BL SPECIAL REPORT: Robert Meiksens in collaboration with BenitoLink staff.
In an effort to serve our community fully, BenitoLink staff is working directly with writer and researcher, Robert Meiksens on an ongoing transportation and traffic series.
It’s getting bad out there. In June 2018, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 33 accidents were reported in San Benito County—that’s more than one per day. In total, 64 people were injured and two were killed. In June 2008, 18 accidents were reported with 25 injuries. The number of people injured in accidents in the month of June more than doubled.
Last November, county voters approved Measure G to do something about that, and the measure’s Citizens Oversight Committee is scheduled to begin its work on July 1.
Measure G is a major investment in roads by the county residents in the form of a 1% sales tax, which is expected to generate $16 million per year. These funds are intended to pay for implementation of the Transportation Safety and Investment Plan (TSIP), whose goal is to increase safety on the streets. According to statistics from the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) managed by UC-Berkeley, this makes sense because of a significant increase in the number of traffic accidents in San Benito County over the past 10 years:
- Overall, there has been a 25% increase in the number of accidents since 2008.
- In that same time, the number of fatalities increased from four to 12, and the number of people injured increased from 332 to 445.
The TSIP plan’s cost is $485 million, roughly half of which is targeted for widening State Route 25. TIMS statistics provide justification for this:
- The number of accidents on SR-25 was 39 in 2008, jumping to 64 in 2018, an increase of 64%.
- The number of accidents on SR-25 that occurred during the work week more than doubled in that 10-year period.
BenitoLink will be keeping an eye on this project and over the coming days we will be looking further into the statistics and questions that surround Measure G.
For example, to what extent has Santa Clara County agreed to participate in the redevelopment of State Route 25? Will the Citizens Oversight Committee respond to errors such as the recent change to a curve on 25 that will now cost a total of $11 million to repair? In addition, what can we learn from the statistics about traffic accidents in San Benito County? Are they due to an increase in commuters? Are they about the roads, or about inattentive drivers?
BenitoLink will continue this series of reports with researcher/writer Meiksens and provide answers to these and many more critical questions.