SAN DIEGO — San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recently launched a new online interactive mapping tool to help identify streets with safety problems around the county.
Developed as part of the county’s Vision Zero plan to prevent traffic incidents, the tool allows the community to submit complaints about issues relating to safety on county roadways, as well as provide suggestions or comments. All feedback is publicly available online.
The tool is already gaining some recognition among the loved ones of road traffic victims —especially since Friday marked World Remembrance Day for those lost in collisions.
The nonprofit organization, Families for Safer Streets San Diego, held a candlelight vigil at the Civic Center on Friday to honor the loved ones lost and to continue to demand elected officials invest in street improvements.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. So much has happened and he’s missing so much,” said Laura Keenan, founder of the Families for Safe Streets San Diego.
Keenan lost her husband, Matt, in September 2021 in a collision on Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley. A wrong-way driver struck him while he was riding his bicycle in the bike lane. Keenan says her now-three-year-old son, Evan, still asks for daddy.
“I told Evan it was dad’s birthday, he got excited and said ‘Is daddy coming?’” she said. “I had to say, ‘No, he’s dead and that means we don’t get to see him anymore.'”
Since starting her work with Families for Safe Streets, Keenan explained that she has identified 15 dangerous intersections in the City of San Diego. She has also suggested over 75 miles of bike paths and ways local governments can help residents better adhere to guidelines for roads.
But, Keenan said that the safety of the street where Matt died has not been improved in the two years since the collision.
“They could make it more difficult to go deadly speeds, if they aren’t going to put physical protection there,” Keenan said of the roadway. “But we need the action to show it, and I fight for that.”
Keenan said SANDAG’S new online tool, where people identify needed traffic improvements, could make a great partner.
“It gets people engaged and allows them to see how many places in the county people feel unsafe, I think awareness is number one,” Keenan said. “I think also it allows for prevention to happen.”
The county averages about 250 traffic deaths every year, according to Antoinette Meier, senior director of regional planning at SANDAG. The new app, she added, will help the county identify where their resources would be used best to help improve roadway safety.
On Friday with the day of remembrance, the demand for safer streets grew louder.
“These are loved ones and wouldn’t you do anything you can do to save your loved one, wouldn’t you follow best practices, that should be the starting point, not what is convenient,” Keenan said.
SANDAG plans to have the interactive mapping tool live for a few months, through the end of the year. It will join other data portals available to county residents, including the SANDAG traffic dashboard.
The tool does not require a login or an account. Once the site closes, SANDAG will compile the data and recommendations to create an action plan. They will present a plan draft to the public by next summer.