San Jose's Japantown gets new stoplight at deadly intersection

Residents in San Jose are applauding the city for putting a new stoplight at a historically dangerous intersection in the Japantown area. This comes as the city continues to grapple with 64 pedestrian traffic deaths this year alone.    

Construction on the light project began last year and now that the stoplight is there, people say they’re looking forward to having a safer intersection with far fewer accidents.   

After years of car crashes and two traffic-related pedestrian deaths, residents say it’s a relief to know the new stoplight will help decrease the accidents they’ve witnessed at 6th and Taylor Streets.   

"I think one night me, and a paramedic cut a lady out of her car over here behind me. The car flipped upside down, and she couldn’t get out. So, he helped me, and I helped him hold her up, so he could cut her out. So we’ve seen a lot of accidents," said Isiah Daniels, a Japantown resident.    

Residents say getting new safety measures took longer than they would’ve liked, but they’re glad something has been done and the Japantown intersection is improving.    

"We’ve lived here for a number of years, and we were here during the time of that awful accident where the two seniors were killed in this very intersection. So, to see this light and the crossing lights go in, has brought peace of mind," said Teresa Patton, a Japantown resident who often walks with her dog near the intersection.     

San Jose’s Department of Transportation also added curb bulb-outs which reduce speed, create more walking space for pedestrians, and improve visibility for those crossing the street. The stoplight also has a system in which pushbuttons on a pole help people hear and see the signal commands.   

"So, thank you so much for this long, long awaited safety measure here at 6th and Taylor," said Victoria Taketa, Japantown Neighborhood Association Co-chair.      

The Japantown Neighborhood Association and city officials held a press conference last week to signify the importance of the new stoplight. City Councilman Raul Peralez, who’s also on the city’s Transportation and Environment Committee, talked about what it took to get the stoplight installed.   

"You have to show reasons why you’re going to reduce speeds or impede on the flow of traffic, so things like speed humps, stop signs, are another level of difficulty. And then this is the hardest, we had to put in a four-way traffic light and that’s one of the most challenging to be able to do," said Raul Peralez, San Jose City Council member for District 3.    

Another added feature is a designated, left turn signal. Meaning drivers will now have to wait for a green arrow at the stop light before turning left into this intersection.