Last week the City of San José announced its Vision Zero plan, and on Tuesday, May 14, City Council unanimously adopted the new transportation framework. In doing so, the City has committed to prioritizing street safety and ensuring all road users—whether walking, biking, riding transit, or driving—are safe. The plan—prompted in part by a memo written the previous month by Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio—is guided by the core principle that traffic deaths are both preventable and unacceptable.
While San José can boast that it is consistently among the safest cities in California and the nation when looking at traffic fatltiy and injury crash rates per 1,000 residents—the City’s injury crash rate is around half the national average—City leaders and traffic safety advocates recognize the need to do even better. Last year, 42 people lost their lives in traffic collisions, and half of those were pedestrians.
Evaluating latest available collision data (from 2010 to 2014), the City has identified 14 major street segments that account for the highest frequency of fatal and severe injuries. In other words, just 3% of San José’s 2400-mile street network account for over 50% of all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. These “Safety Priority Streets” will be the top focus in the coming year, with dedicated funding and plans in place to make much needed improvements.
San José’s take on Vision Zero is unique in a number of ways. Mayor Sam Liccardo, Department of Transportation Director Hans Larsen, and Chief of Police Larry Esquivel all signed on to the initial plan. The familiar focus on Evaluation, Engineering, Enforcement, and Education are joined by emphases on Technology, Policy, and Partnerships.
A number of community partners are recognized in the plan—including California Walks—with the goal of community partners assisting in Vision Zero San José implementation, particularly the education and policy strategies. We are proud to say that California Walks has been invited to co-chair a new Vision Zero Task Force, led by Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, in partnership with our friends at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Now the work begins—stay tuned for updates!
You can read the full Vision Zero San José report here [PDF].