Capture_title.JPG

 

Download the PDF Version of the Report

Associated Content for this Report: Press Release - Executive Summary

Published June 22, 2015


 Vision Zero: Zero Traffic Deaths in San Diego by 2025

Executive SummaryVision_Zero_Cover.jpg


As San Diego’s population grows, more people are walking, bicycling, and driving on our streets. Along with this growth comes the need for a commitment to road safety for all San Diegans.

The City has worked hard to bring safety to San Diego’s neighborhoods by addressing crime, repairing infrastructure, and restoring much needed services. These efforts have proven successful as San Diego has one of the lowest crime rates among other cities of its size.

Every San Diegan deserves to feel safe in his or her neighborhood 

~ Mayor Kevin Faulconer 2015 Budget Priorities

A strategy for neighborhood safety must also include safe streets. Vision Zero is an approach to safety already being implemented in five U.S. cities that delivers a simple, straightforward message: No loss of life is acceptable. Vision Zero focuses on the three Es: Engineering safe street design, Education for community safety, and Enforcement by local police to reach a goal of zero traffic deaths.

Mayor Faulconer prioritized road and infrastructure repair in his public remarks and FY2016 budget, dedicating more than 50 percent of major revenue growth towards streets and neighborhood repair. He also released a bold Climate Action Plan that includes a transformation in transportation among its key strategies. These two initiatives can both be channeled toward saving lives.

The Problem:

On average, one person each day is seriously injured or killed while walking, biking, or driving the streets of the City of San Diego.[1] Traffic collisions are the leading cause of accidental death for children ages zero to 13 in the City.[2]

Fatalities among people driving have continuously fallen since 2005, yet fatalities among people walking have increased or remained static in the same time frame, outpacing population growth.[3]

Tragically, collisions happen repeatedly in the same neighborhoods and on the same corridors like University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard. These corridors connect San Diego’s neighborhoods and are poised to see the most growth and development in the next 10-20 years.[4] People living and walking in low-income neighborhoods experience the greatest risk of being hit; they are 10 times more likely to be hit by a car while walking than residents living elsewhere in San Diego.[5]

The Solution:

As a great city, we owe it to San Diegans to provide street design that emphasizes safety, predictability, and protection from human error, along with broad community education and data-driven enforcement. Studies in San Diego and other cities show these changes will also lead to economic and sustainability gains. Adopting a Vision Zero strategy will guide the City to:

• Recognize the scale of traffic fatalities and serious injuries
• Prioritize funding for safety
• Design forgiving streets, especially for the most vulnerable
• Provide education to promote a culture of traffic safety for everyone on the road
• Employ data-driven enforcement

To reach these goals, we recommend the following actions:

• Create a strategy for funding safe street design
• Reduce dangerous speeding by building traffic calming projects
• Adopt a Complete Streets policy
• Simplify the process to implement neighborhood initiated projects
• Launch an education campaign for safer streets
• Work with San Diego Police Department to increase enforcement of safe street behavior
• Establish a Vision Zero Advisory Committee to guide program implementation

No loss of life is acceptable. That is why the City should adopt an ambitious but attainable goal: To reduce all traffic fatalities to zero by 2025; Vision Zero.

A Vision for Safer Streets

Our streets should be safe, no matter where we go, or how we get there. As San Diego’s population grows, more people are walking, bicycling, and driving on our streets. Along with this growth comes the need for a commitment to safety from all San Diegans.

Our streets should be safe, no matter where we go, or how we get there.

On average, one person each day is seriously injured or killed while walking, biking, or driving the streets of the City of San Diego.[6] Traffic collisions are the leading cause of accidental death for children ages zero to 13 in the City.[7] Older adults, age 60 and up, comprise 29 percent of pedestrian deaths,[8] yet make up only 16 percent of the City’s population.[9] Meanwhile, according to the San Diego Police Department, 2014 had the highest number of deaths on record for people walking in the City in the last 10 years.[10]

Traffic violence is now on par with homicides.

Traffic violence is now on par with homicides. In 2013, 39 homicides took place.[11] In the same year, 34 people walking or bicycling died in collisions, with 82 people dying in all types of traffic collisions.[12] While the homicide rate for 2013 was 2.9 per 100,000, the traffic fatality rate was 4.9 per 100,000.[13] Homicides have dropped continuously with 32 in 2014 (2.4 per 100,000) compared to 26 deaths for people walking and bicycling.

Compared to people in cars, people walking are two times more likely and people biking are 10 times more likely to be involved in a collision, one of the highest rates in California.[14]

These deaths and serious injuries are preventable.

The City has the solutions for safer streets. Mayor Faulconer, with support from City Council, has already proposed more than 20 reforms to the City’s infrastructure program to ensure projects are completed more quickly and efficiently. His initial One San Diego plan includes a Complete Streets approach as a goal to improve the quality of life for families in San Diego neighborhoods.[15] Last year the Mayor released the City’s draft Climate Action Plan outlining goals to have 25 percent of San Diegans walking and bicycling to work by 2035 and another 25 percent of San Diegans taking transit.[16]

The City’s Bicycle Master Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan prioritize 40 and 136 projects, respectively, to improve safety for people bicycling and walking in the City. Numerous other corridor studies, mobility plans, community plan updates, and neighborhood plans call for safe street improvements.[17]

The City can take steps toward Vision Zero by implementing these plans.

No loss of life is acceptable. That is why the City of San Diego should adopt an ambitious but attainable goal: To reduce all traffic fatalities to zero by 2025, Vision Zero.

 A Vision for Safer Streets

Studies across the country and in San Diego enumerate the ability of safe streets to bring economic benefits. One study showed an increase in business sales of 400 percent after bicycle lanes were installed,[18] as well as growth in employment and private investment.[19] Locally, sales tax receipts collected for 97 businesses in the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla found that sales increased 24 percent after improvements were made to increase bicycling and walking safety.[20]

Capture_getting_around_and_dying.JPG

Safe streets also significantly increase the number of people riding bicycles and walking. In San Diego on Fifth Avenue, where a buffered bicycle lane was painted to connect downtown with Hillcrest, the rates of bicycling increased an average of 346 percent since completion, going from fewer than 300 bicyclists per day to over 1,000.[21] More of these transformational projects should be completed.

Some Groups are More at Risk
Traffic fatalities and injuries can happen to San Diegans of all ages and income levels. In the first three months of 2015, residents of Point Loma, Southeastern San Diego, City Heights, and Rancho Bernardo, ranging from seven- months to 80 years in age, were hit and killed by a car while walking.

However, data shows that people of certain age groups and income levels are impacted more frequently. A recent City analysis shows that people living in low-income neighborhoods are 10 times more likely to be hit by a car than residents of other neighborhoods, while older adults experience twice as many collisions as their percentage of population.[22]

San Diegans Want Safe Streets

In 2013, 33 of the City’s community planning groups submitted their top priorities for infrastructure projects. Of the 331 priorities submitted, the most requested types of projects were those that enhance walkability in San Diego.[23] Close behind were projects to improve bicycling safety. The lists were provided in response to a request made by the City’s Public Works Department to gain input on infrastructure needs and priorities.

Capture_community_priorities.JPG

The Cost of Death and Injury
Vision Zero requires funding to build safer streets and provide education and enforcement. But, what is the cost of not making change? The United States Department of Transportation calculated the economic value of a life in 2013 at $9.2 million, regardless of age, income, mode of travel, or any other factor.[24]

Eighty-one people died while walking, biking, and driving the streets of San Diego in 2013, the last year for which data is available.[25] The cost of the 81 deaths in San Diego was approximately $745.2 million with the cost of these deaths borne by governmental agencies, crash victims, and the general public.

Approximately nine percent of motor vehicle crash costs are paid from governmental agencies with three percent of these coming from local government. Private insurers pay 52 percent while crash victims pay about 25 percent. Motorists delayed in traffic, charities, and other parties pay the remaining 14 percent. This means society at large pays for 75 percent of the cost of motor vehicle collisions.[26]

This data translates to a cost of $22.4 million borne by local government in San Diego for the 81 deaths in 2013.[27] This does not include the cost of the injuries that transpired in the same period, nor the cost of human and societal suffering resulting from these preventable collisions.[28]

With an investment of just a fraction of this cost, the City of San Diego can save money for taxpayers and crash victims. More importantly, the City can help save lives.

Vision Zero: A Strategy that Works

Initiated in Sweden in the late 1990s and now spreading across the United States, the message with the Vision Zero strategy is: No loss of life is acceptable - death on the street does not have to be a part of modern life. The strategy integrates “the 3 Es:”

• Engineering safe street design,
• Education and public outreach, and
• Enforcement

Cities worldwide have adopted the comprehensive approach of Vision Zero and have seen crash reductions. In Sweden, fatalities dropped more than 30 percent since its introduction. In New York City, one year after launching a citywide Vision Zero Action Plan, deaths among people walking decreased 26 percent, the lowest on record since 1910.[29]

Capture_US_Cities_with_VZ.JPG

Other cities in the United States are taking note and adopting Vision Zero action plans—most recently, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These cities’ successes help pave the way for San Diego to find its own solutions and get immediate results.

Elected Leadership
Support for safer streets from elected leadership has been a key component for Vision Zero’s success in other cities. In each of these localities, elected officials are announcing their support for Vision Zero and simultaneously releasing a plan for action, in partnership with city police and other city departments.

Elected leadership in San Diego has taken great strides to improve infrastructure. Initial implementation of repaving has made a visible impact in neighborhoods across the City as more bicycle lanes and crosswalks throughout San Diego’s neighborhoods are painted. Quick improvements with paint represent a first step towards Vision Zero in San Diego, but more significant projects and a strategy based on safety should also be implemented.

I'm making street repair the City's top infrastructure priority. We're doubling the amount of street repair we do annually as we tackle head-on what is the number one complaint of San Diegans.

- Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Data Driven Actions and the 3 Es

In addition to leadership, a successful strategy for safer streets relies on good data to highlight where collisions are concentrated and why they occur. Data on the location and causes of collisions in San Diego is readily available. In addition to data collected each year by the San Diego Police Department, San Diego’s Department of Transportation and Stormwater released its draft Citywide Pedestrian Collision Analysis in 2014, analyzing 15 years of data on collisions with people walking,[30] and updated its Bicycle Master Plan in 2013, outlining collision history and projects to make bicycling safer.[31] All this data means the City can take a targeted approach to reach the goal of zero deaths.

Engineering Safer Street Design
Data can and should inform street repair. Collision data gathered by San Francisco’s Department of Health as part of the city’s Vision Zero strategy identified key factors in collisions for people walking such as vehicle speed, drivers’ failure to yield to people walking at intersections, and left turns.[32]

In response, city leaders made a short-term commitment to complete 24 engineering projects in 24 months, as well as a longer term commitment to spend $17 million in city funds over five years to improve safety conditions for people walking in the areas identified by the Department of Health. In a subsequent Vision Zero San Francisco Two- Year Action Strategy, additional actions were included, most notably prioritizing safety treatments along 13 miles of the city’s High Injury Network each year to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety.[33]

Education
Creating safer streets alone cannot eliminate all traffic fatalities if people engage in dangerous behaviors that risk lives. Education can help change dangerous behavior and reduce the risk on the street.

The Nevada Department of Transportation initiated Zero Fatalities Nevada and created high quality public service announcements for radio and television targeting five priorities: seat belts, drunk driving, distracted driving, obeying red traffic lights, and pedestrian safety. The Zero Fatalities Nevada website is easy to use, interactive, and provides infographics, facts, and explains the pertinent laws.[34]

Enforcement
Drivers who receive a traffic citation are less likely to kill or seriously injure someone in a future collision.[35] Heightened police enforcement in New York City was introduced as part of the City’s Vision Zero campaign in tandem with education and awareness campaigns for people who drive and walk. Enforcement was based on data for the cause of collisions, and within one year, the number of traffic fatalities dropped to record levels.

The Solution for San Diego

San Diego’s commitment to Vision Zero can start immediately by strengthening partnerships among agencies and implementing the 3 Es strategy to build on work that is already underway. The City will see results by taking the following recommended actions.

Engineer Safe Street Design

Create a Strategy for Funding Safe Street Design
Vision Zero provides the City with an opportunity to enact infrastructure reforms under the banner of safety and to build infrastructure where it is needed most, for the greatest return.

Circulate San Diego studied 10 years of California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) collision data through the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) online query and map tool, available to the general public. Analysis of this comprehensive data showed that collisions repeatedly happen along the same corridors for people walking and bicycling. These corridors connect San Diego’s communities and are poised to see significant population growth in the next 20 years.

Eight corridors in particular, the Vision Zero Corridors, represent 30 percent of all collisions with people walking and 15 percent of all collisions with people bicycling.[36]

Capture_VZ_Corridors_map.JPG

These corridors are home to where many San Diegans live, work, and play. They include schools, grocery stores, retail, office space, restaurants, entertainment, and housing that have a neighborhood and city-wide draw. They also serve as major thoroughfares between communities, connecting central San Diego and feeding the Region’s highway system.

Capture_growth_comparison.JPGAccording to an analysis conducted by Circulate San Diego using SANDAG’s Series 13 Regional Growth Forecast data,
the half-mile areas surrounding the eight Vision Zero corridors will see on average a 51 percent growth in population by 2030, a net increase of 263,262 people from 2012 levels.

In addition, it is estimated that the Vision Zero Corridors will contain 61 percent of all the expected population growth in the City of San Diego and 25 percent of all growth in the Region.

The Vision Zero Corridors will contain 61 percent of the expected population growth in the City of San Diego and 25 percent of all growth in the Region.

Numerous corridor studies, mobility plans, community plan updates, and neighborhood plans call for safe street improvements on the Vision Zero Corridors. These plans should be put into action.

 

The City’s Bicycle Master Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan prioritize 40 and 136 projects, respectively, to improve safety for people bicycling and walking in the City. The Pedestrian Master Plan, outlines projects in 17 communities with a total estimated cost of $40 million- less than six percent of the cost of traffic fatalities in 2013. Many of these are low cost solutions that can be implemented quickly. The Bicycle Master Plan is a city- wide document and includes projects on five of the eight Vision Zero corridors. As part of Vision Zero, projects from both plans should be constructed.

Capture_ped_master_plan.JPG

Circulate San Diego and its partners recommended a selection of these projects for inclusion  in  the  Fiscal Year 2016 budget in a memo to the Mayor and City Councilmembers.[37]

Implementation of these projects will save lives and prevent serious injuries. Further, their construction will pave the way towards encouraging more people to walk, bicycle, and take transit as outlined in the City’s draft Climate Action Plan.

Reduce Dangerous Automobile Speeding
Good design decreases dangerous speeding and makes streets safer for everyone. Drivers will drive as fast as the street allows. Traffic calming projects include physical changes to the road such as roundabouts, raised crosswalks, and curb extensions to slow dangerous vehicular speeds. The City’s Street Design Manual outlines numerous examples of traffic calming projects that can be used to help make our streets safer.[38]

Implementation of these projects will save lives and prevent serious injuries. Further, their construction will pave the way towards encouraging more people to walk, bicycle, and take transit as outlined in the City’s draft Climate Action Plan.

Capture_what_is_safe_street_design.JPG

Good design decreases dangerous speeding and makes streets  safer  for  everyone.  Drivers  will  drive  as  fast as the street allows. Traffic calming projects include physical changes to the road such as roundabouts, raised crosswalks, and curb extensions to slow dangerous vehicular speeds. The City’s Street Design Manual outlines numerous examples of traffic calming projects that can be used to help make our streets safer.

San Diego has implemented projects, for an entire corridor or a single intersection, to reduce speeding across the City, but high-speed roads still divide many neighborhoods. Recent community plan updates call for traffic calming on Vision Zero corridors like Market Street, Imperial Avenue and Euclid Avenue.

As part of Vision Zero, the City can fund these plans and target additional traffic calming measures for areas near schools, senior centers, parks, and neighborhood shopping districts.

Graphic_3_Vehicle_Speed_and_Risk_of_Fatality.jpg

Studies show that reducing speeds from 50 mph to 35 mph can increase road capacity by shortening the spacing between vehicles.[39] Combining these treatments with ongoing education will make great strides in improving safety.

 

Update Policies to Implement Safe Street Design

Adopt a Complete Streets Policy
The City of San Diego has broad policies in its General Plan outlining the goal to “improve mobility through development of a balanced, multi-modal transportation network.”[40] These policies establish strong building blocks for safer streets in the City. However, they do not provide a clear implementation strategy to construct this network. San Diego should adopt a Complete Streets Policy to institutionalize bicycling and walking improvements as fundamental, not ancillary components of our streets.

A Complete Streets Policy will help the City of San Diego:

(a) Comply with new state legislation for Complete Streets,

(b) Ensure repaving efforts contribute to neighborhood safety and quality of life, and

(c) Reduce congestion and improve safety.

The Complete Streets Act of California was enacted in 2011 and requires cities to include Complete Streets policies in any General Plan update. San Diego’s General Plan was adopted in 2008 before the Complete Streets Act was enacted. Yet, a Complete Streets policy in San Diego can outline measures to improve departmental coordination and offer a more holistic approach to day to day planning and implementation of transportation projects. More than 1,000 cities across the United States have adopted Complete Streets policies. San Diego should, too. The City of San Diego has already initiated an update to the Street Design Manual. This effort provides an opportunity to include a Complete Streets policy.

To facilitate coordination, the City should consider establishing an inter-departmental steering committee between the Mayor’s office and multiple city departments including Transportation and Stormwater, Public Works, Development Services, and Planning, as well as ADA Compliance and Accessibility and Caltrans to oversee coordination.

Widening roads is a short term solution and has detrimental impacts on safety for people not in cars. Widening roads also runs counter to the goals of increasing the percentage of San Diegans who walk, bicycle, or use transit to get to work as called for in the City’s draft Climate Action Plan.

Recent transportation analyses conducted in San Diego for a variety of projects demonstrate the negative impact of a car-centric focus for walkability and bikability. Specifically, the analyses call for significant road widening reaching widths of up to eight lanes, yet these types of roads in our neighborhoods create permanent barriers to developing attractive and walkable communities. Following the State’s lead to analyze impacts with VMT will help to create a better way forward.

Revise Mitigation for Traffic Impacts
In 2013, new state legislation changed how cities analyze transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create multimodal networks, and promote a mix of land uses. SB 743 required the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research (OPR) to write new guidelines to shift the focus of transportation analysis on new projects from driver delay - measured by vehicular Level of Service (LOS) - to a new alternative.

OPR’s Draft Guidelines, released in August 2014, recommended a new analysis specifically through Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of LOS. Under a VMT analysis, projects can mitigate expected increases in driving by building less costly and more environmentally friendly pedestrian and bike infrastructure. Where the use of LOS as a mitigation measure encouraged projects to reduce or eliminate driver delay on roadway facilities, the use of VMT encourages projects to reduce driving and overall traffic.

By focusing solely on (traffic) delay, environmental studies typically require projects to build bigger roads and intersections as mitigation for traffic impacts. Impacts on pedestrian, bicyclists, and transit, for example, have not typically been considered.

California’s shift from LOS to VMT echoes goals outlined in San Diego’s General Plan and draft Climate Action Plan to increase the number of San Diegans walking and biking. Although SB743 allows LOS standards as General Plan policy, when the State finalizes its Guidelines, the City should update its CEQA Significance Determinations Thresholds policy to de-emphasize LOS and introduce VMT.[41] In addition, San Diego can rewrite its policies on traffic impact mitigation to incentivize more walking and biking safety improvement projects. Other cities in California have initiated similar changes from which San Diego can learn.

The City of San Jose pursued an alternative to LOS in 2005 to provide a safe, efficient, and environmentally sensitive transportation system. The new system allowed the City to re-orient existing transportation mitigation fees and make neighborhood improvements defined by the community such as street lighting, landscaping, and biking and walking improvements.

Update the City’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Crossing Policy

2_-_neighborhood_scene_-_USE_ALT.jpgThe City last updated its Comprehensive Pedestrian Crossing Policy in 1990. The purpose of the Policy is to provide a “comprehensive, systematic, and progressive set of guidelines for handling pedestrian crossing needs.”[42] The City’s Transportation and Stormwater Department initiated an update to this policy in 2013 as part of its Comprehensive Pedestrian Safety Study. Based on drafts of the updated policy, the combination of robust research on the cause of collisions and relaxation of prerequisites to paint crosswalks will lead to the implementation of more crosswalks throughout the City. For drivers, this will provide more predictability on where to expect people crossing. For people walking, it will create a stronger understanding of safe places to cross.

Adoption and implementation of this policy will lead to safer streets and help the City achieve a Vision Zero strategy. The policy was recently adopted while this report was being drafted.

Complete the Citywide Sidewalk Assessment and Prioritize Safety
The City approved funding in June 2012 to review the condition of all sidewalks throughout the City, identify locations for new sidewalks, and re-evaluate the existing policy for funding sidewalks. The intent behind the assessment was to quantify the potential cost of improving sidewalks throughout the City, assess risk, and identify funding sources that could pay for improvements.

As part of Vision Zero, the City should take the opportunity to build upon this existing program to prioritize sidewalk improvements in areas where collisions have been concentrated or are deemed unsafe by community members.

Simplify the Process to Implement Neighborhood Initiated Projects
Ideas for small scale neighborhood improvements such as parklets, bike corrals, and intersection murals have generated excitement in San Diego’s communities. “Placemaking” efforts like these have been pursued by local businesses and business improvement districts to create more gathering spaces, beautify the neighborhood, and promote different transportation choices. These are low cost solutions that help improve our streets and generate more walking and bicycling.

As part of Vision Zero, the City should continue its work on creating bike corrals, parklets, and intersection murals in our communities, and also work to streamline the process to make these types of projects easier to implement.

Brand an Urban Trails Network
The Vision Zero Corridors connect some of San Diego’s most historic and popular neighborhoods. Linking the corridors connects San Diego’s neighborhoods and provides an opportunity to build a network of pathways that can be branded and marketed as a unique destination within San Diego.

Photo_1_Indianapolis_Cultural_Trail.jpgIn other cities in the United States like Indianapolis, New York, and Atlanta, similar urban networks have created urban trails to generate substantial economic and placemaking benefits. For example, an 8-mile network in Indianapolis was branded as the city’s Cultural Trail connecting neighborhoods, cultural districts, and entertainment amenities. The project cost $63 million to construct and generated $200 million in development immediately adjacent to the trail. This type of strategy can be piloted in San Diego, initially with low cost improvements and signage to create a brand and later expanded with more substantial investments.

Provide Education and Outreach

Creating safer streets and enforcing the law alone cannot eliminate all traffic fatalities if people engage in dangerous behaviors
 that risk lives. Education can help change behaviors that produce unnecessary risk on the street. Fatalities that result from drunk driving, speeding, road rage, texting, or distracted driving or walking need to be addressed through a multi-faceted plan to engage and educate the public.

rodeo4.jpg

Launch an Education Campaign for Safer Streets
Cities and states across the country have experimented with campaigns to promote greater road safety. In recent years as collisions with people walking have increased across the country, cities have produced videos, billboards, pamphlets, and other material to promote more safety. As campaigns have rolled out, city leaders have participated with their own social media. The City of San Diego can learn from these examples to create its own broad outreach strategy to highlight the goals and strategies of the Vision Zero campaign and to help change the way people behave on our streets.

Messaging should be focused on dangerous behavior and population segments that have been shown to be the most vulnerable. The City can partner with the San Diego Police Department, SANDAG, San Diego Unified School District, and transportation oriented civic groups to promote a culture of traffic safety for everyone on the road.

San_Fran_It_Stops_Here.jpg 

Establish an Inter-Agency Vision Zero Advisory Committee to Guide Program Implementation
The City has a history of establishing task forces and advisory committees to advance or expand new policies and programs. Vision Zero provides an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input and political support for how the City can implement Vision Zero and save millions of dollars each year. The Advisory Committee can be composed of executive members of the City’s Transportation and Stormwater Department, San Diego Police Department, Caltrans, San Diego School District, SANDAG, and non-profit organizations like Circulate San Diego, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and BikeSD.

The duties of this Advisory Committee could be to develop quantifiable goals, timelines, and metrics to implement Vision Zero. The Advisory Committee would provide guidance over a period of several years on the prioritization of projects and enable coordination among the various necessary agencies to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within 10 years.

Enforce Safe Street Behavior

People who walk, bicycle, and drive can usually be guided towards making safe decisions by well-informed street design and traffic engineering. However, some problems can only be addressed with the deterrence that comes from strong enforcement of traffic law. Stronger police enforcement can help to increase awareness of each person’s responsibility for safe behaviors.

Emphasize Safe Behaviors on Vision Zero Corridors
Collisions in San Diego happen repeatedly along the same corridors and provide an opportunity for targeted enforcement by San Diego police officers. Today, police officers are doing some enforcement by issuing tickets to people walking when they cross illegally and to drivers when they fail to yield to people walking in the crosswalk. These efforts should be increased and focused on the streets where collisions are most concentrated. Further, the efforts should be combined with a larger education campaign in coordination with other City departments to reinforce safe behavior and the goal to reach zero deaths.

Increase School Zone Enforcement
Youth are one of the most vulnerable populations for traffic collisions in San Diego. Enforcement at schools and other locations where youth are concentrated should be a priority. The City of San Diego has collaborated with the San Diego Police Department on a variety of Safe Routes to School projects.

Funding to increase these programs in other parts of the City should be sought and implemented, especially in neighborhoods with numerous high crash locations around schools. A data-driven approach in these neighborhoods will allow police to target risky behaviors like distraction, impairment and speeding.

Opportunity for a Regional Vision Zero Strategy
Vision Zero is working throughout the United States. In addition to San Diego, other cities in the region could benefit from adopting this strategy. Whereas people walking and biking account for 15 percent of all trips made in the region, traffic deaths among people walking and biking account for 29 percent, almost double.[43] Two regional cities, El Cajon and National City, have higher pedestrian fatality rates than San Diego.

Thirteen cities in the  San  Diego  region  have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, a Complete Streets policy. These policies are more than words on paper. They provide an opportunity for cities to make a commitment to safer streets for everyone on the road by identifying locations where collisions are concentrated and funding improvements, either through grants or through local dollars. The statewide adjustment to LOS enacted through SB743 requires cities to think differently about how to alleviate dangerous traffic situations resulting from new development and ultimately expands the opportunity for cities to focus on safety.

Conclusion

Now is the time to adopt a Vision Zero strategy for San Diego. The rise in deaths experienced in recent years should not foretell the City’s future. As San Diego’s population continues to grow, it is imperative to prioritize safety on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Because street repair and infrastructure improvements are already a priority, the City can take steps to integrate safety and build on the good work already in motion.

The City has many of the tools to implement a solution. Plans are in place. But elected leadership is needed to launch a coordinated strategy, ensure the right policies guide action, and advance neighborhood investments.

Responding now will not only save lives but also contribute to the economic prosperity of our neighborhoods, answer community priorities, and implement many of the City’s goals already in place.

To reach these goals, we recommend the following actions:2_-_Neighborhood_scene_-_USE.JPG

• Create a strategy for funding safe street design

• Reduce dangerous speeding by building traffic calming projects

• Adopt a Complete Streets policy

• Simplify process to implement neighborhood initiated projects

• Launch an education campaign for safer streets

• Work with San Diego Police Department to increase enforcement of safe street behavior

• Establish a Vision Zero Advisory Committee to guide program implementation

 

  No loss of life is acceptable. That's why San Diego should target an ambitious but attainable goal: Let's reduce all traffic fatalities to zero by 2025, Vision Zero.

Sample Resolution

DRAFT City of San Diego Resolution, Vision Zero

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO TO ADOPT A VISION ZERO PLAN TO REDUCE TRAFFIC FATALITIES TO ZERO IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS

WHEREAS, on average one person each day is seriously injured or killed on the road while walking, biking, or driving the streets of San Diego; and,

WHEREAS, a high percentage of traffic injuries and fatalities involve pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable users;
and,

WHEREAS, traffic fatalities are the leading cause of accidental death among children ages 0 to 13 in the City; and,

WHEREAS, traffic violence for people walking and bicycling is on par with the number of homicides in the City; and,

WHEREAS, the City has adopted numerous studies and plans that outline design concepts to improve safety for people walking and biking on the City’s most dangerous corridors including a Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan; and,

WHEREAS, the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan proposes to achieve 50 percent of commuter mode share for walking, biking, and transit use in transit priority areas by 2035 and safer conditions for walking and biking can help implement this Plan; and,

WHEREAS, the City will increase in population by approximately 30 percent by 2035 and the majority of growth will result from infill development thereby increasing demand for safe walking and bicycling; and,

WHEREAS, communities in San Diego have prioritized infrastructure projects that improve walking and biking safety among other project types as represented by the Community Planning Committee report to Infrastructure Committee in November 2013; and,

WHEREAS, the City incurs costs to respond to lawsuits on the City’s failure to provide safer streets; and,

WHEREAS, restoring infrastructure in the City is a priority of the Council and Mayor; and,

WHEREAS, Vision Zero provides a framework for reducing traffic deaths to zero through a combination of safe engineering measures, education, and enforcement practices; and,

WHEREAS, Vision Zero has been adopted in many cities throughout the country, most notably in New York City which has seen the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities in its first year of implementation since documentation began in 1910; and,

WHEREAS, Circulate San Diego is convening an Advisory Committee to advance Vision Zero goals,

THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the City of San Diego, that it hereby adopts a vision of reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2025 by prioritizing safety within infrastructure projects already underway, and combining with education, and enforcement practices; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Council of the City of San Diego, that it recommends for City staff from the Mayor’s office, Transportation and Stormwater Department, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Unified School District and Caltrans to participate in and attend meetings of Circulate San Diego’s Vision Zero Advisory Committee for a limited time.

Acknowledgements:

Kathleen_Ferrier.jpg

Lead Author: Kathleen Ferrier

Kathleen is the Director of Advocacy for Circulate San Diego where she takes the lead on building public support for active transportation, better transit, and sustainable land use. Her work with communities, city staff, and decision makers promotes policies that help make safe, vibrant neighborhoods the norm. She has authored or co-authored numerous studies, and created the San Diego Regional Walk Scorecard during her tenure with Circu- late San Diego.

 

 

Maya_Rosas.jpg

Contributing Author: Maya Rosas

Maya is Policy Assistant for Circulate San Diego where she helps the Policy team in making San Diego more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly through advocacy and education. She produces the Circulator, Circulate San Diego’s e-newsletter, conducts research for various reports including the Regional Walk Scorecard, and organizes events such as Walk to Work Day. 

 

Special Thanks To:

AARP:

AARP.png

Sponsorship of this report.

Circulate San Diego Staff, Boardmembers, and Interns:

Jim Stone and Colin Parent for editing, Terra King and Brian Gaze for graphic help and design. Circulate Boardmember Stephen Haase for editing. Circulate interns Claudia Chow, Kimberly Bunnell, and Owen Ingalls for editing and contributing research. 

Michael Baker International: 

Hilary Potter for pro bono design assistance.

_________________________________________________________________________

[1] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[2] San Diego County Medical Examiner, 2013 Annual Report, (2013), http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/me/docs/SDME_Annual_Report_2013.pdf.

[3] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[4] San Diego Association of Governments, Series 13 Regional Growth Forecast, 2014.

[5] City of San Diego, Comprehensive Pedestrian Collision Analysis, (April 28, 2014), http://www.sandiego.gov/tsw/pdf/pedestriansafetystudy/pedcollisionanalysis.pdf.

[6] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[7] San Diego County Medical Examiner, 2013 Annual Report, (2013), http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/me/docs/SDME_Annual_Report_2013.pdf.

[8] Id.

[9] San Diego Association of Governments, Demographic and SocioEconomic Estimates, San Diego, (January 24, 2014), http://profile-warehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/city14est.pdf.

[10] San Diego Police Department. (February, 3, 2015). E-mail correspondence.

[11] San Diego Union Tribune, SD Murder Rate Still Lowest of Big Cities, (March 9, 2015), http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/07/homicide-murder-rate-lowest-2014/3/?#article-copy.

[12] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[13] United States Census Bureau, Population Estimates, 2013, http://www.census.gov/popest/data/index.html.

[14] National Household Travel Survey, 2010, E-mail correspondence; UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[15] City of San Diego, Mayor Kevin J. Faulconer, One San Diego, http://www.sandiego.gov/mayor/onesandiego/index.shtml.

[16] City of San Diego, Draft Climate Action Plan, (February 2014), http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/genplan/cap/pdf/sd_working_cap_020714.pdf.

[17] [18] City of San Diego, Bicycle Master Plan, (December 2013), http:// www.sandiego.gov/planning/programs/transportation/mobility/bicycleplan.shtml; City of San Diego, Pedestrian Master Plan, (December 2006), http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/programs/ transportation/mobility/pedestrian.shtml.

[19] Smart Growth America, Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, (March 2015), http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/safer-streets-stronger-economies.pdf.

[20] Circulate San Diego, Economic Benefits of Walkability, La Jolla Case Study, (2011), http://www.circulatesd.org/download_file/view/283/130.

[21] BikeSD, In Uptown: Bike Traffic on 4th and 5th Avenues up by an average of 346% Since 2012, (April 2, 2015), http://bikesd.org/2015/04/in-uptown-bike-traffic-on-fourth-and-fifth-avenues-up-by-an-average-of-71-since-2012.

[22] City of San Diego, Comprehensive Pedestrian Collision Analysis, (April 28, 2014), http://www.sandiego.gov/tsw/pdf/pedestriansafetystudy/pedcollisionanalysis.pdf.

[23] City of San Diego, Infrastructure Committee, Presentation to City of San Diego Infrastructure Committee by Community Planners Committee, (November 18, 2013), http://docs.sandiego.gov/council-comm_agendas_attach/ 2013/Infra_131118_5ppt.pdf.

[24] U.S. Department of Transportation, Guidance on Treatment of the Economic Value of a Statistical Life in U.S. Department of Transportation Analyses - 2014 Adjustment, (June 13, 2014), http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/guidance-treatment-economic-value-statistical-life.

[25] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[26] Lawrence Blincoe, et al, The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010, U.S. Department of Transportation, (May 2014), http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/812013.pdf.

[27] Id.

[28] This cost is under-representative of the true cost because collision data available does not provide severity of injury using the same scale detailed above.

[29] New York Daily News, Making NYC Still Safer for Pedestrians, (January 2, 2015), http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/janette- sadik-khan-making-nyc-safer-pedestrians-article-1.2062332.

[30] City of San Diego, Citywide Pedestrian Collision Analysis, (April 28, 2014), http://www.sandiego.gov/tsw/projects/pedestriansafetystudy.shtml.

[31] City of San Diego, Bicycle Master Plan, (December 2013), http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/programs/transportation/mobility/ bicycleplan.shtml.

[32] City of San Francisco, WalkFirst, (March 2014), http://walkfirst.sfplanning.org/index.php/home/streets.

[33] City of San Francisco, Vision Zero San Francisco Two-Year Action Strategy, (February 2013), http://visionzerosf.org/about/two-year-action-strategy.

[34] Nevada Department of Transportation, Zero Fatalities Nevada, www.zerofatalitiesnv.com.

[35] Donald Redelmeier, et al, “Traffic-Law Enforcement and Risk of Death from Motor-Vehicle Crashes: Case-Crossover Study,” Science Direct, (June, 2003), http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673603137701.

[36] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

[37] Circulate San Diego, Recommended list of Vision Zero projects for consideration in FY16 budget, (January 13, 2015), http://www.circulatesd.org/download_file/view/858/309.

[38] City of San Diego, Street Design Manual 2002, (November 2002), http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/programs/transportation/library/stdesign.shtml.

[39] Todd Litman, Traffic Calming Benefits, Costs, and Equity Impacts, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, (December 7, 1999), http://www.vtpi.org/calming.pdf.

[40] City of San Diego, General Plan, Mobility Element, (2008), http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/genplan/#genplan.

[41] City of San Diego, CEQA Significance Determination Thresholds, (January 2011), http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/pdf/news/sdtceqa.pdf.

[42] City of San Diego, Council Policy 200-07, Comprehensive Pedestrian Crossing Policy, (April 23, 1990), http://docs.sandiego.gov/councilpolicies/cpd_200-07.pdf.

[43] UC Berkeley, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center, Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), http://tims.berkeley.edu.

connect

get updates