Two La Jolla-area intersections cited among City of San Diego's most dangerous

La Jolla Village Dr./I-5 S ramp and Mission Blvd./Garnet Ave. targeted

From 2001 to 2015, two pedestrians were killed and seven were seriously injured at the La Jolla Village Drive and I-5 South ramp intersection, according to a report by Circulate San Diego. In the same period, 17 pedestrians were injured in 16 crashes at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue.

These two intersections were among the 15 identified for safety improvements in a City of San Diego staff report, which was unanimously accepted by the City Council on March 6, when Council members expressed hopes that upgrades would be underway or completed by the beginning of summer.

“In progress” at the La Jolla Village Drive and I-5 southbound off ramp, are a high visibility crosswalk, pedestrian countdown timers, audible pedestrian signals and improved street lights. At Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue, a high visibility crosswalk, pedestrian countdown timers and added signs have been completed, while audible pedestrian signals and improved street lights are “in progress.”

Kathleen Ferrier, director of advocacy at Circulate San Diego said these improvements are basic, but effective in preventing pedestrian/vehicle crashes.

High visibility crosswalks, Ferrier explained, are the “zebra” markings on roadways, that provide more visibility than the traditional two parallel lines. Audible signals are implemented when the traffic lights have some sort of audible indication for pedestrians, and countdown signals feature “a hand or a numerals counting down to one,” she said.

The proposed improvements will cost the City approximately $10,000 each, she said, adding, “That’s not a lot of money.”

Fatal Fifteen

In October 2015, the City Council adopted “Vision Zero,” a report by Circulate San Diego, with the goal of reaching zero (no) traffic deaths in town by 2025. One year after that, the City Auditor issued a report revealing that the City hadn’t been using its resources to maximize pedestrian safety, and that by checking available data, the City could improve dangerous intersections by upgrading the infrastructure where pedestrian crashes were more likely to occur. “The City has invested resources for pedestrian safety infrastructure at many locations where pedestrians were at lower risk,” it states. The report identified 43 intersections where no upgrades had occurred and where crashes involving pedestrians had occurred since 2001.

Of those 43, Circulate San Diego chose 15 unimproved intersections where more than five pedestrian crashes had occurred, and released the campaign “Fatal Fifteen” on Feb. 1, a call for the City to use its resources to get closer to the “Vision Zero” goal, and starting with the 15 “fatal” intersections. At that point, Ferrier said, the City hadn’t put any infrastructure improvements on the ground. “They had put together a plan for some of the most dangerous corridors, but none of it was implemented,” she explained.

Based on the “Fatal Fifteen,” City staff created the memo to City Council, approved March 6, detailing the improvements to come at 15 dangerous intersections. However, Ferrier said, the 15 intersections weren’t the same as the initially identified in the Circulate San Diego campaign. “The initial list had more intersections in southeastern San Diego,” she said, adding that the La Jolla Village Drive and I-5 South intersection was added by City staff.

“These crashes tend to happen more in low-income neighborhoods and urban areas,” she said, “And as the City continues to grow, we will see more and more crashes each year. We want to stop that, so we’re asking the City to implement a data-driven approach to help save lives.”

Pedestrian deaths in San Diego have risen steadily in the last five years. Since 2015, there have been 55. Read more at circulatesd.org

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