San Francisco News

People ask San Francisco officials to help prevent pedestrian deaths

Friday, January 17, 2014

There have been an alarming number of pedestrian deaths in San Francisco, so city officials are trying to do something about it. Since December, there have been more than a half-dozen fatal pedestrian accidents.

According to police, Octavia Boulevard at Market Street is the most dangerous intersection in the city. Even with all the warning signs and lights, people say it's definitely a risky place to cross the street. It is estimated two to three pedestrians get hit by a car every day in San Francisco -- that's approximately 800 people a year. Now people want the city to do something about it.

"They'll drive up on you and then turn all on you, in front of you, go around you," said pedestrian Fred Evans.

Last November a car struck and killed a man in a wheelchair at Octavia Boulevard and Market Street. He was one of 21 pedestrians killed in San Francisco last year. There were seven in the month of December alone, including 6-year-old Sofia Liu who was killed in a Tenderloin crosswalk on New Year's Eve.

"I come back this way every day, every morning and I have people making right-hand turns right in front of me," said Denise Downs, a bicyclist.

Now pedestrian and bicycle advocates want the city to adopt a program called "vision zero" with a goal to reduce these fatalities to zero through education and enforcement. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr says many of the drivers admit to being on the phone.

"Sadly, there's a lot of people being distracted, and a lot of them have been getting tickets lately and there's going to be more of that," said Suhr.

"And when I started walking, next thing I know I was flying on the car and through the air," said Jikaiah Stevens, a victim.

Stevens suffered brain damage when she was struck in a crosswalk last year. Police admit many drivers don't get a ticket unless police witness it.

"You can get a suspended license and go to traffic school for speeding tickets. Why not at least that for hitting a human being?" said Stevens to the city administrators.

Police are promising to investigate and prosecute more cases, while educating the public. But they're also reminding pedestrians to pay attention, even when they have the right of way.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
SFPD, pedestrian struck, new year's eve, children, crime, tenderloin, san francisco city hall, san francisco news, alan wang
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