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Advocates Push for Safety Improvements in San Diego

"Fix the Fatal 15" calls attention to the fifteen most dangerous intersections in the city, and advocates offer inexpensive, practical solutions.

Left to right: Will Moore, Policy Counsel, Circulate San Diego; Katie Gordon of Families for Safe Streets San Diego, with a picture of her husband Jason who was killed at one of the Fatal 15 intersections; Nancy Cavanaugh-Wilson of Families for Safe Streets San Diego; and Chloe Lauer, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Photo courtesy Circulate San Diego

Safety advocates from Circulate San Diego, Families for Safe Streets San Diego, and the San Diego Bicycle Coalition held a press conference this morning at the intersection of Rosecrans and Moore streets to bring attention to the need for San Diego to fix dangerous intersections.

The groups have been asking for the last year for simple fixes - including improved crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, and audible prompts to let people know when the lights change - to be included in the city's budget. However, the Mayor's January budget proposal did not include them. His revised budget is due out tomorrow, so today the groups took the opportunity to draw attention to the serious issue of traffic fatalities and some simple, cost-effective improvements.

“This is a high-return, low-cost budget item," said Will Moore, Policy Counsel for Circulate San Diego. "We understand that it is difficult to run a city. There are a lot of hard decisions – so it is even more important to get the easy ones right.”

Even though the city of San Diego "committed to" Vision Zero almost ten years ago, pedestrian deaths remain high; nearly fifty pedestrians and cyclists lose their lives in traffic crashes in San Diego every year.

Katie Gordon's husband Jason was killed at one of the "Fatal 15" intersections. Now a member of Families for Safe Streets San Diego, she spoke of her husband and their twin daughters at today's gathering, and urged the city to budget for these fixes. “Small improvements make a big impact," she said. "Please don’t let the 'Fatal 15' take another life.”

At the request of several city councilmembers, the advocates provided an estimate for the cost of their suggestions. "Based on Circulate’s planning department, estimates from prior years, work of the Independent Budget Analyst, and information from the Transportation department, recent fixes like those proposed here have cost an estimated $100,000 per intersection. This would total $1.5 million to fix the 'Fatal Fifteen'," they wrote to Mayor Todd Gloria [PDF].

That may sound like a lot of money, especially in a deficit year, but the advocates reminded the Mayor and the City Council that "the City of San Diego will spend large sums of money on transportation in this coming budget, and we are merely asking that a reasonable share of that spending be made to do the most good and to save the most lives…. These repairs and improvements are modest in cost, but will provide a high return in lives saved."

"Ultimately, the preservation of lives is an investment well worth making. Vision Zero is not something 'nice to have' during good budget years," they wrote.

The "Fatal Fifteen" were identified via an analysis of the Transportation Injury Mapping System between 2018 and 2022. They are the fifteen intersections with both more than three pedestrian or cycle involved traffic crashes, and the most pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

A map of the 15 most dangerous intersections in San Diego

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