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Pedestrian Fatalities Reach All-Time High In San Jose In 2019

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- A pedestrian was struck and killed in East San Jose Saturday night, marking the city's 25th pedestrian fatality, an all-time high.

San Jose police say at 10:09 p.m., officers responded to a call on Story Road at Karl Street. Investigators say a 37-year-old man was walking on Story Road in the number two lane and was struck by a Hyundai. The victim was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the Hyundai pulled over and cooperated with investigators. It does not appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, police said. The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office has not yet released the name of the victim.

The incident is not only the 25th pedestrian fatality, but also the city's 56th traffic related fatality. The all-time high for total traffic related deaths is 60, set in 2015.

"Not surprised," said Brandon Alvarado upon hearing the news of the new city record.

Alvarado, the chair of the San Jose Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, keeps several "ghost bikes" on hand, ready to install at roadside memorials. The ghost bikes, spray painted white, are meant to recognize the death of bicyclists struck and killed while riding on the streets.


Alvarado is skeptical but optimistic that change will come in light of the new tragic milestone.

"I look forward to see what the city continues to do in the near future," said Alvarado, "It's just such a large problem that I think it will take time. I don't know if we have the resources to really fix the large problem soon enough."

Kelly Snider, a land use consultant and adjunct professor at San Jose State, says drivers must start owning up to their bad behavior.

"I think in a lot of these cases driver still tend to blame the pedestrians, or bicyclist. Often, they think they are blameless behind the wheel and it's the responsibility of those getting hit to wear brighter clothes, or hurry across the street. Even if they have the right of way. So it's a change of mindset and a change of behavior, I think," said Snider.

"I don't think people understand how urban a city that we are, and how little driving we should be doing. It's going to require people changing their day to day habits and driving less. Period. And that is a reckoning that we're not quite ready to make, in my opinion," said Snider.

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Snider said data shows that modifying current driving habits could come relatively quickly if city leaders make the decision to do so.

"The road diets are a really strong indication that if you change the infrastructure, and change the things that we're building out there, people will drive differently. You don't just ask them to do it, you force them to do it. And if you take lanes away, if you add in stop signs and lights, then what you're going to get is different behavior," said Snider.

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