaths over time. Speed reduction, education and enforcement are key components to the strategy. It’s a systems approach to rethinking safety on our streets, especially as our population continues to grow.
Jim Stone, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, said: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to these victims’ families. We are distressed at the alarming increase of these incidents, especially as they occur time and time again on the same corridors, like El Cajon Boulevard. This cannot go on. No loss of life is acceptable.”
Last year motor vehicles claimed the life of at least 22 pedestrians and another 500 were seriously injured in the City of San Diego.
Vision Zero in San Diego is supported by a coalition of leading transportation, business and community based organizations and the thousands of members they represent. A similar strategy has been implemented in cities around the country, including New York City, where officials reported a 13 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities in the one year since the program began.
Circulate San Diego is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to move, work, learn, and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth.
Vision Zero is headed to full Council after the Infrastructure Committee voted unanimously last week to support a resolution that will create an action plan outlining how to reduce traffic related deaths and serious injuries in San Diego to zero by 2025. Committee Chair and Councilman Mark Kersey said, “Implementing the Vision Zero framework, in coordination with the City’s Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan, is essential to ensuring our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes are as safe as possible”. Read more
This approval comes on the heels of San Diego Unified School District’s unanimous approval of a similar resolution, to support safe streets in the City and especially around schools.
Circulate San Diego and the Climate Action Campaign published a report "New Climate for Transportation," detailing the transportation outcomes compelled by the City of San Diego's Climate Action Plan.
Read the report online here.
The City of San Diego’s proposed Climate Action Plan commits the City to change the way people get to work. Not only is transportation important for economic development, lifestyle, and social equity, it is a crucial component to reducing the risks from climate change.
The purpose of the CAP is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the City of San Diego and to protect our quality of life.
Some of the mobility strategies outlined in the CAP must be implemented at the regional level by SANDAG—not by the City alone. However, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, SANDAG's long range transportation plan, projects transit, walking, and bicycling levels far smaller in the City of San Diego than what is called for by the CAP.Read more
After comments from the region’s local planning directors and Circulate San Diego, SANDAG has revised its Regional TOD Strategy to include Key Early Actions. The Actions are meant to strengthen the commitment by SANDAG to promote Transit Oriented Development in the region.
The draft strategy released by SANDAG earlier this summer outlined numerous recommendations, but no actionable items. Instead, recommendations called on SANDAG to continue work already underway and consider exploring additional tactics.
Circulate expressed concern about the lack of commitment to TOD in part because development of the draft strategy did not represent good faith to SANDAG’s 2011 commitment to prepare a TOD Policy.Read more
This year, 14 people have died while walking in San Diego. This was the total number of deaths last year, the highest rate in a decade, and we still have four months remaining. Just last week two people walking were injured with life threatening injuries, and a third died. Earlier this week, a bicyclist was seriously injured in North Park. He is in the hospital in critical condition.Read more
The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them. -- Project for Public Places
Kids and families at Hamilton Elementary will benefit from safe street improvements planned by the City.
With recent approval from the City Heights Area Planning Committee (CHAPC), the City of San Diego will soon “rightsize” Fairmount Avenue and create a safer environment for City Heights residents and especially kids and families at Hamilton Elementary School which fronts the corridor. The ‘traffic safety improvement’ project will paint new buffered bike lanes and crosswalks on a 1-mile stretch of Fairmount south of University Avenue, between Redwood Street and Home Avenue. The improvements are happening thanks to a road diet along the corridor which will remove one travel lane in each direction, and make room for turning pockets and a new bike lane with dual-sided painted buffers.
Roots in the Community
Before you think, “Hey, the community won’t like this” - think again.” In its presentation to the CHAPC, City staff referenced a 2009 Safe Routes to School project report detailing parents’ concerns about crossing Fairmount Avenue due to high speeds and wide crossing distances. The report was completed by WalkSanDiego (one of Circulate SD’s predecessor organizations) and the City Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) after multiple workshops with parents at Hamilton Elementary. New high visibility crosswalks will be painted in front of the school along with curb extensions or pop-outs to help calm traffic speeds and make it safer for families to cross the street. The City is completing the project as part of a repaving effort along Fairmount.
Randy Van Vleck, Active Transportation Manager for the City Heights CDC, was at the CHAPC meeting to support the project. He says, “The buffered bike lanes, road diet, turning pockets, and pop-outs will make Fairmount Avenue a safer street for all people, especially youth who walk, skate, and bike to Hamilton Elementary School and Monroe Clark Middle School. We thank the City staff for moving forward with these recommendations which were based on community input and we thank the City Heights Area Planning Committee for their support.”
This is exactly the type of project the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition has been talking about, too, when it calls for the City to “Repave, repurpose”. Andy Hanshaw, Director of the Coalition stated, “It’s so rewarding to see the results of advocacy in action where community members come together with local government to create solutions to improve safety and improve mobility and access; in this case at Hamilton Middle School. Our thanks to all of the concerned parents and community advocates who made this “resurface, repurpose” project happen.”
According to staff, more of these ‘road diets’ will be rolling out in the future. This is a good thing for safety and we applaud the City’s efforts. It's one more necessary step towards #VisionZero.
Policy letter: Application of Public Utilities Code to Ridesharing by Transportation Network Companies
Letter to the California Public Utilities Commission to ensure that the benefits of shared rides like Lyft Line and Uber Pool are allowed to continue, signed by Circulate San Diego, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Environmental Defense Fund, SPUR, Greenbelt Alliance, Southern CA Association of Governments, Planning and Conservation League Foundation, Climate Resolve, Coalition for Clean Air, SF Transit Riders, Caltrain, and TransForm. [PDF]
We all like to be recognized for a job well done, right? I’m writing to ask for your help in recognizing the people and projects in the San Diego region that are improving our quality of life by advancing forward-thinking multi-modal transportation choices, better connectivity, and vibrant, healthy communities.
Our Momentum Awards have been created to shine a light on efforts to promote excellent mobility choices, great neighborhoods, connected communities, and sustainable development. How can you help?
Nominate a person, city, organization, or project so that we can honor their accomplishments and raise awareness of the great work that is making the San Diego region a better place to live, work, learn, and play. The nomination process is easy. To download the one-page nomination form, please click here. Nominations are due by 5:00 pm on September 14, 2015.
On Wednesday, October 21 the winners will be announced at our 2015 Momentum Awards Gala and Reception. We hope you will join us that evening to celebrate the winners and the nominees. For tickets, please click here.
Thanks for your ongoing support. I hope to see you at our Momentum Awards celebration on October 21!