EXCLUSIVE: SJPD steps into the crosswalk as pedestrian decoys for traffic safety

AS SJPD employees acted as pedestrian decoys, we saw just how many drivers didn't stop for someone crossing the road.

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Thursday, September 22, 2022
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On Wednesday as SJPD employees acted as pedestrian decoys, we saw just how many drivers didn't stop for someone crossing the road.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Building a Better Bay Area means finding solutions and in San Jose, city leaders are continuing to look for ways to prevent the rising number of traffic deaths on city streets.

One of the ways they are trying to do that is through police enforcement of traffic laws.

In an instant, almost as fast as the push of a button, a life can end because someone ignores the rules of the road.

At the busy pedestrian crosswalk on Senter Road in San Jose, neighbors say close calls happen all the time.

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"I'm consistently seeing people hit the light, no one stops, or they're going too fast and they can't stop and it's like that probably every day," Marky Medrano said.

Senter Road is recognized by the city's vision zero initiative as a dangerous roadway, particularly for shoppers and students of nearby schools.

On Wednesday as San Jose Police Department employees acted as pedestrian decoys, we saw just how many drivers didn't stop for someone crossing the road.

"In the first five minutes that we've been out here, officers have issued at least 10 citations," San Jose Police Dept. Ofc. Steven Aponte said. "This specific crosswalk alone, although it is enhanced, seems to be ignored."

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On a daily basis, 14 enforcement officers try to catch violations - down from around 50 officers 10 years ago.

They say they may be seen as the bad guy, but their purpose is not about punishment.

"We're trying to write a whole bunch of tickets and deter bad driving behavior," SJPD Sgt. Steven Jeffrey said.

"Changing that driving behavior and issuing a citation hopefully will make sure that we prevent the next traffic fatality, the next bicyclist being run down, the next motorcyclist from falling and having an accident where it's a fatal," Ofc. Aponte said. "Ultimately, the goal is to preserve life."

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But, it's just one part of the solution.

Senter Road also has been enhanced with other features to make it safer, like signage and road narrowing.

Saving lives is a three-pronged approach.

"We're pairing that education and engineering with the enforcement that the police department is doing," San Jose Dept. of Transportation public information officer Colin Heyne said. "That's how we're trying to really approach human behavior and make our streets safer even when that human behavior is not what we like to see."

One life lost is too many. And when San Jose has lost 50 lives in 2022, something needs to change.

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