Focus Cities: An update on San Diego’s most dangerous intersections
This post, by our partners at Circulate San Diego, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Crossing the street is one of the most dangerous activities a person does every day. That’s why Circulate San Diego has been working with the City of San Diego to adopt and implement a Vision Zero strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025.
In February, 2017, Circulate San Diego released a list of the Fatal Fifteen, the most dangerous intersections in the City of San Diego. Shortly after, the City Auditor released the Pedestrian Safety Performance Audit, which included a list of 15 dangerous intersections. Circulate’s Fatal Fifteen intersections had the highest collision rates in the City, whereas the City Auditor’s list included the intersections with the highest collisions and which were also lacking in three basic improvements: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and countdown audible signals. These lists had some overlap but were mostly different, resulting in 26 intersections across the two lists. Circulate reviewed a tracking table from the City for both lists of intersections, which includes valuable information such as recommended improvements, the status of those improvements, and the cost. It shows that the City has made progress by installing improvements at many of these intersections but that there is still more work that needs to be done to save lives.
1. Many intersections have been improved.
Circulate San Diego is thankful for and encouraged by the progress the City has made to install improvements to the City’s most dangerous intersections. Below, we have highlighted two intersections that show the City’s progress:
University Avenue and Menlo Avenue
University Avenue and Menlo is a Fatal Fifteen intersection on a Vision Zero corridor in City Heights. At this unsignalized intersection, on a four-lane major corridor, the City added a pedestrian refuge, repainted a continental crosswalk, and added a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon.
Paradise Valley Road & Deep Dell Road
Paradise Valley Road and Deep Dell Road is perhaps the most dangerous intersection in the City of San Diego. According to data provided by the City, It is one of the top five locations with the most fatal or severe pedestrian crashes and is one of Circulate San Diego’s Fatal Fifteen. The City identified 10 projects to improve this intersection, including installing a red curb, upgrading pedestrian ramps, and adding high visibility crosswalks (pictured). Seven out of 10 improvements have been funded and completed.
2. Improvements are still needed at dangerous intersections.
While the progress on many of the Fatal Fifteen intersections represents an improvement, numerous projects remain unfunded even though the City has identified those projects as integral to improve the safety of dangerous intersections. Of the Fatal Fifteen intersections, all are partially or completely funded for at least some improvements. Of the 15 intersections identified by the pedestrian audit, eight intersections contain at least one recommended improvement currently lacking funding. Of those eight intersections, we have highlighted below two that call for serious improvements.
Cass Street & Garnet Avenue
The City identified this intersection in Pacific Beach as one of its top 15 priorities for installing improvements. The City has stipulated seven recommended improvements, yet only four have been funded and completed: installing pedestrian countdown timers, high visibility crosswalks, audible pedestrian signals, and Left Turn Yield signs. The City’s recommendations of installing “needed accessibility improvements,” upgrading 8 inch signal indications to 12 inch, and updating street lights to latest standard LED lack funding. The City puts the cost of the three unfunded recommendations at $68,500.
Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue
Populated by locals and tourists and located in the heart of Pacific Beach, this intersection is also one of the City’s most dangerous. Circulate San Diego designated Mission Boulevard & Garnet Avenue as a Fatal Fifteen intersection and the City placed this intersection on its top 15 list for intersection improvements. In order to improve the safety of this intersection, the City made six recommendations: 1) install continental crosswalks; 2) install pedestrian countdown timers; 3) install audible pedestrian countdown timers; 4) install needed accessibility improvements; 5) install Left Turn Yield signs; and 6) upgrade street lighting. The City has installed continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, audible pedestrian countdown timers, and Left Turn Yield signs; however, installing needed accessibility improvements and upgrading street lighting remain unfunded. According to the City, completing the rest of the recommended improvements would cost only $14,500.
The City has made great strides to install continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, red curbs, and/or left turn yield signs on most of the 26 (the combination of both lists of most dangerous intersections) intersections where those improvements were needed. Based on the data from the City on high pedestrian crash locations, the City has been proactive by installing these and other low-cost improvements. Unfortuantely, the more costly recommended improvements such as upgrading street lighting and accessibility improvements frequently lack programmed funding.
Since the City has been proactive in implementing numerous, low-cost improvements and financing others, 16 of the 26 dangerous intersections have all their recommended improvements either completed or funded for implementation by the City. However, crucial improvements for the remaining intersections have been placed on the unfunded needs list.
The following table lists the names of the 26 dangerous intersections and the recommended improvements yet to be funded. The Fatal Fifteen intersections are in bold while the City’s top 15 intersections are in italics, and the four intersections that overlap are in bold and italic.
Name of IntersectionCouncil DistrictListed Estimated Cost ($)Recommended Intersection Improvements that Currently Lack FundingMission Blvd & Garnet Av214,500Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade street lightingPalm (SB) Av & 16th (SB) St*80N/AParadise Valley Rd & Deep Dell Rd414,356Upgrade street lighting, install 2 signal headsUniversity Av & Marlborough Av90All improvements funded or completed4th Av & B St30All improvements funded or completed**5th Av & B St30All improvements funded or completed**6th Av. & Broadway 30All improvements funded or completed**Broadway & 5th Av30All improvements funded or completed**Coronado (SB) Av & Thermal Av80All improvements funded or completed**El Cajon Bl & 36th St30All improvements funded or completedEuclid Av & Naranja St40All improvements funded or completedUniversity Av & 52nd St90All improvements funded or completed**University Av & Fairmount Av90All improvements funded or completedUniversity Av & Menlo AV
90All improvements funded or completedUniversity Av & Park Bl30All improvements funded or completed**1st Av & A St361,000Develop project scope for pop-out on northwest corner30th St & North Park Wy32,500Upgrade lighting to LEDCass St & Garnet Av268,500Install needed accessibility improvements, upgrade 8” signal indications to 12”, update street lights to latest standard LEDCesar E Chavez PY & Logan Av*80N/AG St & 6th Av30All improvements funded or completedIngraham St & La Playa Av22,500Upgrade street lights to latest standard LEDLa Jolla Village Dr & I-5 Off-Ramp*10N/AOcean View Bl & 32nd St80All improvements funded or completedRobinson Av & 6th Av311,600Install needed accessibility improvementsUniversity Av & 30th St30All improvements funded or completedUniversity Av & Vermont St311,600Install needed accessibility improvementsTotal$186,556
** Listed Recommendation is to “Evaluate for audible pedestrian signals”
As shown in the table, the total amount of funding required to implement all the currently unfunded, recommended improvements is $186,556, according to the City’s estimates. The City of San Diego has made many intersections safer by implementing infrastructure improvements that Circulate San Diego advocated for: continental crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and audible pedestrian signals. Still, now is the time to prioritize pedestrian safety at intersections where lives are at risk, and where safety improvements have already been identified.
Cross-posted at Circulate San Diego’s site.