Cameras approved for deadly San Jose intersection

On Tuesday, city leaders in San Jose gave the green light to install cameras, that can record video, at Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue. It’s at that intersection where five pedestrians have been killed just this year.

"It’s not manslaughter, it's murder, they murdered a young lady, my partner’s daughter," said Manny Ortega of San Jose.

Family and friends of 37-year-old Vanessa Arce spoke to San Jose city leaders Tuesday. Back on April 1, Arce, mother of five, was in her wheelchair in a crosswalk when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver at Curtner and Monterey.

Grainy video from a Shell gas station captured a white Mercedes CLS leaving the scene. Arce is one of five pedestrian deaths this year at that intersection. The majority of the victims are homeless.

"This is a dangerous intersection and it’s dangerous at night there’s been a lot of hit and runs," said San Jose City Councilwoman Maya Esparza.

The intersection is in Esparza’s district. Besides adding physical barriers to prevent jaywalking, she proposed installing four high-resolution cameras that record and capture license plates.

Traffic cameras at the intersection feed back live video. It is not recorded. The new cameras would record video in public spaces.

"We owe it to our residents, we owe it to the family of the victims to try it out, see what we learn," said Esparza.

The city council voted for it unanimously. The cost is at least $30,000.

"It’s priceless," said Felipa Pineda, mother of Vanessa Arce. "Life, there’s no price on it at all. This was my baby girl."

Hearing the pilot project passed means a lot for Arce’s mother who lives down the street. She said it’s hard to cross the road.

She said seeing new cameras will ease the pain a little, knowing it’s for Arce and and the other victims.

"Nothing is going to bring her back but for us to move forward to make this area safe for everyone else is an accomplishment," said Pineda.

Esparza hopes the cameras will be installed by the end of the year. Right now, the city needs to buy the cameras and determine how to store all the data. If the pilot project goes well, it could be implemented at San Jose’s 17 "Vision Zero" corridors.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or