San Francisco News

Advocacy group wants monthly pedestrian safety projects

Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Pedestrian fatally struck in San Francisco Sunset Boulevard

Another pedestrian was hit and killed in San Francisco Tuesday, just as the city's transportation agency was holding a meeting about pedestrian safety. According to the advocacy group Walk SF, it was the second pedestrian fatality of the year. And, they say the city has the tools to make it one of the last.

The collision happened just before 11 a.m. The victim was crossing Sunset Boulevard near Yorba Street. According to police, the man went through the windshield of a red Toyota carrying three women. They were injured, but not seriously.

The death came just a couple of hours before the Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved what's known as "Vision Zero," a strategy designed to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero by the year 2024.

Asked if Vision Zero is realistic, MTA Director Ed Reiskin said, "I think it's the right goal to have. We shouldn't accept, in a great city like ours that on the one hand, is voted often to be one of the most walkable cities in the country. We shouldn't have people dying as they're walking on the streets of our great city."

Last year was a near record as 21 pedestrians lost their lives in collisions. Six-year-old Sofia Liu was hit on the last day of 2013 in the crosswalk of a Tenderloin street. "Sofia's death was extremely touching and it was definitely a point where community came together and said, 'We need to do something about this,'" said neighborhood activist Priya Sawhney.

"Six percent of our street network is responsible for 60 percent of all pedestrian injuries and the collision today at Sunset is another example of that," said Nicole Schneider.

Schneider's group Walk San Francisco is asking for one project each month for the next two years at the most dangerous intersections including reduced speed limits, signal re-timing, turn restrictions, curb extensions to make pedestrians more visible, and enhanced street lighting.

The MTA says if voters approve an increase in the vehicle license fee and a bond measure in November, large-scale projects could be done.

At the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street neighbors say they would like to see a new traffic signal to better protect pedestrians. There is already a yellow light that flashes at a crosswalk across Sunset Boulevard, but our cameras caught evidence of how hazardous it still is.

To cross the large street, you push a button, a yellow light flashes and cars are supposed to stop. However, neighbors say this system is no longer good enough.

The speed limit is 35 miles an hour, but neighbors say many drivers fly through here much faster.

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pedestrian struck, SFPD, sffd, sunset district, MTA, san francisco news, carolyn tyler
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