Dangerous Intersections in 'Safety Spotlight' | NBC 7 San Diego

Dangerous Intersections in 'Safety Spotlight'

One of San Diego's busiest and most dangerous streets is in the "safety spotlight".

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    One of San Diego's busiest and most dangerous streets is in the "safety spotlight".

    And a coalition of traffic safety groups says the deadly problem could get worse, if changes aren't made.

    San Diego does have an ambitious plan to improve safety on our deadliest streets, most of which were built in the 1950's, when cars ruled the road.

    But more San Diegans are now "going green" by riding bikes and walking, making for a potentially fatal mix at these busy intersections.

    The problem is a serious one, at 54th Street and University Avenue,  where it’s a risky ride for the two-wheel crowd, and certainly no "walk-in-the-park" for pedestrians.

    "People have been run over here, and people keep going,” says Sidney Michael,  City Heights community activist. “ So it's very, very important that we advocate for traffic safety."

    Michael is talking specifically about the southbound, right turn lane, on 54th Street.

    He sees cars fly through that  crosswalk, at 30 miles an hour, or faster. And statistics  back him up.

    There have been 77 crashes at the 54th and University intersection, in the past ten years.

    Sixteen pedestrians were involved; five bike riders were also hit.

    Jim Baross, a bike safety advocate, says there's a desperate need for bike lanes and better signals.

    "The roads are for people, not just for people in cars. We’ve got to share."

    But the safety coalition, which also includes County Supervisors Greg Cox and Ron Roberts , and members of Walk San Diego, Transportation for American, and the California Endowment, says the federal money desperately needed to make those improvements is now in jeopardy in Congress.

    The coalition says the House last week stripped funding for bike and pedestrian projects, which would gut San Diego's 3 and a half billion dollar, 40 year plan to improve traffic safety.

    Coalition members are calling for public pressure, to get that money back in the budget.
    Sidney Michael says it could save a life, or several.

    “It's good for folks too, that live in the neighborhood to always get involved and things like this, because it's their children that are walking to school."

    The "safe streets" coalition hopes Senator Barbara Boxer will help their cause.

    The Senator has clout on transportation projects, and could get the money needed for bike and pedestrian projects.

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