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Pedestrian safety focus of San Diego critical audit

A recent report by the San Diego's City Auditor's Office was critical of the process used by the city when determining where to modernize crosswalks and intersections.

The report stated that the traffic department should use data regarding pedestrian safety when deciding where to place these costly upgrades. Some intersections that hadn't been the site of accidents in 15 years or more were upgraded with countdown times and flashing beacons. Conversely, dangerous intersections where countless wrecks occurred were being passed over for improvements.

The report also encouraged San Diego Police Department to utilize pedestrian collision data when determining where to target and enforce traffic laws.

As the majority of San Diego's sidewalks and streets were built years ago when design standards maximized traffic flow to the detriment of pedestrian safety, the city must address this issue.

In 2015, the City Council endorsed "Vision Zero," a plan implemented in many cities across America. The goal is to wipe out all traffic deaths in San Diego by 2025. Plans call for narrower streets which will slow traffic down, incorporate more bicycle lanes and establish more visible crosswalks.

One component of Vision Zero calls for the creation of a citywide media campaign that educates residents about the necessity of safer streets. This campaign is due to go live in July 2017.

The audit found San Diego falling short of the mark in comparison to other cities.

"The City's current education and outreach efforts for pedestrian safety are not coordinated with other departments whose expertise could be used to develop a consistent, Citywide message." the report read.

A spokesperson for the city relayed in an email that San Diego has begun implementing many recommendations from the report, noting that $23 million has already been allocated for Vision Zero projects by the mayor.

Regardless of future developments, those who have been injured in pedestrian collisions can opt to seek compensation for their damages and losses.

Source: KPBS, "City Auditor Faults San Diego On Pedestrian Safety," Andrew Bowen, accessed Dec. 16, 2016

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