When it’s time to head anywhere is your first instinct to grab your car keys? If you’re like the majority of people in San Jose the answer to that question is yes. The number of automobiles registered in our city (and the number of them on the streets at any given time) has increased for decades as we’ve all become dependent on our rides. Unfortunately, this increase in auto traffic has left San Jose (especially central areas) overcrowded, difficult to get around, and frustratingly tight—especially during rush hour.
This crush has also contributed to the number of serious pedestrian accidents in San Jose as well. The number of people hurt or killed by automobiles on our streets is at a twenty year high. (What should you do if you’re hit by a car in San Jose?) As a San Jose personal injury attorney, I see way too many of these tragic accidents! And while there’s no easy solution to that terrible problem, the Walk San Jose organization hopes that by getting more people out from behind the wheel and walking they can change attitudes and lives forever.
More People On Foot is Good For Everyone
San Jose is just one of the big cities in California that is rapidly trying to make itself more “walkable.” Pedestrian safety and access plans seem to be all the rage with city planners for a number of reasons:
- It decreases auto congestion
- It decreases smog production
- It’s healthy alternative transportation for sedentary city folks
- It increases pedestrian visibility and awareness
- It’s cheaper for municipalities
These plans have gained tremendous support and many have invested huge amounts of public and private money into re-engineering projects and public awareness campaigns in order to decrease the number of pedestrian accidents in San Jose. But not every project has to be a multi-million dollar monstrosity. Walk San Jose is hoping that even small-scale changes can have a positive effect in the long run.
What Walk San Jose is Doing
Installing signs. That’s it. These 47 new pedestrian-focused signs in Downtown San Jose point people to local dining, entertainment, and service options that are probably closer than they may have thought. The goal of these signs to let people see that sometimes it’s better to hoof it to wherever you need to be. In fact, in urban areas it’s often quicker to walk than to get your car, fight through traffic, and hunt for a parking spot.
But these signs aren’t necessarily about promoting local businesses. They’re designed to help change people’s minds and make folks realize that the automobile is not the only (or even the best) option. By opening people’s eyes to alternative transportation, Walk San Jose hopes to ultimately decrease the number of pedestrian accidents in San Jose.
While this movement would make a significant social and economic change within our city, it will also help to decrease the number of pedestrian accident in San Jose as well.
More Pedestrians, More Accidents?
It may seem counterintuitive to think that putting more pedestrians on the street would actually decrease the number of auto collisions. Indeed, as a pedestrian accident attorney, I’ve seen the aftermath of pushing foot traffic too close to cars. Indeed, with the rise of distracted driving in San Jose, increasing pedestrian traffic seems like a recipe for disaster. But studies from around the world have shown that cities which invest in foot traffic are able to change the auto-centric mentality that has controlled their development to this point.
Such movements force city planners to take into account the needs of pedestrians, they force drivers to share the road, and they can ultimately rewire an entire populace to think differently.
Not an Overnight Solution
Unlike segregated pedestrian pathways, simple public education campaigns won’t prevent pedestrian accidents in San Jose overnight. Indeed, San Jose has committed to spending a total of over $14 million to improve traffic safety in the city. Until the lofty goal of decreasing collisions is achieved, victims will still need legal assistance to get the financial compensation they deserve. That’s where the experienced team of San Jose personal injury attorneys at Sally Morin Law can help.
Sally and her expert team of lawyers have been helping seriously injured victims put their lives back together after devastating traffic accidents for over a decade. For example, our team recently recovered $100 thousand for a motorist that was struck by a car that ran a red light.