SFDPH Interactive Map Highlights SF’s Most Dangerous Streets for Walking

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How dangerous is it to cross the street outside your door? A new interactive, corner-by-corner map created by the SF Department of Public Health shows the location of all pedestrian injuries and deaths from 2005 to 2010, highlighting the corridors that see the bulk of the city’s crashes.

By providing better access to data, SFDPH hopes the map will help city agencies understand where to target physical street safety improvements and traffic enforcement to reduce injuries, said Rajiv Bhatia, SFDPH’s director of occupational and environmental health.

“The interactive site simply allows users to get the data they need directly,” said Bhatia. “We’ve also made the underlying data available to anyone in the public sphere who wants to do further analysis or use the data for another application. User-friendly government data should help to get people talking about important problems like pedestrian safety and hopefully will contribute to more informed solutions.”

The map is based on data from the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS). It compiles information on each pedestrian injury over the five-year period, including markers that differentiate between crashes in which the victim suffered minor injuries, severe injuries, or was killed.

The map should help in the implementation of the Pedestrian Action Plan, which was expected to be finalized by the end of this summer but has been delayed for unspecified reasons. The plan is intended as a blueprint for the city to meet the targets set in former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Directive on Pedestrian Safety — a 25 percent reduction in injuries by 2016, and 50 percent by 2020.

“This map shows the city exactly where to focus to save lives,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe. “San Francisco needs a Pedestrian Action Plan to fix the most dangerous 50 miles of streets and meet the city goal of cutting pedestrian injuries in half in 10 years. This map also shows where exactly the police need to focus enforcement to prevent the behaviors that cause the worst injuries: failing to yield to pedestrians, speeding, and running red lights. That’s what will prevent tragedies.”

“The good news is we don’t have to fix all of the streets,” added Stampe. “Over half of all the worst crashes occur on just 5 percent of city streets. We can do this. But we need a real commitment by the city to make it happen.”
  • mikesonn

    Hm, Stockton is a highlighted road. Know we could do? Make it transit only and widen the sidewalks.

    Nope, instead we spend nearly $2B to keep it open for private autos.

  • Guttersnipe 76

    It would be interesting to see this map merged with SFPD crime tracking maps (if one exists) as crime also impacts pedestrian safety.

  • voltairesmistress

    I would be interested in a qualitative analysis that answered questions like, “Why so many pedestrian injuries along certain Tenderloin streets like Ellis, but not along adjacent streets like fast-paced Geary or in even denser, faster streets like Montgomery and Sansome  in the Financial District?”  Could it possibly be that pedestrians routinely ignore traffic laws or are wander in a haze in certain sectors of the city, but less so in others?  Surely we need to change the culture of aggressive driving.  I am all for that.  But we should not close our eyes to chronic, unsafe pedestrian behaviors, particularly in the Tenderloin.

  • mikesonn

    Montgomery and Sansome aren’t “faster” streets. When people are around (ie business hours) traffic is at a near stand still. Not to mention the shorter blocks (even with timed lights, which they aren’t really) doesn’t allow drivers to get up to a very fast sustained speed.

  • Bowen Payson

    I would agree with mikesonn about Montgomery and Sansome, but Kearny St could definitely be applicable

  • voltairesmistress

    Mike, Montgomery and Sansome are pretty fast streets at night when not clogged with traffic.  Both are dense with people walking during working hours.  But there are relatively few car on pedestrian collisions there. Why?

    My point remains the same, a qualitative analysis would complement the quantitative data presented in the map. Put in infrastructure and enforcement where it’s needed.  Protect pedestrians from people driving poorly.  But don’t expect zero deaths and injuries if pedestrians in some areas are incapable of exercising common sense.

  • mikesonn

    “Mike, Montgomery and Sansome are pretty fast streets at night when not clogged with traffic.  Both are dense with people walking during working hours.  But there are relatively few car on pedestrian collisions there. Why?”

    You just answered your own question. Night: no one around so fast traffic. Day: people around but clogged traffic.

  • Andy Chow

    I have driven and rode transit through the Tenderloin and I see people step onto the roadway willy-nilly all the time, even as the pedestrian traffic volume is lower than Chinatown and Union Square. It seems like some of them are not in the state of mind to keep themselves safe or even OK to get hit.

    Of course it doesn’t help that the Tenderloin is a pass through area to reach Nob Hill and the Marina.

  • mikesonn

    Maybe the Tenderloin should be 20 mph. “Twenty is plenty”

  • Sergio Ruiz

    The problem with calling streets with higher number incidents as “dangerous” is that it implies the street design or environment is at fault. This data does not factor in pedestrian volumes, which is why the Tenderloin is so high in total number of injuries. How many people do you see walking around those streets compared to the outer neighborhoods? I’m guessing once you factor in pedestrian volumes, this map would look completely different. Then, we could get more of an idea of what streets might be more dangerous or where people are more likely to be involved in a collision.

    Of course, this is not to say that the city shouldn’t focus on these high-incident areas, especially since there is still a high ‘absolute’ number of people getting injured or killed in dense neighborhoods. 

  • Andy Chow

    The community does not believe to be transit only. The businesses there require frequent delivery. There’s no suitable street for southbound traffic nearby (Grant and Kearny are all northbound, and Powell is used by Cable cars and far steeper).

  • mikesonn

    “The community does not believe to be transit only.” What?

    Also, you can have a delivery exemption. Trust me, deliveries aren’t the problem. And there is Embarcadero to go south on, or Montgomery, but Stockton needs wider sidewalks and reliable transit service way more than it needs to be a thru-put for private autos.

  • Sergio Ruiz

    I agree that Stockton really needs to have improved sidewalks and bicycle facilities since it is less steep than parallel streets nearby and these users are much more sensitive to steep terrain than cars. As far as transit, though, I’d feel much safer riding  a bike through the tunnel if there wasn’t a muni bus right behind me.

  • Andy Chow

     I am not trying to defend the Central Subway but I don’t think riders heading to and from Chinatown would not necessarily benefit much from transit only lanes in Chinatown. The bus service is already very frequent. Most of the issue stem from overcrowding. An overcrowded vehicle can only go slower and be further delayed.

    The issue I think has some neighborhood, class, and even race tone to it. The 30 bus come from the Marina, which many of them would prefer speeding through Chinatown to get to Market Street. The Marina doesn’t want 30 to have articulated buses in their neighborhood (thinking that they belong to the Mission). If a lot more of the 30 and the 45 have articulated buses it would address the crowding issue.

    Perhaps there would be an all-day express route to the Marina that skip the Chinatown.

  • KillMoto

    Teddy Roosevelt famously said “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  Truer words have never been spoken as advice to pedestrians.  How many times have each of us been hazarded crossing legally in a crosswalk by a motorist who didn’t respect the particular shade of red shining in their face?  

    Had I been carrying a nice steel walking stick in that crosswalk, I could perhaps tap a morse code “E” on the driver’s front or side window – “E” shorthand for “I’m WALKIN’ here, have the right of way, and if I just cracked your glass consider it a fine for breaking the law and endangering people’s lives”

    Moreover, the walking stick helps you articulate your point if the driver stops.  Funny how drivers often don’t stop when it’s your life at stake, but lock up all four wheels when their paint or glass is put into the slightest jeopardy…

  • voltairesmistress

     Mike, I have not answered my own question and you are not engaging with my central point.  You do this often — fastening onto some detail of someone’s argument, rather than engaging with its main point.  It’s a way to avoid actually grappling with anything.

  • Anonymous

    “I don’t think riders heading to and from Chinatown would not necessarily benefit much from transit only lanes in Chinatown”

    Utter nonsense.

    Don’t you see that crowded buses and slow buses are two aspects of the same problem? If your bus route takes an hour for a trip out and back, and you have six buses with drivers, you can have a bus come every 10 minutes. If you use bus lanes to reduce travel time to 45 minutes for a trip out and back, you can have a bus come every 7.5 minutes without requiring any more buses or drivers. More frequent buses reduce crowding for all riders using the route.

  • voltairesmistress

     I agree, Sergio, that we need more data on pedestrian volumes on various streets and different times of day and night.  We could then compare similarly densely populated streets.  If they differed in number and severity of collisions, we could try to figure out why.  Is it hilly versus flat? Clear sight lines versus obstructions?  Different speeds attained? Distractions for drivers (e.g. superfluous signage)? Specific pedestrian behaviors or infractions?  Right now, I have only personal experience to refer to — large numbers of addled persons wandering across Tenderloin streets against the lights versus herds of business people generally (but not always) crossing with the lights downtown.  But maybe that’s a stereotype.  Comparative data would be illuminating.

  • mikesonn

    Expand on your point then? FiDi has homeless. We treat the Tenderloin like an express route to other neighborhoods: high speeds, one way streets, poor lighting.

    In not avoiding your argument, I don’t think you are making it well. FiDi is busy and traffic is slow durin the day. FiDi isn’t busy and the little traffic goes fast during the night. No?

  • mikesonn

    The 30 runs articulated buses up to Van Ness (covering the busy portion of Stockton). The 8x runs articulated buses on every run (though travels on Kearny).

    And if you want to bring class into this, I’d love to hear your arguments to keeping private autos on Stockton instead of opening it up to transit. Unless you also subscribe to the falsehood that the working poor are driving while the rich ride bikes and express through Chinatown.

    Also, there are two express buses I can think of off the the top of my head for Marina to FiDi: 41 and 30x. Go rail against those but give the public transit riding Chinatown their transit only Stockton!

  • Sergio Ruiz

    Pedestrian behavior and labeling a street “dangerous” are two very different issues, and this map doesn’t really answer either. I live in the Tenderloin and I feel much safer crossing a street there than in a wider, faster thoroughfare like Geary or Van Ness. That’s why it irks me when a street is proclaimed as dangerous based on limited data.

  • Andy Chow

    I doubt that putting on a transit only segment would realistically cut an hour trip to a 45 minute trip. The bus will still have to stop at bus stops and red lights.

    I don’t think it is worthwhile to get transit lanes on Stockton. For Chinatown, it doesn’t mean much in terms of travel time improvements (because they get on and off there anyway. Even if say the transit lanes cut travel time by 4 minutes, they may get the saving of 1 to 3 minutes), and they care less about the through riders from the North Beach and the Marina. On the other hand, banning autos means potentially losing businesses (especially there have been terrible examples of transit only streets in some cities) and put more traffic on parallel and perpendicular streets that are less suitable for more traffic (like Grant and Powell).

    A strategy to implement improvements along the corridor would get more or less the same result, but don’t have to impose a radical policy for a single community. I don’t think transit only lane is the panacea. The T-Third is running on exclusive right of way along most of 3rd Street, but the T-Third is slower than the old 15 bus operating in mixed traffic.

  • GrannyGear

    Most of the red lines are in my neighborhood, but when I go to the link, and enlarge the map, there does not seem to be a way to go back and forth after enlarging so that one can see it.

  • mikesonn

    The tunnel was built for transit and was re-purposed for private autos. We can go back.

    And to say a savings of 1-3 min is negligible  see: Market St improvements. Even % decreases in over all route time per run saves magnitudes of money. Stockton carries 3 major routes all at crush loads, multiple out that 1 min by the number of buses then again by the number of passengers and you see HUGE returns on investment.

    As for side streets, Grant should be pedestrian only with very very limited delivery access and Kearny should be two-wayed from Columbus to Geary/Market. For $1.6B, you’ll have plenty left over for fancy trees and gold pavement.

  • J

    This is an incredibly misleading map. Based on this type of analysis, freeways are the safest type of street for pedestrians, since there are basically zero pedestrian injuries on them. Never mind the fact that the there are zero pedestrians that walk on them.

    I worry that this type of anlaysis leads to measures that are hostile to pedestrians, while ignoring the obvious and overwhelming cause of pedestrian injuries, which is 2,000 lb hunks of metal moving at high speeds in close proximity to humans.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s hard to address your main point when you are speaking in very coded terms about stereotypes that you have about certain areas and people. Eventually you do call yourself out though: “But maybe that’s a stereotype.”  What are you looking for, a report that says chronic homelessness is a problem in SF and drunk people engage in dangerous behavior?

    While I think more data is always helpful, no matter how we look at the data, cars are hitting people at fast speeds throughout the city and the city government doesn’t care (except in rhetoric, sometimes).  

  • Anonymous

    Or, to put it another way- saying “I don’t think riders heading to and from Chinatown would necessarily benefit much from transit only lanes in Chinatown” is like saying “I don’t think riders going to and from Castro station benefit from the Market St subway – it’s just for the benefit of the people in the Sunset who want to get to downtown quicker!” Transit only lanes on Stockton would benefit both people going to and from Chinatown AND people going to and from the Marina.

    It blows my mind that anyone would be against transit improvements to Stockton. That street is insane. Personally I would go for one wider lane in each direction, with wider sidewalks and no parking. Access would be limited to transit, bike, taxi, emergency and delivery vehicles with a destination on Stockton St. The sidewalks would have low curbs so that delivery vehicles could load/unload in designated spaces on the sidewalk; this preserves delivery access without getting in the way of transit, and the loading spaces become pedestrian space when vehicles are not loading.

    Check out this example from London. It’s a one-way street rather than two-way but the same idea. Here there are no loading vehicles:


    And here a truck and ambulance are loading on the sidewalk:


  • Andy Chow

    Why are you keeping to suggest transit only street on Stockton somehow be a serious alternative to the CS. I don’t support the CS, nor I am trying to defend it, but it was approved more or less for the “jobs, jobs, jobs” rather than what’s cost effective. The community and the population there is more open to growth as they believe rail is a catalyst for growth.

    As for a couple of minutes of savings, these are average savings, not something that everyone will experience on every run. The CS on the other hand will be a very different experience.

    If you want the feds to hold transit agencies to the fire on cost effectiveness, you would want Oven Mitt Romney. On the other hand, Over Mitt would use the money not spent on transit on no-bid military contracts. So you won’t really win with Romney.

  • mikesonn

    I’m not suggesting it as a alternative, the CS ship has sailed (it should have been an alternative though). I’m saying it needs to be done along side the CS.

    And the Teaparty straw man holds no water. Are you saying that we should just accept any transit project, no matter how worthless, just because it is a transit project and we should be happy? If we don’t question the projects and demand better, who will? No one because they’d rather have a highway. I’m not going to sit back and take a crappy alternative just because it is an alternative.

    “The community and the population there is more open to growth as they believe rail is a catalyst for growth.”

    I wonder where you are getting this from. I thought you said this was done for “jobs, jobs, jobs” but now the community wants it too for growth? Obviously you don’t want to see a transit first Stockton, but stop grasping at straws.

  • Anonymous

    Transit advocates should be in favor of a transit-only Stockton regardless of what they think about the Central Subway. The CS is not going to eliminate the 30 and the 45 so it’s a good project in it’s own right.

    Converting general traffic lanes to transit only is a very cost effective way of improving transit. There is a good argument to be made that transit spending should be as cost effective as possible given the limited dollars available for transit improvements  Making that argument is not the same as arguing that transit spending (and government spending in general) should be reduced, which is what Romney is advocating.

  • Andy Chow

    If the Chinatown community supports a transit-only Stockton, then I think it is worth experimenting, but I doubt that’s the case. I don’t support imposing something onto a community, especially when there are many low hanging fruits that can could be done to get most of the benefits.

    It may seem cost effective, but you’re asking the community to pay for the hidden price with reduced access and uncertainty on business viability. It wouldn’t be any different than imposing an elevated HSR structure in Burlingame.

    I have spent over a decade to support good projects and fight bad projects. But a lot of people with good intentions don’t know what we know, and don’t agree with all of our values, that’s why bad transit projects get funding.

  • ubringliten

    I would like to point out that the streets that lead to freeway on/off ramps are super dangerous to pedestrians.  Clearly, the 4th and King St. intersection where King St. leads directly onto 280 fwy has made pedestrians coming out of Caltrain station and walking onto light rail stations very scary.

  • mikesonn

    I’d love to hear your suggestions to making Stockton a safer and more pedestrian/transit accommodating corridor. Or are your low hanging fruits elsewhere? If you recall, I brought this all up because Stockton isn’t a safe place to be a pedestrian even though it is one of the busiest pedestrian areas in the entire city.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously you would work with the community on something like this, as with the recent Broadway study. A transit only Stockton should be suggested and promoted by planners during the planning process, but not forced onto the community. No-one has suggested otherwise.

    What is this ‘hidden price of reduced access and uncertainty on business viability’ you talk about? A transit/ped/bike first plan would make the area more welcoming to pedestrians, and all shoppers are ultimately pedestrians. Businesses thrive when there is an increase in foot traffic; they only suffer due to loss of parking if most of their customers are driving to them, which is clearly not the case in Chinatown. Access would be increased for everyone who is not driving a private vehicle, which I’ll wager is the majority of people heading to Stockton.

    Small business owners often underestimate the benefits of increasing pedestrian access and so may oppose a project that would actual benefit them. Doesn’t mean planners should abandon the project because of that, it means planners should work with them to convince them of the benefits and get them onboard. Personally I would spend far more time on Stockton if the sidewalks were wider and I could actually walk down them without having to push through crowds or be forced to walk in the roadway.

  • Andy Chow

     Pretty much everything outlined on the TEP improvements for Stockton. Plus conversion to low floor articulated buses. Reintroduce 20-Columbus and extend it to the Marina, and if the North Beach is OK to place overhead wires, then have the 30 to run to Fisherman’s Wharf along the 8X route.

  • Anonymous

    If the driver has a gun your walking stick will avail you not at all.

  • KillMoto

    I suppose, but if he already took a run at me with his car and I’m still standing, I’m on borrowed time already.  Might as well at least leave a mark on his paint.  Those motorists that endanger, bully, maim and kill with impunity will continue to do so until the bipedal peons rise up and claim our rights. 

  • Anonymous

    Good stuff … They’re missing at least one death in SoMa at 2nd and Townsend where a left turning crane truck killed a neighbor crossing the street in spring 2010.

  • Anonymous

    Never mind… It was spring of 2011, outside of date range presented.

  • mikesonn

    Central Subway shouldn’t be bragging that we took a transit tunnel and handed it over to private autos.


  • Andy Chow

    The Stockton Tunnel wasn’t meant to be transit only like the Sunset and Twin Peaks tunnels. It is wider than what’s needed for two tracks and has pedestrian accommodation.

    Because the fact that these two tunnels can’t be converted to non-rail use, rail continued to exist in SF. If they could be converted, then you would likely have bus 70-Judah rather than N-Judah.

    The Northbrae Tunnel in Berkeley was built for rail use only, but was converted to auto use.

    By the same token, you might as well criticize the expense for the BART Transbay Tube as a way to keep the space formerly occupied by the Key System to autos. You could argue that even the BART system itself was built as a way to free up streets for autos that used to have street railway.

  • mikesonn

    It was.

  • Andy Chow

     When was it that the Stockton Tunnel was closed to auto traffic?

  • mikesonn

    I was talking about BART/Key System.

    Plus, it’s all a moot point. Stockton has horrible pedestrian conditions and there is very little excuse to continue the status quo of a private automobile dominated 3 lane road through the densest neighborhood on the west coast – whatever your feelings on the Central Subway/Stockton tunnel are.