San Jose mayor talks about traffic safety plan after another string of pedestrian deaths

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
SJ mayor talks traffic safety plan after more pedestrian deaths
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan talks about his traffic safety plan after another string of pedestrian deaths in the city.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose mayor and residents are reacting to a recent string of deadly pedestrian incidents. In the last five days, three people have died after being struck by cars in the city.

To make streets safer, Mayor Matt Mahan says his priorities are hiring more police officers for enforcement and deploying technology.

Mahan said a bill is currently in the legislature awaiting for the Governor's signature that would allow the city of San Jose to pilot speed cameras.

"About one third of traffic fatalities involve speeding - now that's why I've been such a strong proponent for speed safety cameras specifically near schools and along corridors where we have a disproportionate number of accidents and fatalities," Mahan said.

Last Friday, San Jose police say a man riding a mobility scooter was struck off of Fruitvale Avenue.

MORE: 'Speed kills': Proposed bill aims to curb traffic fatalities after record number of deaths in CA

On Monday morning, police say a man was hit and killed at the intersection of Willow Street and Meridian Avenue.

San Jose resident Hazel Burton tries to avoid walking across Meridian because cars are flying by.

"My girlfriend lives right over here and I park on this side of the street. I won't park across the street because even in the crosswalk - I don't trust the people because you know they go so fast," Burton said.

Burton said people need to slow down and pay attention.

"I got hit a couple months ago -- I was making a U-turn and I got hit by a red light and I had to take off work for six weeks. Thankfully it wasn't as severe as what happened with these cases," Burton said.

Michael Stearns lives near the Meridian intersection - he thinks better infrastructure is what San Jose needs.

MORE: Could speed cameras save lives on SJ streets?

"We have, you know, no separation between bike lanes the sidewalks are poorly maintained it's really kind of hazardous to walk around here. I walk here every single day and every single day, I feel like I'm going to get hit by a car," Stearns said.

The most recent case happened around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday when police say a pedestrian was struck and killed off South Jackson Avenue. A nearby business owner said the incident involved a garbage truck.

If we compare the numbers from this year to last, Tuesday morning's incident marked the 39th fatal collision and 23rd involving a pedestrian.

At this time last year, the city had 48 fatal collision deaths with 26 of them pedestrians.

"I fear our community becomes numb - these are not just numbers or statistics, these are human beings, these are people with families," Mahan said.

Mahan added that a portion - not a majority of the fatalities - involve unhoused residents.

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