SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- After 65 lives were taken on the streets of San Jose in 2022, the city has seen a drop to 47 traffic deaths this year.
One life lost is too many, but leaders attribute the reversing trend in part to safety improvement projects implemented throughout the city.
And now, San Jose has been awarded $12.9 million in federal grant money to improve some of the city's deadliest intersections, like Canoas Garden Ave. and Curtner Ave.
"We still have a long way to go to make our streets safer for everyone and this federal support will enable us to save more lives in the years ahead," Mayor Mahan said.
For too many families in San Jose, the intersection represents a tragedy in their lives.
Gina and Steve LaBlanc live with the memory of losing their son, Kyle, here during his senior year of high school when a tow truck hit and killed him while he was in the bike lane.
"Kyle was not the only life lost here and my heart goes out to all the other families who've lost loved ones and also those who have been injured," Gina LaBlanc said. "His dreams were destroyed and our lives were shattered all because of preventable crash."
Kyle's parents returned to the site where their son died for the first time for the grant announcement.
The money will go toward building a protected intersection that keeps bikes separated from traffic, a new sidewalk to fill the gap that is missing and traffic signal improvements.
DOT Director John Ristow says each project funded by the grant will offer improvements based on the location to make these dangerous corridors safer.
"Each one of them has been the site of a tragic fatality or more and that's why we're making these pretty dramatic and significant improvements to the intersection itself," Ristow said. "It's really going to make a change to what driver behavior is going to be like as well as the people using it."
The LaBlanc family knows nothing can bring back their son or others lost in traffic crashes.
But with 47 more traffic deaths this year in San Jose, they know the improvements can make a difference.
"There are no words to describe how devastating a loss like this is," Gina LaBlanc said. "This is my eighth Christmas without Kyle and it's agony. Today I'm very grateful, however, to know that this new grant much-needed safety infrastructure can be built at this location."
In the hope that no other families feel the pain of loss again.
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