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After 55 Traffic Deaths In San Jose This Year, 'Vision Zero' Still Has Long Way To Go

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Despite efforts to eliminate traffic deaths in San Jose, 2021 will go down as one of the deadliest on the city's roads.

The city has installed flashing lights at busy crosswalks, put in traffic bollards to separate bike lanes from car lanes and even removed lanes of traffic, all in a coordinated effort to make the streets safer.

It's called the "Vision Zero" project, aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities.

But in 2021, 55 people have lost their lives on city streets, which is close to the record of 60 set in 2015.

San Jose Bollard
Traffic bollard separates cars from bicycles in Downtown San Jose. (CBS)

"We've got less than a month to go. Sixty is certainly a number we want to avoid, if we can. We like to prevent any further traffic deaths this year," Colin Heyne of the San Jose Department of Transportation told KPIX 5.

The official numbers from City Hall show a steady increase in collisions and fatalities throughout the year.

Thirty-six percent of the fatalities involved pedestrians; many were crossing streets outside the crosswalks. Meanwhile, 20% of the deaths were to unhoused people.

And 31% were caused by speeding.

"I'm up in the morning and there are more cars out." Lisa Madden said.

Madden ditched her car last year and is walking and riding the bus more. She said speeds increased during the COVID-19 lockdown.

"People are returning to work now and that will probably slow the drive down," she said.

San Jose's Department of Transportation is looking for answers, and seeking input from the community.

But they admit that this far down the road, the numbers should be declining instead of going the other way, with the holiday period still ahead.

"We're working through outreach and education to try and slow speeds down on the streets, to make it safer. To make it so that if there is a collision, it is less dangerous and less deadly," Heyne said.

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