Advocates Aim To Bring 'Vision Zero' Movement To South County
Safe streets advocates released a new report Wednesday that aims to bring the "Vision Zero" movement to end all traffic deaths to four cities in southern San Diego County.
The report, released by the nonprofit Circulate San Diego, calls on Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach and Coronado to make changes to their policies and infrastructure to prioritize the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. The report found 2,387 bike or pedestrian crashes took place on the streets of those four cities between 2006 and 2016. Those collisions killed 87 people.
The Vision Zero movement calls on cities and towns to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries by redesigning their streets to prioritize pedestrian and bike safety, rather than the speed and convenience of car travel. The movement began in Sweden in the 1990s and has since spread to cities across the United States.
Maya Rosas, one of the report's authors, said Vision Zero was not just for big cities like New York and Los Angeles, and that traffic safety has to be a higher priority for smaller cities and suburbs, as well.
"There's no place where people losing their lives on the streets is acceptable, and so we really hope that South County is a leader and adopts Vision Zero and Vision Zero policies to save lives," she said.
The report also identifies the five most dangerous corridors for bicyclists and pedestrians in each of the four cities. The streets most prone to bike or pedestrian crashes were Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, Highland Avenue in National City, Broadway in Chula Vista and Route 75 in Coronado.
The San Diego City Council passed Vision Zero a resolution in 2015 calling on the city to end traffic deaths by 2025. The city is far from achieving that goal, however, with the number of pedestrian deaths doubling last year compared to 2017.
Rosas said successful Vision Zero cities use a data-driven approach that focuses their limited funds on improving safety along their most dangerous corridors.
"Vision Zero is so much more than adopting a resolution that your city is a Vision Zero city," she said. "Vision Zero is about action. And so what we're hoping for with our report is that South County cities see our recommendations for how to act now to save lives, and that they focus on these policies and ways to prioritize funding so that they can save lives right away, and not wait for a future time where that makes sense."
Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina and National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis were scheduled to appear at a Wednesday morning press conference announcing the new report.