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San Jose Kooser Road safety improvements meeting

Posted by on June 1, 2017

San Jose DOT will repave Kooser Road from Camden Avenue to Blossom Hill Road later in 2017. As part of the pavement project, the City of San Jose DOT plans a 4-3 lane reduction between Camden and Meridian. The community can give their input on these plans at a community meeting Tuesday, June 6th, 2017, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at Vineland Branch Library, 1450 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose, CA.

Kooser Road San Jose safety improvements project

Kooser is currently four lanes between Camden and Blossom Hill, with no bike lanes, and street parking on both sides west of Meridian. After repaving, the city plans to re-stripe Kooser to three lanes between Camden and Meridian, with bike lanes for the entire length of Kooser on both sides of the street.

City of San Jose DOT says these changes will improve Safety by decreasing vehicle speeds, improving safety for motor vehicles turning in and out of driveways and to and from side streets, decreasing the number of lanes that must be crossed when walking across the street, and adding bike lanes; provide safe(r) routes to schools, namely for Lietz Elementary School and Dartmouth Middle School; improve neighborhood livability by calming traffic and creating a more comfortable environment to walk and bike; and leverage resources by implementing with the City’s annual pavement maintenance program.

There are currently no good east-west bike corridors in this part of San Jose; the nearest east-west bike route that’s reasonably connected to anything is Curtner Avenue three miles to the north. I’m an aggressive rider, but I personally avoid this part of San Jose because biking here can be extremely unpleasant. Even the Strava global heatmap shows Kooser (the east-west road highlighted in the map below) is not a popular route.

Kooser Road cycling heat map

Still, people need to get around, even in car-dependent Kooser + Dartmouth neighborhoods in San Jose’s District 9, represented by Donald Rocha. SWITRS shows five collisions involving a cyclist and another six involving pedestrians on Kooser Road from 2006 through 2016.

Kooser Road cycling / pedestrian collisions SWITRS 2006-2016

We see another five cyclists were injured in the same time period on nearby Blossom Hill Road, along with three pedestrians, one of which was a fatality.

The four-three lane reduction is warranted because Kooser has low traffic volumes and high speeds with a history of collisions. Four to five traffic collisions are reported on Kooser every year.

Several years ago the city tried to replace street parking with bike lanes on Kooser; the residents shot it down. Hopefully the residents might be more amenable to reducing lane capacity on Kooser; it can’t be pleasant living on a street with 50 MPH traffic zooming past. Still, a few voices speaking up for active transportation in South San Jose can’t hurt if you can make it.

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