With the city of San Diego at least five years into its Vision Zero program, Mayor Todd Gloria and Circulate San Diego joined together on Wednesday to detail how the initiative has impacted traffic injuries and deaths in the city.
Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries through education, engineering and enforcement, began in 2015 and has a goal of making America’s Finest City more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, as well as eliminate traffic deaths, by 2025.
Since the beginning of the initiative, the city has taken steps to adopt measures that align with Circulate San Diego’s recommendations.
“They started creating more bike lanes, they started doing the things that we had been asking them to do and it hasn’t ended traffic deaths by any stretch, but it has made a modest difference and that’s what we like to celebrate but also see more of,” said Colin Parent, the nonprofit’s Executive Director and General Counsel.
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Data collected by Circulate San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing mobility in the region, showed that traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries increased from 2013 to 2018 but decreased slightly in 2019 and “dropped steeply” in 2020, according to Jessie O’Sullivan, the organization’s Policy Counsel.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic means the 2020 data may not be an indicator of what will come in the future, this is still an encouraging sign that San Diego’s Vision Zero efforts are starting to pay off,” O’Sullivan said in a press conference Wednesday.
That data was collected via public records requests through the San Diego Police Department.
The report states that the city’s efforts “have shown modest success, more must be done to achieve the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2025.”
According to Circulate San Diego’s newly released report, 56 people were killed and 127 others were seriously injured in traffic crashes on San Diego streets last year. Of the fatalities reported, 24 of those were pedestrians and three were bicyclists.
The report also found that pedestrian crashes disproportionately harm people of color, older people, people with disabilities and low-income San Diegans.
“No one should be seriously injured or lose their life just because they’re on our streets trying to get from point A to point B,” Mayor Gloria said.
In his proposed budget, Gloria recommended using $18 million to pay for improvements across the city that help San Diego achieve its goal with Vision Zero. That includes new bike lanes, better sidewalks, accessible curb ramps and new traffic signals and streetlights.
“My administration is committed to achieving San Diego’s Vision Zero goal because there is no acceptable number of traffic fatalities or injuries,” he said.