One of San Jose’s most dangerous streets will be getting new safety features to protect children going to school.
Councilmember Peter Ortiz and a group of parents from Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep, led by community organizer and teacher Blanca Carbajal, hosted a town hall Thursday to talk about a new crosswalk coming in front of the school at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and Woodset Lane. Residents have been raising concerns about pedestrian safety on Jackson Avenue for years, citing high levels of traffic accidents.
The new high-visibility crosswalk will include flashing signs and an island between both sides of traffic. It will cost about $100,000 and is funded through Ortiz’s District 5 budget, he said. Construction is slated to begin by next spring, according to Ortiz’s office.
Ortiz said many of the city’s most dangerous roads cross through his district, which has a history of inequitable funding for traffic infrastructure.
“I know there have been close calls with families in the area, so I think the most rewarding piece this will bring is the peace of mind,” Ortiz told San José Spotlight.
The school is located in the East San Jose Mayfair neighborhood, which houses predominantly low-income families who do not own cars, making traffic safety a top priority, Carbajal said. Just last month, a driver hit and killed a pedestrian on the stretch of Jackson Avenue where the crosswalk will be placed, Carbajal added.
“We’re really excited because parents are really involved, and they know about the needs of the community, especially for the crosswalk,” Carbajal told San José Spotlight.
Rocketship parent Marco Romero said the people in the neighborhood who walk across Jackson Avenue to stores and businesses will be safer with a crosswalk in place.
“This crosswalk is for the community, not only for the school,” Romero told San José Spotlight.
This marks progress on improving one of the city’s 17 most dangerous roads, which are predominately in East San Jose. During the last decade, the roads have become increasingly dangerous with traffic deaths more than doubling from 29 in 2010 to 60 in 2021. Last year was a record high, with 65 people dying on San Jose’s streets. As of last week, San Jose has recorded 41 traffic fatalities so far this year.
Other dangerous roads being improved include the Story Road-Keyes Street corridor, which is receiving $45 million in safety improvements. Ortiz said he is looking forward to redesigning King Road, especially after a woman and infant died in an accident on that street earlier this year.
The installation of the crosswalk and the community engagement from Ortiz and former Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco makes Carbajal hopeful, she said. It shows an increase in city investment into making the neighborhood safer.
“We’re really, really excited (to) see this coming to light and see our kids come into the school safe,” Carbajal said. “That’s exciting and we’re almost there.”