Nicole Leon and Jose Miranda with a photo of their friend Jamie Leonen, who was hit and killed walking outside Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in September. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Circulate San Diego is seeking changes in city priorities to reduce the number of traffic deaths — especially among pedestrians and bicyclists — after 54 people died on city streets in 2015.

“In San Diego we should be safe wherever we go no matter how we choose to get there,” said Kathleen Ferrier, director of advocacy for the group, at at press conference outside City Hall. “These deaths are preventable.”

Shoes symbolizing traffic fatalities.

Last year, 54 people were killed on city streets — 23 walking, five on bicycles, seven on motorcycles and 20 in vehicles. In addition, there were 145 serious injuries. The numbers are up from 2014, when 46 people were killed and 131 suffered serious injuries.

Circulate San Diego and partner organizations are trying to raise awareness of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” strategy, which seeks to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2025.

Ferrier and others at the press conference praised the effort but said more could be done, including:

  • Improved street design, optimum traffic light timing and slower speeds
  • Stepped up enforcement of traffic rules
  • Better education

Samantha Ollinger, executive director of Bike SD, urged San Diegans to press city leaders to end what she called “vehicle violence” in San Diego.

“Our leaders continue to prioritize vehicle convenience over public safety,” she said.

Organizers placed 54 pairs of shoes in Civic Center Plaza to symbolize the people killed, and the names of many of the victims were read aloud.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.