In September 2018, the City of La Mesa reaffirmed its commitment to traffic safety when City Council adopted a Vision Zero Policy. The Policy aims to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries to zero by 2025 through prioritizing safety within infrastructure projects and combining education and enforcement practices. Continue reading to learn more about Vision Zero, the City’s efforts to achieve this goal, and how you can get involved to support a safe La Mesa.
Vision Zero Strategy & Goals
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users by ensuring safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Vision Zero takes a proactive, preventative approach that prioritizes transportation and mobility safety as a public health issue.
Important to the strategy of Vision Zero is a shift from the traditional approach to traffic safety that assumes traffic fatalities are inevitable to the belief that traffic deaths are preventable through an improved roadway environment and policies that lessen the severity of crashes. Speed management, safe and equitable mobility for all transportation modes, and prioritizing community engagement are key elements of the Vision Zero strategy and plan.
The City takes an EEEEE approach to its Vision Zero Plan— focusing on key actions related to engineering, enforcement, education, emergency services, and emerging technologies.
Vision Zero and the Climate Action Plan
In March 2018, City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan (CAP), which establishes a long-range roadmap to reduce polluting greenhouse gas emissions. The CAP contains a Transportation strategy that outlines the City’s goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita. Included in this strategy are measures related to improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and providing bicycle safety education for the community.
While the specific goals of the Climate Action Plan may differ from those of the Vision Zero Policy, both plans aim to improve community-wide public health and quality of life. By investing in the safety of all road users — motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike — the City aims to promote biking and walking as a safe and healthy option in the community.
The CAP is currently undergoing a 5-year update and the City is interested to hear what residents want to see in a healthy, thriving community in relation to La Mesa's CAP. Learn more about the Climate Action Plan and the 5-year update here.
News & Events
Traffic Safety Educational Series
As a part of the City of La Mesa’s Vision Zero efforts, the City is partnering with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) to host a series of bicycle and traffic safety webinars, in person workshops, and events. Click here to view a calendar of all upcoming events and register today!
Local Road Safety Plan
The La Mesa Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) was developed in August 2021 and released in early 2023. The LRSP creates a framework for systematically identifying and analyzing safety problems and recommended safety improvements. An LRSP facilitates the development of partnerships and collaboration, resulting in a prioritized list of improvements and actions that can demonstrate a defined need within the community. The LRSP offers a proactive approach to addressing safety needs and demonstrates La Mesa’s responsiveness to safety challenges.
Plans & Programs
The City continues to look for ways to incorporate Vision Zero goals wherever possible. Current projects and plans that incorporate Vision Zero strategies and priorities include but are not limited to the following.
Neighborhood Traffic Management Program
The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) was established by City Council to help improve the quality of life for La Mesa residents by evaluating and implementing traffic calming measures, such as speed limit signage and speed humps, to reduce cut-through traffic and excessive vehicle speeds in their neighborhoods. The program allows residents to petition the City for traffic calming improvements in their neighborhood. Please find the petition here
Capital Improvement Program
The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is an ongoing program which attempts to match available funds with community plans and needs, in order to maintain and improve facilities and infrastructure in La Mesa. The CIP takes inventory of the City's existing infrastructure and facilities and then develops a prioritized project list consistent with Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals. CIP infrastructure improvements include bike lane and sidewalk connections, traffic signal upgrades, and pedestrian enhancements such as signalized crosswalks.
Bicycle Facilities and Alternative Transportation Plan
The City adopted the Bicycle Facilities and Alternative Transportation Plan in 2012 to promote a safe, convenient, and efficient environment for bicycle and pedestrian travel that encourages the use of public streets, off-street facilities, and public transit.
Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan
The Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan (UTMAP) was adopted by City Council in 2016 and presents a long range approach to identify pedestrian improvements and implementation strategies based on community input.
There are 9.5 miles of existing urban trails within La Mesa. These trails are marked and were established to provide recreational loops that take advantage of the City’s varying topography and Downtown district. You can view a map of these trails here.
Livable La Mesa Action Plan
In 2018, the City launched the Livable La Mesa Project which provides a variety of resources and workshops for residents of all ages. In October 2019, City Council adopted the Livable La Mesa Action Plan. The Plan aims to make La Mesa a more livable community for all of its residents and outlines goals and actions in six domains, including Transportation and Health & Wellness. Traffic safety and educational outreach are key components of the Transportation domain goals and objectives.
The Mobility Commission serves as an advisory body to City Council and may provide advice on matters related to traffic issues and other mobility issues as directed by the Council. The Mobility Commission advises the City on mobility issues including, but not limited to, the implementation of neighborhood traffic calming activities, Vision Zero, and other plans for mobility improvements. Find information about previous and upcoming Mobility Commission meetings here.
Vision Zero Network
The Vision Zero Network is a collaborative, nonprofit campaign helping communities set and reach the goal of Vision Zero — eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users — while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility. The City of La Mesa has been recognized as a Vision Zero Network member since 2019. Learn more about the Vision Zero Network here.
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) is a local non-profit organization that advocates for and protects the rights of bicyclists. The SDCBC offers a wide range of educational courses, training, and workshops related to bicycle skills and safety, all led by instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. The City has partnered with the SDCBC on many of its bike safety events. Learn more about the SDCBC and the resources they offer here.
Walking safely is an integral part of the Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries. To contribute to this goal, it is crucial to prioritize safety while walking. This involves remaining attentive and alert, being aware of one's surroundings, and obeying traffic regulations and signals. Utilizing designated pedestrian crossings and sidewalks whenever possible helps reduce the risk of accidents. Wearing high-visibility clothing or accessories enhances visibility, especially in low-light conditions, reducing the chance of collisions. Moreover, avoiding distractions like electronic devices and staying focused can significantly enhance pedestrian safety. Additionally, trusting one's instincts and avoiding unfamiliar or poorly lit areas contributes to a safer walking experience. By aligning our actions with the principles of Vision Zero, we can actively promote pedestrian safety and work towards the shared goal of zero fatalities on our roads.
Urban Trails & La Mesa Walks
Want to go for a walk in La Mesa but don’t know where to start? Check out the La Mesa Urban Trails, which range from beginner to advanced in difficulty. There are three different routes, each marked with colored markers based on level.
Want to walk with others? Join us Wednesday mornings at 9:00 AM for La Mesa Walks, and walks with friends and neighbors throughout La Mesa and our surrounding communities!
Learn more about both our Urban Trails and La Mesa Walks here.
Click here to learn more about the City’s existing sidewalks and future plans to expand the sidewalk networks within the community.
Click the following links to learn more about how to stay safe and share the road as a pedestrian.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Ped Safety
Biking safely plays a vital role in supporting the Vision Zero initiative, which strives for zero traffic-related fatalities and injuries. When biking, it is crucial to prioritize safety by wearing a properly fitted helmet and bright, high-visibility clothing. Adhering to traffic laws, including signaling turns and stopping at red lights, helps create a predictable and safe environment for all road users. Utilizing designated bike lanes and paths whenever available enhances cyclist safety by providing a dedicated space away from motorized traffic. Being aware of one's surroundings, avoiding distractions, and maintaining a steady speed also contribute to biking safely. Furthermore, engaging in ongoing education about cycling safety and regularly maintaining the bike's brakes, tires, and lights is essential. By adopting these practices and aligning our actions with Vision Zero principles, we can actively promote safer biking and work towards the ultimate goal of zero biking-related injuries and fatalities.
Click the following links to learn more about how to stay safe and share the road as a bicyclist.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Bike Safely
Driving safely is of paramount importance in supporting the Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and injuries. To contribute to this goal, drivers must prioritize safe and responsible behaviors on the road. This includes obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions like mobile devices, and refraining from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Staying vigilant and being aware of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles helps create a safer driving environment. Following traffic rules, such as using turn signals, yielding to pedestrians, and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, contributes to the overall safety of all road users. Additionally, practicing defensive driving techniques, such as anticipating potential hazards and adjusting speed accordingly, can prevent accidents. By adopting these safe driving practices and embracing the principles of Vision Zero, drivers can actively contribute to the mission of creating safer roads and working towards zero traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
Click the following links to learn more about how to stay safe and share the road as a motorist.
Go Safely California - Media Toolkit
Go Safely California - Drivers