If Cars Crashed Into Your House 23 Times, Would You Stay There?
This isn’t a rhetorical question, it actually has happened. In fact, 23 car crashes have happened, and at the corner of Bambi Lane, no less. Ray Minter has lived at his comfortable home in East San Jose, California, for over 60 years. In that time 23 cars, so far, have crashed into his house. How can that even happen?
How did the 23rd crash at Minter’s happen?
The latest was a 2016 GMC Sierra, ending up in his living room, just as Minter was dozing off to sleep. It happened since he took preventative measures installing metal gates, some poles, and a brick barrier around his house. This time, the house has become structurally compromised, and it totaled his Honda Accord. Oh, and it virtually leveled his garage.
“It was going 105 miles per hour when it pushed my car and everything into my garage,” Minter told San Jose Spotlight. “I wish I could tell you I was scared, but after years of dealing with this, you get used to it.” Really?
How has Minter protected his house from a potential crash?
The protective metal poles are 15 inches in diameter and buried five feet down. “All of them have been replaced several times,” Minter said. “Twice, a car has hit them and bounced right off. But sometimes, depending on how a car comes in, it doesn’t protect us at all.”
Minter has asked the City of San Jose to help him for over 50 years. Ever since building a new offramp for nearby I-680. Drivers don’t slow down speeding off the freeway. He’s offered suggestions, appealing to the city dozens of times. “They basically told me unless someone dies, we can’t do anything,” he says. “The city says it’s the state’s responsibility because the highway belongs to the state. And the state blames the city. I just gave up trying to talk to them.”
How many fatalities have resulted from car crash accidents?
If you look at records of the Jackson Avenue offramp, there have been 28 fatal or severe accidents, and 43 pedestrians hit. And all of this is just in the last five years. The city admits it is one of the most deadly streets, per mile, in San Jose. A Google Earth view of Jackson Avenue reveals several homes around Minter’s have also resorted to different forms of barriers.
The city hasn’t been idly watching the accidents pile up. It has plans to fix numerous problems on Jackson. And it has applied for a $40 million One Bay Area Grant to fund its solutions. The grant is a federal grant.
What is the city doing about it?
But the conceptualization, planning, budgeting, and a series of reviews and different construction bids take time, as in years. If funded, construction is estimated to begin in, but not before, 2026. And while the traffic roars by, and days become months and then years, traffic deaths are going up. Way up.
San Jose has seen deaths from accidents rise from 29 in 2019, to 60 last year. Estimates are that 2022 will see that number increase. There have already been over 40 deaths so far. “I can’t say that I’m hopeful,” Minter said. “In the city of San Jose, you just have to wait and see.”
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