San Jose launching $6.8M plan to reduce traffic-related deaths

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area's largest city has launched a new plan aimed at reducing the rising amount of traffic-related deaths.

Tuesday night, the city council voted to allocate nearly $6.8 million toward its Vision Zero initiative over the next two years.

"It's a priority all over the whole city," said San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez. "One fatality is too many, and so that's the whole goal for Vision Zero. Unfortunately, we've been moving in the wrong direction."

The numbers have been on the rise. Sixty people died in a traffic-related incident on city streets last year.

Pedestrians accounted for nearly half of those cases.

The city's department of transportation has since identified 15 priority corridors, covering 56 miles across the city.

"We know that speeding is the primary collision factor in a lot of these fatalities," said Department of Transportation spokesperson Colin Heyne.

"We're going to be using plastic, plant, signal timing, quick-build materials other than concrete, to let us do projects quickly and at a fraction of the cost than traditional projects."

City officials say the funding will also go toward increasing traffic enforcement, as well as an awareness campaign to get people to slow down. Data collection tools will also be used to help better understand driver behavior.

While many believe this is a step in the right direction, urban advocates say more needs to be done to make a dent.

"Changing the way our streets are constructed, the way that they're oriented and composed, means that you can prevent that bad and dangerous behavior," said SJSU urban and regional planning instructor Kelly Snider. "

The most important thing is taking our urban places and making everyone safe in every instance, not prioritizing one form of transportation over another."
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