City plans safety upgrades at 15 dangerous intersections

SAN DIEGO -- City officials said Monday they hope to have safety upgrades at San Diego's 15 most dangerous intersections completed or in the pipeline by early summer.

The goal was outlined both in a memorandum and verbally during the presentation of a performance audit of city programs meant to improve pedestrian safety.

The audit -- accepted unanimously by the council -- called for more countdown timers, audible traffic signals and high-visibility crosswalks to be installed at the intersections, and for San Diego police officers to use more data in enforcing traffic laws. For example, the auditors found that five types of traffic violations result in 38 percent of pedestrian collisions, but represent just 3 percent of citations.

The intersections include:

  • downtown, First Avenue at A Street, Sixth Avenue at G Street;
  • North Park, 30th Street at North Park Way, 30th Street at University Avenue, and University Avenue at Vermont Street;
  • Hillcrest, Sixth Avenue at Robinson Street;
  • Pacific Beach, Garnet Avenue at Mission Boulevard, Garnet Avenue at Cass Street, and Ingraham Street at La Playa Avenue;
  • Barrio Logan, Cesar E. Chavez Parkway at Logan Avenue;
  • La Jolla, La Jolla Village Drive at the southbound Interstate 5 off- ramp;
  • Memorial, Ocean View Boulevard at S. 32nd Street;
  • Palm City, Palm Avenue at 16th Street;
  • Bay Terraces, Paradise Valley and Deep Dell roads; and
  • City Heights, University Avenue at Marlborough Avenue.

The memo from Paz Gomez, a city deputy chief operating officer, said officials hope to have the improvements completed or "programmed" by the end of the current fiscal year -- June 30.

Since the locations are due for multiple types of upgrades, some installations have been completed, while others have not. According to the memo, pedestrian countdown timers have already been installed at 11 of the intersections, while five have received high-visibility crosswalks.

The auditors noted that 8,000 pedestrians have been injured and 270 killed in San Diego from 2001-15, with the toll rising significantly in recent years.

The method of improving pedestrian safety could branch out in the future toward longer stretches of roadways, rather than just where two streets meet.

"It's important to improve the corridors, as well as the intersections, to slow cars down and to protect our most vulnerable -- people in low-income neighborhoods, older adults and children," said Kathleen Ferrier of the advocacy group Circulate San Diego.

"Making the improvements outlined in the city memo at the intersections is important, but looking at the corridor approach ultimately enhances safety, and those kinds of changes is definitely needed," she said.

Ferrier received support from Councilman Chris Cate, who noted problems with speeding in two neighborhoods he represents, Clairemont and Mira Mesa.