SJ residents say reckless driving leading to some close calls, calling on City leaders for help

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In San Jose's Northside neighborhood, residents explained busy streets, speeding cars, and stop signs that are ignored pose major safety issues. People living there are fed up.

ABC7 News was at North 21st and Washington Streets on Monday, to ask whether people felt safe simply crossing the street.

"No, I'm terrified," resident Matt Spain said.

Spain explained the neighborhood is surrounded by several schools and is a short distance from the new Berryessa BART station and the City's booming downtown area. He said anticipated growth and activity have residents even more anxious.

"So it's like triangulating massive amounts of traffic that can come through here," Spain said.

He's lived in the area since 2003 and has watched traffic increase gradually.

Compared to the sleepier neighborhood he first moved into, Spain said now, "It's pretty much like the Wild West out here. People can drive however they want- Stop, go, etc."

"These people that are habitually, systematically breaking the traffic laws are going to kill somebody," Spain added. "And it's just a matter of time."

Neighbors say a hit-and-run driver crashed into a boy on his BMX-type bike, just a few weeks ago. Another reason people are pushing for the City's help to alleviate traffic issues.

"Let's put up some crosswalks with the flashing lights and the paint," Spain suggested. "Let's put up some speed bumps and let's do traffic circles."

The speed limit through the residential area is 25-mph.

One resident has a front-row seat. He lives at the corner of N 21st and Washington Streets, where neighbors have posted signs, pleading for drivers to "PLEASE SLOW DOWN."

"I've even seen cars do 60-70 miles an hour straight through the stop signs," said the resident.

Reckless driving is just one of many reasons the resident plans to move from the area.

"It's just not something we want to deal with on a daily basis," he said.

A few blocks from this busy intersection, there is still no relief. Nest cameras on Paul Marshall's home captured more bad behavior.

"It's blood-boiling," Marshall explained.

"Watching these people speed through with reckless abandon, that don't care about the consequences, it really boils my blood," he told ABC7 News.

He's lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and has watched traffic patterns change. He admits he remains cautious while commuting on a bike.

"If I've had close calls and I'm being careful, I can't imagine what a San Jose High School student who's riding their bike and has earbuds in, not paying attention," Marshall said hypothetically, "That's just a recipe for disaster."

"I think the only thing that's really going to slow anyone down are physical barriers such as speed humps, speed bumps whatever they call them," Marshall said. "Because you can have enforcement, but enforcement only lasts for so long."

For several weeks now, Marshall and others have reached out to the City of San Jose with their concerns. Many are hoping leaders will explore traffic calming measures before the issue becomes much worse.

Resident Spain said, "Anything that can make people slow down in our neighborhood is going to save lives."

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Mayor Sam Liccardo is also a Northside resident. ABC7 News reached out to his office for comment, but he was unavailable.

Councilman Raul Peralez's office has not responded to our request for comment.

The City's Department of Transportation released the following statement to ABC7 News:

"We appreciate the concerns of neighbors and are happy to be delivering traffic calming installations at the corner of Empire and 21st Street in the near future.

We have also recently re-paved Empire Street, and redesigned portions of it to be a more comfortable bike route, key to connecting downtown and the new Berryessa BART Station.

We are always willing to explore traffic concerns posed by residents as our city grows and travel patterns change."

Residents said they've noticed changes along Empire Street, and are pushing for the City to expand those measures.
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