Caltrans Installs Small Road Diet on Outer San Jose Where Man Was Killed

San Jose Avenue looking south near Alemany Boulevard. Photo: Brian Coyne

Caltrans has converted two general traffic lanes to bike lanes and a center turn lane on a deadly stretch of San Jose Avenue just south of highway 280, where 69-year-old Hector Arana was killed by a driver while crossing the street in March.

Instead of six speed-inducing through lanes, the five-block stretch of San Jose between Alemany Boulevard and Flournoy Street, near the Daly City border, now has four lanes, the same configuration as San Jose to the south. However, it appears that only three of those blocks have bike lanes. Because the street is part of a state highway route, Caltrans has jurisdiction over its design.

“It’s only a few blocks, but hopefully it’s the start of a real commitment by Caltrans to making all of State Route 82 more bike and pedestrian friendly,” said Brian Coyne, who stumbled upon the road diet.

The improvements should have some calming effect on motor traffic on the stretch where Arana was run down in March. In the photo Coyne submitted, it’s unclear if any crosswalk markings were added on San Jose at the intersection with Leibig Street, where Arana was reportedly struck, though “sharks teeth” markings can be seen at the Rice Street crosswalk a block away.

Treatments like road diets and shark’s teeth have been shown to increase the chances that drivers will yield to pedestrians and prevent crashes like the one that killed Arana, which police at the time deemed nothing more than an “unfortunate accident.”