The San Jose City Council took action this week in hopes of making one of the city’s deadliest intersections safer for people crossing the street. Seven people have been killed while walking near Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue. Six of the deaths have been attributed to hit and run drivers. The city council signed off on a new pilot program that will install barriers at the intersection early next year at the cost of up to $50,000. According to the Mercury News, crews will put in a large chainlink fence along the median of Monterey Road which will force people to use the crosswalks at the intersection to get all the way across.
The intersection of Monterey Road and Curtner Avenue sits in district 7 which is represented by Councilmember Maya Esparza who originally pushed the program. “This intersection has become a problem, particularly at night. Particularly when I do that drive late at night on a Friday and Saturday night I see a lot of erratic driving. We’re doing the prevention and the other part is the justice,” Esparza told San Jose Spotlight.
Esparza is also asking the city of San Jose to install four traffic cameras at the intersection to possibly catch hit and run drivers and other criminals in the future. The cameras would cost around $35,000 to install and the city is currently looking at video data space and privacy concerns before making a decision. “The cameras are important because of the number of incidents there. But in my mind, for me, the prevention is more important than the after-effect,” Councilmember David Cohen told Mercury News. “Our goal should be to prevent incidents like this, so the barriers and other physical things that we can do to prevent incidents should be our primary objective,” Cohen said.
Monterey Road seems to be the bigger problem because people often reach speeds they would use on a highway. Part of the reason is the road feels like a highway because it runs all the way down to Gilroy. Another issue is homelessness. At least 2 of the 7 victims in this year’s deadly pedestrian crashes were said to be people who were living on the streets in nearby camps. Some were crossing illegally. The city housing department is expected to reach out to the homeless population living near the intersection to help teach them how to be safe when crossing and to alert them about the new barriers.