San Jose to form new task force in an attempt to curb traffic-related deaths

The San Jose City Council voted Tuesday night to allocate nearly $7 million toward reducing traffic fatalities through their Vision Zero program. The goal of Vision Zero in San Jose has been to eliminate traffic fatalities altogether.

Instead, in 2019 the city recorded 60, the same number as the year the program launched. The number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities were the highest on record.

The San Jose City Council decided something needed to be done. They'll be forming a new task force to help guide the spending.

"We're going in the wrong direction absolutely. And that's why we last night voted to sort of double, triple down on our efforts," said councilman Raul Peralez. "When you're talking about individuals losing their life out there on a road pedestrians, bicyclists, we need to invest in that today to be able to literally save lives."

Their focus will be on extreme trouble spots what they call their 'priority safety corridor.'

"We came up with a map of just 3% of our roadway network that's accountable for 50% of our severe injuries and crashes," says Colin Heyne with the department of transportation.

The idea is to do 'quick build' improvements on those roadways, including using temporary materials like plastic bollards. 

"We're going to be using plastic, paint, signal timing, quick build materials other than concrete, to let us do projects quickly and at a fraction of the cost of traditional projects," says Heyne.

The hope is to address 11 miles of roadway each year.

Pedestrians are hopeful this might make a difference.

"I think that's a good thing because let's be real, we all want to be safe when we walk around the city. Don't want to be driving all the time. For us pedestrians it's always good to have a safer way of going home," says pedestrian Aaron Tu.

So far in 2020 there's been 3 traffic fatalities.