San Jose pedestrian death reminds leaders of increased importance for road safety

Dustin Dorsey Image
Monday, June 12, 2023
Another pedestrian death reminds SJ leaders need for safer roads
San Jose's 21st deadly crash of 2023 is reminding leaders of increased importance for road safety and improvements.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Traffic was stopped along McKee Road in East San Jose Monday morning for hours after a man was hit and killed while crossing the street.

It was the city's 21st deadly crash this year and it happened just past Jackson Avenue near the 280 interchange.

Last year, San Jose was at 33 traffic related deaths on this date, and despite improvements to these numbers, Monday's events shows the city that work still needs to be done.

Officers on scene told us the man was likely moving slowly outside of a crosswalk when he was hit just after 8 a.m.

Residents say this road is dangerous for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

MORE: Community mourns death of 15-year-old high school student hit and killed in San Jose

"I have a daughter, so I have to protect her," San Jose resident Jessica Torrez said. "So, when I see these types of things happening and they're around me and in my area, I think about my daughter. I think about the safety of her and other people as well, you know?"

The city of San Jose's Department of Transportation is working to improve safety.

Public information manager Colin Heyne says the city is planning both permanent and temporary measures on this street - just steps from the accident.

The plan includes raised speed bump-like crosswalks at Jackson and McKee for safer crossings and a fence along the median to prevent people crossing outside of the crosswalk.

"Hopefully that's going to encourage people by providing nicer pedestrian amenities," Heyne said. "And hopefully making it a little less convenient to cross the street outside of the crosswalks."

MORE: Could speed cameras save lives on SJ streets?

Heyne says these improvements have been known to save lives.

After increased attention to engineering, enforcement and education following what was an all-time deadly year on the streets in 2022, traffic fatality rate is much lower rate this year than in past years.

"As of today, we've had 21 people lose their lives on San Jose streets," Heyne said. "I'm looking at the previous five years at the halfway point, and there's no year between 2018 and 2022 that we've had that few fatalities at the end of June."

A less bad year as Heyne puts it, but any death is one too many.

He says the city's and community's efforts are showing that lives can be saved.

But, based on the events like Monday along the dangerous road, the work must continue.

"By continuing this data-based approach, we feel that we are catching up to and hopefully surpassing that need that's represented by the fatal and severe-injury crashes," Heyne said.

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