8 Years of San Diego Vision Zero

Things are looking only worse marking the World Day of Remembrance.

Southern California is in the middle of a true crisis with cyclists and pedestrians being mamed and killed on streets with alarming frequency. Little seems to have changed for the better if not getting actually worse.

With the city’s Vision Zero deadline of 2025 just over one year away, the death toll on San Diego streets is essentially unchanged. Two people died in collisions on Thursday (11/16/2023), bringing the number of traffic deaths in 2023 to at least 50, according to city data. In 2022, at least 53 people died in collisions in the same time period.

On ‘World Day of Remembrance,’ families to honor victims of traffic collisions

Officials in San Diego County are listening. In fact, the San Diego County officials created a new tool to get public input about areas that they have safety concerns walking, biking, or maybe could be leveraged for network connectivity or would benefit a regional destination.

As SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) prepares to update their Active Transportation Plan, they are looking for public input. San Diego’s Active Transportation Plan has not been updated since 2010, years before San Diego Association of Governments adopted Vision Zero (2015).

You can help San Diego regional planners by sharing your knowledge of dangerous roads and intersection locations, or places you would like to be able to walk or bike to, or make multi-modal connections through.

“So traffic fatalities, 250 in the San Diego region alone in the last year,” Mieier said [Antoinette Mieier, SANDAG’s Senior Director of Regional Planning]. ” And a third of those fatalities involved pedestrians.

‘Make your mark’: SANDAG seeks public input to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety

You can find the interactive San Diego County Map online and add your input.

The San Diego map with public input itself should be helpful to those who like to walk or ride their bikes because it informing awareness through the public sourced resource about where to avoid for the time being. For instance, today, the map says there have been 1063 contributions. On the map, locations on the map display a number and the mark for the location changes size and color by relative number of contributors who have identified that same location.

Is there a particular street that you would like to bike or walk on, but you don’t feel safe? Where have you recently experienced a close call on the road while driving, walking, or biking? Are there regional destinations that would benefit from a new or improved biking connection? 

Vision Zero Safer Streets SANDAG Interactive Map for your input

Meanwhile, students at Kennedy School of Government have conducted research to estimate the cost of supporting infrastructure for cars, and the cost whether or not a household owns or does not own a vehicle. The costs are shared by all because about half of the car infrastructure costs (parking, roads etc.) comes from public funds, thus shared by all residents. They put the costs for all households with and without cars at $14,000 with additional costs for those who do own vehicles.

The study authors hope that this data which should be fairly similar for other states.

The costs of any other type of transportation project for any mode can now be roughly compared to the costs already supported by the public for car infrastructure by all residents including households without a car at $14,000. Such comparisons would seem to lend assistance to transportation equity.

A team of graduate students at the Harvard Kennedy School estimate that the annual price tag for maintaining Massachusetts’ car economy is roughly $64.1 billion, with more than half of that coming from public funds. […]

Using publicly available data, the authors put the annual public tab at $35.7 billion, which amounts to about $14,000 for every household in the state. Those that do own vehicles pony up an additional $12,000 on average in direct costs.

The authors say their goal is to demonstrate the total costs of driving so that information can be used for comparison when held up against other types of transit investments, like bus, subway, and train systems.

Driving is more expensive than you think

$14,000 for every household whether or not they own a car! Transportation equity for a household or individual who lives car free and relies on public transportation or a bicycle for all trips is left paying for car infrastructure but not getting improvements of the same proportion to other public transportation infrastructure. That is a whopping amount of money paying for car infrastructure costs like parking for those who do not drive or can’t drive like senior citizens and those who can not afford the expense of owning a vehicle.

Transportation planners sometimes point out that bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian sidewalk infrastructure improvements are considerably less expensive than road infrastructure for cars.

For instance the Mayor of one New Jersey city has actually been able to achieve Vision Zero using low cost and well known tactics to improve safety, six years of no pedestrian fatalities and almost half of the roads have bicycle lanes.

Armed with the Vision Zero plan, Hoboken has steadily been making incremental changes to its streets and transportation policies — with profound results. In 2021, Bhalla welcomed Citi Bike, which as of this summer has recorded more than 850,000 trips. In 2022, he lowered the citywide speed limit to 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour). Crosswalks have been painted and repaved to increase their visibility, and more than 40 curb extensions have been installed to nudge cars farther from intersections. Today, nearly half of Hoboken’s roads have bike lanes.

[…] we kind of take a bird’s eye view of that area and see what low-cost, high-impact measures we can implement in order to make that part of Hoboken a little bit safer. So just with a bucket of paint, you can actually create a curb extension; you can create high visibility crosswalks, which create a much safer environment at a very cheap cost. 

The New Jersey Mayor With a Plan to End Traffic Deaths
In Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla has worked to redesign city intersections, install bike lanes and slow traffic. The result? Six-plus years of no pedestrian fatalities.

Of course the cost for road improvements and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure varies greatly.

Many specifics need to be pinned down, but StreetsBlog has some interesting discussion of the range of these costs, for sidewalks, for roads, for bike lanes of various types, $20,000 vs. $100,000-$1,000,000 per mile:

An FHA handbook from 2015, Incorporating On-Road Bicycle Networks into Resurfacing Projects, provides some basic numbers to start with. “Many communities contacted during the production of the Workbook indicated that their average cost to add bike lanes during a resurfacing project is approximately $20,000 (2015 dollars) per mile.”

According to Streetsblog’s sources, the costs to completely repave a road usually vary in the range of $100k per mile up to $1 million per mile – with some outliers. That covers construction costs for complete rehabilitation of a roadway, including scraping and replacing pavement, adding curbs and curb ramps, placing signals and detectors, and restriping and repainting lanes, but not widening a road.

Breaking Down Caltrans’ Cost Estimate of the Complete Streets Bill

San Diego underfunds Pedestrian Safety & rash of bicyclists hit in S. California

Well as folks say Vision Zero has quickly turned to Zero Vision. For lack of funding or will to change. Regardless, pedestrian traffic injuries and fatalities continue to be on track to the highest rate in 50 years.

Thanks to KPBS recent story we learn:

It’s been more than eight years since city officials adopted “Vision Zero,” a goal of ending all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025. More than two years from that deadline, the number of total deaths and injuries each year is essentially unchanged. Meanwhile pedestrian deaths are on the rise — both in San Diego and across the country.

Audit finds San Diego severely underfunds pedestrian safety

In short, over 1000 safety priority work projects on the list and a typical year sees approximately 40 or so of these projects done.

Still, the transportation safety rebels are doing a lot with gumption, paint, planters, etc.

Traffic cameras can also increase safety for those not in vehicles and raise revenue for these safety projects. But not much is happening fast.

And 2023 is looking likely to be a worse year than 2022 for bicyclist fatalities.

According to the blog Biking LA on October 31, 2023:

This is at least the 50th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also at least the eighth time a person was been killed riding a bicycle in Los Angeles since the start of the year.

Update: Valley Glen man dragged, killed by hit-and-run driver; 4th LA County bike death in 4 days, 15th SoCal rider killed in 25 days

On the wake of the tragic PCH pedestrian car crash fatalities in October, we have more cyclists and pedestrians being seriously injured and killed on our roads.

“Fatal traffic collisions this year have taken 250 lives,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore stated during a recent meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission. The deaths, from the period of Jan. 1–Oct. 14, was nine more than in the same timeframe in 2022. 

Then Moore added, “​​But most troubling is when we look back to 2019, that number was 188. That’s a 33% increase.”

Los Angeles on pace to surpass 300 traffic collision deaths for second consecutive year

Hit and run car crashes are at an epidemic level. It’s just gone from bad to really, really bad.

But, new gear for cyclists in the form of air bags do offer some on demand safety improvements potentially to cyclists, adding to the traditional helmet.

Scientific research shows that Hövding’s airbag technology offers protection up to eight times better than traditional bicycle helmets. French testing institute Certimoov has given its stamp of approval, confirming that Hövding is the safest option for cyclists.

Should cyclists start wearing airbags or what?

California DMV kicks Cruise Driverless Taxi’s out.

Cruise hid evidence about a Cruise crash injuring a pedestrian.

In the Order of Suspension, the California DMV said that the Cruise vehicle initially came to a hard stop and ran over the pedestrian. After coming to a complete stop, it then attempted to do a “pullover maneuver while the pedestrian was underneath the vehicle.” The car crawled along at 7 mph for about 20 feet, then came to a final stop. The pedestrian remained under the car the whole time.

Cruise Self-Driving License Revoked After It Withheld Pedestrian Injury Footage, DMV Says

Cruise initially withheld the video evidence of the car dragging the pedestrian 20 feet trapped under the vehicle until another California Government agency.

The troubles for Cruise will continue with the Federal investigation of Cruise autonomous vehicles as well as their behavior with pedestrians after reports that the autonomous vehicles do not behave with proper caution around vulnerable pedestrians.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the reports involve automated driving system equipped vehicles encroaching on pedestrians present in or entering roadways, including crosswalks. This could raise the risk of a vehicle striking a pedestrian, which could result in severe injury or death, according to the NHTSA.

US regulators investigate GM’s Cruise division over incidents involving pedestrians in roadways

Pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries are spiking on our roadways nationally and right here in California.

Driver who hit and killed 4 Pepperdine students on PCH charged with murder

Prosecutors have charged the 22 year old driver with murder and say he was speeding at 104mph on that section of Pacific Coast Highway.

Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, faces four counts of malice murder and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said during a Wednesday news conference, adding that the charges stem from Bohm’s “complete disregard for the life of others.”

“When you are driving at 104 mph in [a] 45-mph [zone], the only conclusion is you have a complete disregard for life,” Gascón said.

Driver sped at 104 mph in Malibu crash that killed 4 Pepperdine students, D.A. says

This tragedy didn’t have to happen.

Residents say that this 23 mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway has a problem with cars that are speeding. One neighbor who lived near the crash site called that part of the PCH a dead man’s curve, because that neighbor had seen so many vehicle crashes there.

It’s tragic that instead of heading toward their last year at Pepperdine, these four lives have been lost.

It’s also tragic for this young reckless speeding driver, only 22 years old and charged with four counts of malice murder, and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter.

4 Pedestrians who were Pepperdine Students killed by wreckless driver on the PCH

Being a pedestrian is dangerous these days. Speeding out of control cars are too common, especially on this section of the Pacific Coast Highway. With Malibu being a beach destination city, and the PCH being a tourist draw, it is surprising that more hasn’t been done before now to pedestrianize this stretch of the coast highway.

Tragically four young and bright Pepperdine students were hit by the driver of a BMW on the Pacific Coast Highway only four miles from campus and near the Malibu Beach where presumably many pedestrians would want to walk.

From the Malibu beach area near the PCH the four students were hit when the young driver, speeding his BMW, lost control veered and crashed into parked vehicles where the four victims were standing near. The victims were pronounced dead on the scene. Another two victims were taken to a nearby hospital.

Bohm was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. A DUI investigation is still pending, LASD said.

Witnesses say that they saw the driver get out of his wrecked car unharmed before being pinned to the ground by several people.

A woman who has lived in the area for many years told KTLA that the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway is known as “Dead Man’s Curve” due to the high number of accidents, nearly all of which involve speeding drivers.

Driver accused of killing 4 Pepperdine students released from custody hours after deadly crash

People who live in the area say that serious injury and fatal crashes happen frequently in the area, partly because cars speed on the PCH.

Road mitigation might be needed but it won’t bring back the lives of these victims. Speed cameras might also be used in the near future.

According to the city, Malibu has had more than 4,000 traffic collisions on its 21-mile stretch of PCH in the last decade — including more than 1,500 that involved injuries. In the same time period, excessive speed was the most common violation given on more than 100,000 traffic citations, according to the city.

Four women struck and killed in Malibu crash were Pepperdine students, university says

Report finds San Diego saw 71% increase in biking since 2019

According to KPBS new report shows that San Diego people want to ride their bicycles. New bicycle infrastructure, kid oriented bicycle parks are getting used.

A new report on biking trends across the country found the San Diego metropolitan region saw a 71% increase in biking from 2019 to 2022 — the second largest increase in the country.

KPBS 9/28/2023

While this is huge, San Diego still has a long way to go. Cyclists say many of the new bike paths aren’t connected.

Work to do, but the demand is clearly here.

Build it and they will ride bikes.

Not mentioned in the cycling growth, e-bikes.

E-bikes have brought a lot of new bicycle riders and commuters to cycling. For folks who had longer commutes, hills, or even less safe routes, e-bikes are a game changer.

With San Diego’s great weather, active lifestyle, of course people want to ride bicycles.

Let’s Go! By Bike of course.

Truck Underride Crashes Can Be Deadly, And Avoidable with side and rear guards

In the USA bicycle safety advocates call for these side guards to be made a requirement on all commercial trucks. The safety improvement would affect safety for cars, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicyclists.

Bicyclist Hit by Dump Truck and Pinned Underneath in Otay Mesa Collision

For pedestrians, bikes, small cars, scooters, mopeds, electric bikes, even small car drivers: being near a large truck in traffic on city streets is an everyday dangerous type of situation.

If large trucks and dump trucks were required to have rear and side guards, all vulnerable road users would be safer.

In the USA bicycle safety advocates call for these side guards to be made a requirement on all commercial trucks. The safety improvement would affect safety for cars, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicyclists.

“Truck lateral protective devices are vehicle-based safety devices designed to keep pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck’s rear wheels in a side-impact collision. While large trucks comprise 4 percent of registered vehicles, large trucks are involved in 10 percent of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. In 2018, these nonmotorist fatalities rose to 541, the highest since 1990.” Truck Lateral Protective Device

The lives that could be saved by mandating side and rear guards for big trucks and semi trailers would be huge. The most recent NHTSA analysis looked only at crashes that occurred at speeds under 40 mph, and most of the experts in the USA gave push back, “NTSB, IIHS say feds significantly underestimate lives that can be saved.”

That benefit shortfall alarms the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which contends NHTSA’s analysis focused only on crashes in which the front of a passenger vehicle slides under the side of a trailer. NHTSA did not fully consider other crash types that would likely benefit from side guards installed on a truck that could prevent such an “underride,” according to NTSB, such as high-speed sideswipe crashes, impacts with vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, or side underride collisions with single-unit trucks.

“Further, NHTSA only calculated potential safety benefits for about 20% of fatal crashes in which NHTSA estimated that the passenger vehicle was traveling under 40 mph,” wrote NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy in comments filed in response to the proposal. “For crashes where the estimated speed was over 40 mph, NHTSA’s analysis assumed that a side underride guard would have no effectiveness.”

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Attorney

Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues

If you served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina, you may have had contact with contaminants in the drinking water there. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and development of certain diseases later on. If you have qualifying service at Camp Lejeune and a current diagnosis of one of the conditions listed below, you may be able to get disability benefits.

If you think you were exposed to contaminated water while at Camp Lejeune, contact GOETZ LAW FIRM and speak directly with ATTORNEY Dean Goetz himself for a free case evaluation.

Veterans Affairs processors in recent years mishandled more than one-third of all disability claims related to water contamination issues at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, potentially cheating as many as 21,000 veterans out of financial compensation, a government watchdog said Thursday.

VA botched thousands of Camp Lejeune water contamination cases

San Diego Pedestrian and Cyclists vs. Car Crashes are happening too often

Even during the Pandemic with people working remotely and traffic considerably down, pedestrians and bicyclists continue to be hit by cars at record levels.

It’s hard to imagine but the San Diego Bicycle Coalition has a tracker that can convince even the most resistant.

Our San Diego Crash Tracker tracks and reports every bike and pedestrian crash in San Diego in real time. Using software from Streets for All, this program monitors police scanners and automatically tweets out the location and details of every crash, as soon as police are notified. Follow @SDCrashBot on Twitter to see the reports. You’ll be shocked how many people are hit by drivers on our unsafe streets every day.

San Diego Bicycle Coalition Crash Tracker

It’s not just in the San Diego area, pedestrians and cyclists are getting hit by cars in record numbers that haven’t been seen since the 1980’s.

Every day on social media you can find videos of cars jumping the curb going into houses, into businesses, into bus stops.

A pedestrian is fighting for his life after a driver lost control and crashed onto the sidewalk outside a downtown San Diego barber shop Saturday afternoon, hurting two other people and also damaging the business, authorities said.

Pedestrian seriously hurt, 2 others injured in downtown sidewalk crash

It’s not just mistakes drivers make. This Tesla jumping near Echo Park area was a viral video of a pretty wild and reckless stunt.

You get the idea.

Support our local San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

Vision Zero protected bike lanes with Jersey Barriers would be a major improvement for protecting cyclists, walkers and runners from out of control drivers and cars. Cyclists in New York called this a protected bike lane they can believe in.