San Jose gets $2 million grant to study redesign of the city's deadliest road

The City of San Jose saw record-breaking traffic accidents and fatalities last year and now a new grant aims to help officials begin plans to redesign on of the city’s deadliest roads.

"This is a first step. This is going to pay for assessing accessibility and conceptual designs for Monterey," said Colin Heyne, Spokesperson for San Jose's Dept. of Transportation.   

Monterey Road can be deemed as one of the most dangerous roads in San Jose. In 2021 alone, seven people died in traffic accidents along the corridor, which was originally built as a highway to move traffic quickly across San Jose. Now with a $2 million grant, Monterey Road will be re-imagined as a slower and safer road.  

"At Branham, Skyway and Chenoweth, we need to re-engineer those intersections so that people can get safely across them. Especially when we introduce things like high-speed rail in the future,"  Heyne said.  

Heyne says after a call for proposals, the city expects to examine design plans in early 2024. He says the city would like to see protected bike lanes, dedicated transit lanes and reconstructed intersections. San Jose City Council member Bien Doan says he knows firsthand about Monterey Road's deadly history.

"As a retired fire captain, we used to call it the Bloody Alley. We had rescues, and we have seen multiple fatalities, as people would speed down Monterey Road. That’s what we call it now," Bien said. 

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Bay Area U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and Jimmy Panetta, helped to secure the funding from the Dept. of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities grant program. Councilman Doan, who represents the area that includes Monterey Road, says making it safer will benefit the entire community.

"I want to make sure that we reduce the speeds so that way all of us who live in District 7 or even the city of San Jose, can feel safe and live in a drivable community and be a part of that community," Doan said.   

Doan says Monterey is a long and vast road, and he thinks it may take more than $100 million over several years to completely transform it.