Roughly 1,000 people were hit walking or biking in San Diego in 2014.
“The biggest factor and thing we`re most interested in addressing is speed,” said Jim Stone, Executive Director of Circulate, a non-profit which set a goal of getting rid of all pedestrian deaths by the year 2025, a campaign called “Vision Zero.”
Speed is the most concerning factor at eight corridors in San Diego, including El Cajon Boulevard, Market Street, Euclid Avenue, Garnet Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Imperial Avenue, Broadway and the "worst street" University Avenue.
Stone said he would like to see the city narrow lanes on these streets in order to slow down drivers, something called a “road diet.”
He also said pedestrians need to pay attention, too.
“Certainly, pedestrians have a responsibility. If you`re walking, you need to pay attention but people are fallible, they make mistakes," Stone said. "I don't think it should be a death sentence if they step off the curb at the wrong time."
This issue has become so critical, for the first time ever, the city has put together a comprehensive plan on how to make streets safer for pedestrians.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s current $3.2 billion budget proposal suggests spending $41 million on infrastructure and improve 1,000 miles of streets over the next 5 years. He has nearly $8 million set aside for streetlights and sidewalk repair.
The city is also focused on adding bike lanes and improving crosswalks. Bill Harris, who works in the Transportation and Sewer Department which oversees all road improvements, said more than 20 crosswalks with high traffic are getting more lights and brighter lines in an effort to alert cars to slow down.
“Anything we can do to give pedestrians a lead time by adding a voice in the crosswalk and adding flashing in lights, that`s the new model moving forward,” said Harris.
Faulconer also wants to add 104 positions to the transportation department to handle the influx in work associated with the improvements, something Harris said, is a sign the city is serious about reducing the number of incidents involving cars and people.
The mayor’s budget does not specifically call for narrowing the roads, Stone said. However, the organization said it is encouraged by the city’s commitment and progress.