Mayor Lee Unveils 5-Year Plan to Improve Safety at Up to 265 Intersections

These are the 170 locations in line for safety upgrades in the WalkFirst program. An additional 95 intersections will receive safety improvements if voters pass transportation funding measures on the ballot this fall. Image: WalkFirst

Today Mayor Ed Lee and city officials announced a five-year plan to implement pedestrian safety upgrades at 170 priority intersections. The city also launched its “Be Nice, Look Twice” PSA campaign today.

Mayor Lee today with Supervisor John Avalos (left) and SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. Photo: Aaron Bialick

The 170 locations in the WalkFirst Capital Improvement Program [PDF] were determined using injury data and public input. These improvements will be funded by $17 million set aside over the next five years, according to the SFMTA. If voters pass the three transportation funding ballot measures proposed by the mayor’s Transportation 2030 Task Force in November, the city will have an additional $50 million and could pay for safety fixes at 265 intersections.

“We’ve been saying ‘sorry’ for” pedestrian crashes, “when we ought to be saying, thank you for yielding. Thank you for not running red lights. Thank you for not speeding,” Lee said in announcing the WalkFirst plan and pedestrian safety awareness campaign.

The awareness spots, which can already be seen on Muni buses, come in several different versions, with text saying, “Drive like: your [friend/mom/family] is in the crosswalk.” Some versions show drivers yielding before the crosswalk, and at least one, posted by a Twitter user, depicts a truck driver violating the crosswalk and slamming into a pedestrian.

“I’m asking my officers to not be so nice when they see persons not yielding, when red lights are run, and when speeding occurs,” said Lee, pointing to a recent 12 percent increase in the SFPD’s Traffic Company staff. “Enforcement is about that discipline that we have to have for people’s behavior.”

These “Be Nice, Look Twice” ads have already been spotted on Muni buses.

“Year-to-date, we’ve had more people killed on the streets of San Francisco in vehicle collisions than we have by homicide,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, noting that in February, the city saw no homicides for a month for the second time in 50 years. Suhr attributed improvement in that area to police efforts, and said the department “intends to attack” traffic violence “in the exact same way that we did in trying to get a handle on gun violence and violent crime.”

“That’s through smart strategy, use of technology for deployment of a finite amount of resources, and certainly enlisting the help of our community,” said Suhr, pointing to the SFPD’s Focus on the Five campaign to prioritize traffic enforcement on the five most common violations cited in pedestrian crashes, all driver violations.

“Drive like your friend is in the crosswalk,” reads an ad spotted on a Muni bus. Photo: Steven Bracco/Twitter

The SFPD, along with District Attorney George Gascón, has announced policy reforms under the rubric of Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic deaths within ten years. Supervisors Jane Kim, John Avalos, and Norman Yee introduced a Vision Zero resolution which was approved today by the board’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee.

“We are looking to forward to showing Sweden that we can achieve Vision Zero,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider, referring to the first country to adopt the goal.

The WalkFirst plan targets the 6 percent of streets where 60 percent of the city’s pedestrian injuries occur, most of which tend to be designed for high vehicle speeds and lie in Districts 3 and 6, the city’s densest areas. Lee highlighted a few spots included in the five-year plan: Sutter Street will get bulb-outs, signal timing changes and continental crosswalks at Polk, Larkin, Taylor, and Stockton Streets. Ninth and Folsom Streets will get bulb-outs, a closed crosswalk will be re-opened at Pine and Stockton Streets, and Mission and Silver Streets will get bus bulb-outs and “roadway striping changes.”

Supervisor John Avalos, the chair of the SF County Transportation Authority Board, said that to streamline the city’s traditionally slow delivery of improvements for safer streets, “We need new ways of doing business.”

“We have been tied, held back by dysfunction, not being able to work collaboratively together,” said Avalos. “That can no longer happen.”

Below this image, see the full list of the 170 intersections funded in WalkFirst, categorized by supervisorial district. Locations that fall on the border of two districts are listed in both.

Findings included in the WalkFirst report. Image: WalkFirst

District 1

1 30TH AV GEARY BL
2 GEARY BL ARGUELLO BL
3 GEARY BL 6TH AV
4 GEARY BL 15TH AV
5 GEARY BL 33RD AV
6 POINT LOBOS AV 42ND AV
7 TURK BLVD MASONIC AV

District 2

1 BEACH ST HYDE ST
2 DIVISADERO ST SUTTER ST
3 DIVISADERO ST LOMBARD ST
4 FRANKLIN ST GEARY BL
5 FRANKLIN ST BUSH ST
6 FRANKLIN ST PINE ST
7 GEARY BL ARGUELLO BL
8 LOMBARD ST STEINER ST
9 LOMBARD ST SCOTT ST
10 TURK BLVD MASONIC AV
11 VAN NESS AV CALIFORNIA AV
12 VAN NESS AV BUSH ST
13 VAN NESS AV PINE ST
14 VAN NESS AV BROADWAY ST
15 VAN NESS AV POST ST
16 VAN NESS AV PACIFIC AV
17 VAN NESS AV JACKSON ST

District 3

1 5TH ST MARKET ST
2 BAY ST KEARNY ST
3 BROADWAY ST SANSOME ST
4 BROADWAY ST BATTERY ST
5 BUSH ST POLK ST
6 BUSH ST HYDE
7 CALIFORNIA ST HYDE ST
8 CALIFORNIA ST TAYLOR ST
9 COLUMBUS AV VALLEJO ST
10 COLUMBUS AV BROADWAY ST
11 COLUMBUS ST STOCKTON ST
12 EDDY ST MASON ST
13 GEARY KEARNY
14 GEARY ST LEAVENWORTH ST
15 GEARY ST TAYLOR ST
16 HYDE ST PINE ST
17 KEARNY ST CLAY ST
18 KEARNY ST WASHINGTON ST
19 MARKET ST 4TH ST
20 MARKET ST 2ND ST
21 OFARRELL ST STOCKTON ST
22 OFARRELL ST POWELL ST
23 POLK ST PINE ST
24 POLK ST SUTTER ST
25 POLK ST HEMLOCK ST
26 POST ST POLK ST
27 SACRAMENTO ST KEARNY ST
28 STOCKTON JACKSON
29 STOCKTON ST PACIFIC AV
30 STOCKTON ST POST ST
31 STOCKTON ST SUTTER ST
32 STOCKTON ST SACRAMENTO ST
33 STOCKTON ST UNION ST
34 SUTTER ST LARKIN ST
35 SUTTER ST TAYLOR ST
36 TAYLOR ST NORTH POINT ST
37 TAYLOR ST PINE ST
38 VAN NESS AV CALIFORNIA AV
39 VAN NESS AV BUSH ST
40 VAN NESS AV PINE ST
41 VAN NESS AV BROADWAY ST
42 VAN NESS AV POST ST
43 VAN NESS AV PACIFIC AV
44 VAN NESS AV JACKSON ST

District 4

1 19TH AV ORTEGA ST
2 19TH AV NORIEGA ST
3 19TH AV JUDAH ST
4 SUNSET BL QUINTARA ST
5 SUNSET BL VICENTE ST
6 TARAVAL ST 19TH AV

District 5

1 DIVISADERO ST SUTTER ST
2 DIVISADERO ST GEARY BL
3 FILLMORE ST GEARY ST
4 FRANKLIN ST GEARY BL
5 GEARY BL WEBSTER ST
6 IRVING ST 7TH AV
7 MARKET ST GOUGH ST
8 MARKET ST VANNESS ST
9 MASONIC AVE HAIGHT ST
10 MCALLISTER ST WEBSTER ST
11 MCALLISTER ST VAN NESS AV
12 OAK ST MASONIC AV
13 OCTAVIA ST HAIGHT ST
14 POST ST WEBSTER ST
15 TURK BLVD MASONIC AV
16 TURK ST WEBSTER ST
17 VAN NESS AV POST ST
18 VAN NESS AV GEARY ST

District 6

1 10TH ST MISSION ST
2 10TH ST HOWARD ST
3 2ND ST BRYANT ST
4 4TH ST KING ST
5 4TH ST BRANNAN ST
6 4TH ST BRYANT
7 5TH ST MARKET ST
8 6TH ST HOWARD ST
9 6TH ST STEVENSON ST
10 6TH ST TEHAMA ST
11 6TH ST MISSION ST
12 8TH ST HOWARD ST
13 9TH ST MARKET ST
14 EDDY ST POLK ST
15 EDDY ST MASON ST
16 EDDY ST JONES ST
17 EMBARCADERO SOUTH HOWARD ST
18 FOLSOM ST 6TH ST
19 GEARY ST LEAVENWORTH ST
20 GEARY ST TAYLOR ST
21 GEARY ST LARKIN ST
22 GOLDEN GATE AV HYDE ST
23 GOLDEN GATE AV JONES ST
24 GROVE ST HYDE ST
25 HARRISON ST 3RD ST
26 HOWARD ST 9TH ST
27 HOWARD ST 5TH ST
28 HYDE ST GEARY ST
29 JONES ST ELLIS ST
30 JONES ST TURK ST
31 LARKIN ST GOLDEN GATE
32 LEAVENWORTH ST EDDY ST
33 MARKET ST GOLDEN GATE AV
34 MARKET ST GOUGH ST
35 MARKET ST VANNESS ST
36 MARKET ST 4TH ST
37 MARKET ST 2ND ST
38 MARKET ST 7TH ST
39 MCALLISTER ST VAN NESS AV
40 MISSION ST 8TH ST
41 MISSION ST 1ST ST
42 MISSION ST MINT ST
43 MISSION ST 9TH ST
44 MISSION ST 11TH ST
45 MISSION ST DUBOCE AV
46 MISSION ST 7TH ST
47 MISSION ST SOUTH VAN NESS
48 MISSION ST 5TH ST
49 NEW MONTGOMERY ST MISSION ST
50 OFARRELL ST JONES ST
51 OFARRELL ST POLK ST
52 POLK ST TURK ST
53 POLK ST GEARY ST
54 POST ST POLK ST
55 TAYLOR ST ELLIS ST
56 TAYLOR ST EDDY ST
57 TURK ST TAYLOR ST
58 TURK ST HYDE ST
59 TURK ST LEAVENWORTH ST
60 VAN NESS AV GEARY ST

District 7

1 19TH AV ORTEGA ST
2 19TH AV NORIEGA ST
3 19TH AV JUDAH ST
4 19TH AV JUNIPERO SERRA BL
5 CIRCULAR AVE BADEN ST
6 OCEAN AV PLYMOUTH AV
7 OCEAN AV MIRAMAR AV
8 TARAVAL ST 19TH AV

District 8

1 16TH ST GUERRERO ST
2 18TH ST GUERRERO ST
3 BOSWORTH ST DIAMOND ST
4 CASTRO ST 18TH ST
5 MARKET ST 14TH ST
6 MARKET ST CHURCH ST

District 9

1 16TH ST HARRISON ST
2 17TH ST SOUTH VAN NESS
3 22ND ST SOUTH VAN NESS
4 24TH ST POTRERO AV
5 BACON ST SAN BRUNO AV
6 BAY SHORE BL PAUL AV
7 CESAR CHAVEZ ST MISSION ST
8 MISSION ST 23RD ST
9 MISSION ST 16TH ST
10 MISSION ST 19TH ST
11 MISSION ST VIRGINIA AV
12 MISSION ST 22ND ST
13 MISSION ST 18TH ST
14 MISSION ST 14TH ST
15 MISSION ST DUBOCE AV
16 MISSION ST 29TH ST
17 MISSION ST 21ST ST
18 SAN BRUNO AV SILVER AV
19 SOUTH VAN NESS AVE 16TH ST

District 10

1 24TH ST POTRERO AV
2 3RD ST PALOU AV
3 BAY SHORE BL PAUL AV
4 BAY SHORE BLVD BACON ST/EGBERT AVE
5 BAYSHORE BL SILVER AV
6 BAYSHORE BL ARLETA AV
7 ESQUINA DR GENEVA AV
8 GENEVA AV BROOKDALE AV
9 WEST POINT RD MIDDLE POINT RD
10 WILLIAMS AV 3RD ST

District 11

1 19TH AV JUNIPERO SERRA BL
2 ALEMANY BL NIAGARA AV
3 GENEVA AV BROOKDALE AV
4 GENEVA AV MISSION ST
5 MISSION ST PERSIA AV
6 MISSION ST EXCELSIOR AV
7 MISSION ST SANTA ROSA AV
8 MISSION ST ACTON ST
9 SAGAMORE ST/SICKLES AVE SAN JOSE AV
10 SAN JOSE AV FARALLONES ST
11 SILVER AV MISSION ST

  • Sean Rea

    We shouldn’t have to thank people for not running red lights, for not speeding, and not killing pedestrians. That’s called following the law. Lee should add teeth to his cute little icons by budgeting for aggressive enforcement.

  • Upright Biker

    Great. Reduce us all to traffic-themed comic strip icons. Highly effective way to build awareness that it’s the real flesh and blood of real people that motorists are splattering all over the pavement when they’re not “being nice.”

    That complaint having been lodged about the PSAs, the plan itself is a good start. Start being the operative word.

  • Guest

    That complaint having been lodged about the PSAs, the plan itself is a good start. Start being the operative word.

  • 94110

    “CESAR CHAVEZ ST MISSION ST”

    I never know whether to assume the list is outdated, or they are going to tear up an intersection where they just held a press conference unveiling a huge pedestrian makeover.

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2014/01/29/cesar-chavez-a-traffic-sewer-transformed-into-a-safer-street/

  • Michael Smith

    A step in the right direction, but a small pathetic one. The announcement means that San Francisco is going to spend just $3.5 million a year on such improvements. That is less than 0.4% of the SFMTA budget. Note that this is far less then Sunday meters is currently bringing in. If the SFMTA goes against the Mayor’s ill conceived plan and continues Sunday meters (latest figure I heard was $10million/year) the spending on much needed safety improvement could be quadrupled. Then we would see that the city is truly concerned about pedestrian safety instead of election time posturing.

  • I don’t know. Though I have my issues with car drivers, I have to acknowledge that probably three-fourths of those in San Francisco are reasonable, responsible people who might respond to a “drive like your family is in the crosswalk” message. But I don’t think these people are really the problem in the first place. In my observation, the irresponsible, impatient, self-centered people speeding, running red lights, blasting through stop signs, punching their accelerators, honking at other cars and bicyclists, and plowing through pedestrian-filled crosswalks are not a particularly touchy-feely group that magically become considerate at the sight of a baby stroller. How about bus ads that say:

    “Drive Like: If you hit somebody you will lose your license and your car will be impounded.”

    This might get their attention.

  • p_chazz

    It’s all the rage. The health department has reduced the increase in AIDS and other STDs to smiling cartoon penises. Cartoons must go over well among focus groups. I guess it’s easier than expecting people to behave responsibly.

  • gary

    Right on the mark Karen. Severe penalties for hitting peds and bicycles are the only thing that will work.

  • murphstahoe

    It’s pretty easy to expect people to behave responsibly. It’s just not very effective.

  • Transpo_nerdette

    To be fair, that graphic was designed to go with the stronger slogan, “Every time you encroach into the crosswalk you make baby Jesus cry.” Rejected by Mayor Lee for being “too sad.”

  • MaceKelly

    Sounds very good, though we have both positive reinforcing feedback loops here contributing to increased accidents and injuries and deaths, that we then try to counter act with opposing negative feed back loops. For example, an increase people, pedestrians, density and cars, naturally lead to more accidents. So, then we try to mitigate this by counter forces, reengineering, and better enforcement, which leads to counter reactions to subvert the engineering (traffic takes different routes) or a new community group arises to protect increased ticketing. So we have one group wanting more pedestrians and bicyclists, another wanting more development that increases cars, or venues that attract people, all leading to more accidents, so we have a group to prevent accidents, including more enforcement, then another group protesting enforcement, because they are good drivers who got caught in a too blunt of an instrument, so we need more cops writing tickets, but no budget, so, so, endless specific interest forces competing in a back and forth struggle. Does Menlo Park have this problem? Nope. Will a very dense, crowded, city that attracts tremendous out of town visitors and traffic and wants more pedestrians and more cyclists ever balance it all? With a continuing growth and increased density, maybe not.

  • JJ Schultz

    I think a large contributor to the increase pedestrian/car collisions is California has created a sense of pedestrian entitlement. The laws that require cars to always yield to pedestrians causes pedestrians to assume cars will always yield for them, when this is tragically not the case. I think there’d be far few pedestrian deaths of there were no yield laws – if it’d be on the pedestrian to make sure the road was clear before stepping out. The way it is now, folks step out and assume cars will stop, and most times they do, but sometimes they do not. Creating more laws and signs will only re-enforce the assumption that cars will yield, and I think this will result in more deaths.

  • voltairesmistress

    I think your comment reflects a common view, perhaps even a majority view, among the general population behind the wheel. That does not make it correct. In fact, a recent San Francisco study found drivers mostly at fault for 2/3 of all collisions with pedestrians, while pedestrians were mostly at fault in 1/3. The danger with your view is not primarily with its lack of factual basis. Rather, the danger comes from its major implication — that drivers, police, judges, and juries believe pedestrians at fault in most cases. That pedestrians should have been more defensive, more alert, etc. This attitude of blaming pedestrians, even partially, leads only to further collisions and death to, you guessed it — more pedestrians.

  • JJ Schultz

    please cite your source for the 1/3 to 2/3 breakdown.

  • voltairesmistress

    Yes, 2010-2011 Collisions report by the SFMTA. 32page report PDF available at SFMTA.com. Or search this streetsblog website search box with “collisions stat” for article criticizing our fire chief’s erroneous use if a 74% pedestrian fault rate, then click on a direct link to this PDF file. (This the figure used — 64% — in the WalkFirst poster graphic pictured in the story above that you and I are commenting on.)

  • MaceKelly

    You are correct I think. The thought that laws giving pedestrians are somehow wrong is crazy. That logic would say that any valid law that is ignored, incorrectly, ought to be abandoned would soon lead to any inconvenient law being ignored and then repealed. A downside of direct democracy on all issues.

  • JJ Schultz

    awesome thanks.

    I stand by my original statement – I think a large contributor to the increase in pedestrian / car collisions is we are enacting laws the give pedestrians a false sense of security. Crossing the street is dangerous no matter what, but it’s more dangerous if one party assumes the other party will yield for them. This opinion comes from somebody who is most often a pedestrian, but also does bike and drive in the city.

    I’m not saying cars are never at fault and it’s always the pedestrian’s fault – I am asserting that by attempting to help pedestrian safety, we are actually making things worse.

  • voltairesmistress

    And I think you are sticking to a point a view because it resonates emotionally with situations you have observed, because it makes sense to you in how you think human beings behave while walking. Two things: 1) the scientific data do not support your common sense observational take on what you think you are seeing; 2) other places like Stockholm and Helsinki have redesigned their streets to maximize pedestrian safety and have succeeded where we have thus far failed. In that case, seeing is believing. I had the opportunity to be in both cities for several weeks and so have both read of their results and experienced them on foot.

  • murphstahoe

    we are enacting laws the give pedestrians a false sense of security.

    It’s not about security, it’s about preference. We are giving pedestrians the right of way so that they can actually get somewhere. Motorists are protesting this encroachment onto their space by running the pedestrians over. I don’t think this speaks badly of the government, it speaks badly of the motorists.

  • JJ Schultz

    nah, I’m sticking to my point of view because it makes sense. As I’m sure we can both agree, bad things happen when cars and people interact. If we put all of the onus to lower car/person interactions on the drivers (because cars and drivers are bad and pedestrians are the righteous ones? correct me if I’m wrong – don’t want to put words in your mouth), then we are losing an opportunity to lower accident rates. What I’m saying is that by creating laws that have a byproduct of making me and my fellow pedestrians feel safer while crossing the street, then we are in fact doing the pedestrians a disservice. We should actually try to make pedestrians feel less safe when crossing the street, because the less safe you feel, the more vigilant you are.

    A byproduct of the safety measures in modern cars is they are like personal immersion chambers – when you drive them, you feel disconnected from the outside world since you’re in a comfy steel bubble. This is what it is and cars are only going to become more comfy and safe and immersive in the future. What this means is drivers as less in tune with the road – while this is not good, it’s just a fact. We should recogognize this fact and not try to make my fellow pedestrians feel like they are walking around in a bubble of safety as well, because the pedestrian bubble of safetly does not exist. Me and my fellow pedestrians need to feel like when we cross the street, we better be very careful, and not feel like when we cross the street, the cars will stop for us, because sometimes they do not.

    anyways, I can use google too: http://www.techtransfer.berkeley.edu/newsletter/03-2/crosswalk.php (Berkeley!). This article describes a balanced approach that I agree with. as a side note, we live in an era where anyone can find a study in a matter of minutes that supports our particular point of view. That’s why one must also rely on one’s common sense. Now, I would agree, not all have common sense, but the ones that do should use it. and common sense dictates that making pedestrians feel safe and feel like all cars will stop for them, etc. will lead to more pedestrian deaths.

  • murphstahoe

    “We should actually try to make pedestrians feel less safe when crossing
    the street, because the less safe you feel, the more vigilant you are.”

    When I know that a neighborhood is known to have a lot of gun violence, what do I do? Do I go to that neighborhood but be more vigilant? No – I simply avoid that neighborhood.

    Similarly – if we keep shoving the message down everyone’s throats that walking in the city is unsafe, people will simply not walk. This is proven over and over, we see plenty of anecdotal cases across this country where people drive *across the street* because it is not safe to WALK across the street.

    That is an end result that I personally would be very unhappy with, and I will fight against it.

    Aside from this, your premise is ridiculous. Laws against guns don’t make me “feel safer” in a neighborhood known for gun violence. I feel safer if there are more cops enforcing the gun laws, and if there are flat out fewer guns. And every person we dissuade from walking and gets into a car, is one more person who might run over the remaining holdouts. I reject that. If walking means I need to be afraid – there is a problem. Period.

  • JJ Schultz

    thank you for providing a text-book example of ‘false equivalency’.

  • voltairesmistress

    “Nah, I’m sticking to my point of view because it makes sense.”
    JJ, I think your first sentence demonstrates my point, not yours — you believe what you perceive, not what others have researched and studied and written academic studies about.

    We will have to agree to disagree, because I have provided you with what you asked, and you remain entrenched in a view without exploring the relevant information that would challenge your view. It would be great if you chewed over these studies and thought about this issue more, instead of writing off data and others’ experience in redesigning streets. I conclude that you are not really serious about studying the issue. And I don’t want to spend any more of my time running down research you clearly are not going to engage with.

  • ERic

    Your approach is completely backwards.

    We’ve created these laws for good reason, to encourage people to walk and bike instead of drive. I won’t go over all the benefits of walking and biking here, but they are many.

    Instead of trying to scare somebody out of CROSSING THE STREET, how about we scare the crap out of drivers who violate pedestrian rights-of-way. If you violate that right-of-way, you are paying for it with your wallet. If you violate that right-of-way and hurt somebody, you are going to JAIL.

    Blaming pedestrians for crossing the street in a dense, walkable city goes against all logic. I’m glad the SFPD, SFMTA, SFCTA, Board of Supervisors, and more do NOT agree with your point of view.

  • JJ Schultz

    Ah see, that is the problem with modern discourse. I did read your research, but I was also able find some more research that supported my point. and then I made the point that one can, in this day and age, find any research to support any point view (see: global warming). given that, one must also rely on ‘common sense’.

    and the following is ‘common sense’ to me:

    1. We have enacted laws that require cars to always give me and my fellow pedestrians the ‘right of way’

    2. These laws give me and my fellow pedestrians a sense of safety when crossing the street

    3. This sense of safety is tragically a false sense of security, as not all cars stop for pedestrians

    4. Also, a sense of security results in less vigilance in a place (middle of the street) that requires extra vigilance.

    Focussing only on what we can do to make the big bad car drivers be less big and less bad is missing an opportunity to save lives. I suggest that in addition to thinking about traffic calming, we should also think of ways to get pedestrians to be more vigilant when crossing the street, and it seems a lot of the current proposals do the opposite – they will in fact result in less pedestrian vigilance. (see the study I sent along)

    also: I would agree that we are both ‘entrenched’ in our view points. I know you’ll never become un-entrenched and see it the way I see it, but I’m I just attempting to give some food for thought.

  • Sam Ped

    Indeed. True on all accounts. However, Our pedestrians here in SF tend to saunter across the street. Disclaimer: by no means does this excuse bad driving. There is simply responsibility on both parties. No response necessary.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Your theory doesn’t account for other states that do not have pedestrian right of way laws (and are often more dangerous). You also don’t account for countries with more pedestrian rights, such as the right to cross the street, where pedestrians are safer.

    Logistically, if, according to you, pedestrians should have to wait until the street is clear, how are older and less physically able people going to cross? How are parents with children? How about busy intersections with turning cars like Mission Street and downtown?

    Nothing about this is announcement is about creating more laws or changing laws. Not that the laws don’t need to change…

  • JJ Schultz

    hate to copy and paste, but since you’re late to this discussion, this is what I’m getting at:

    1. We have enacted laws that require cars to always give me and my fellow pedestrians the ‘right of way’

    2. These laws give me and my fellow pedestrians a sense of safety when crossing the street

    3. This sense of safety is tragically a false sense of security, as not all cars stop for pedestrians

    4. Also, a sense of security results in less vigilance in a place (middle of the street) that requires extra vigilance.

    therefore, we should think of ways to get me and my fellow pedestrians to be more vigilant when crossing the street, not less.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Your post does not address anything I posted, but especially not the fact that several states do not protect pedestrians and force them to be “vigilant” and yet they are no safer and often more dangerous. Vigilance doesn’t lead to safety, it leads to fewer pedestrians (and more drivers, causing more danger). When Sofia Liu was killed, her mother said that she made eye contact with the driver who had slowed down, and yet the driver then accelerated into them instead of stopping. They were crossing in the cross walk with the signal, how can they cross “vigilantly” when drivers can at any time turn left or right through the crosswalk? How could they have been more vigilant?

    We don’t need more vigilance in SF, anyone who walks the streets knows how vigilant one must be, regardless of laws that may or may not ever be enforced. I’ve never felt safe crossing any of the streets in my neighborhood and I’m an able bodied person who has no trouble walking or seeing.

  • JJ Schultz

    I am SF pedestrian and have been longer than most. What me and my fellow pedestrians need to do is be aware when crossing the street and currently many are not. this tragically leads to death. Doing things that encourage us to be less aware will lead to more pedestrian death. I’m not saying this will prevent all death, but it will lead to less death. One can always sight tragic circumstances where one was vigilant but still died, and that’s horrible, but does not invalidate the truth that if pedestrians were more vigilant, there’d be less pedestrian tragedies. and so we should think of ways to make me and my fellow pedestrians more vigilant (in addition to ways to calm traffic, etc etc etc)

  • coolbabybookworm

    Well at least you are starting to backpedal, but not much. I brought up a recent case, but you haven’t pointed to any data showing that pedestrians think they’re safe and are therefore not cautious crossing the street or that that is an important factor in the crashes on our city streets. Sometimes people cross the street dangerously because they don’t feel they are safe or that it is ever safe and just go.

    You’ve been saying that pedestrians think that they’re safe (not true) when they’re not (true) and the solution is to make them feel unsafe rather than take steps to make them safe. If you can’t see the problems with that then this convo is over.

  • JJ Schultz

    Well, I do have two eyes and I observe. What I observe is people stepping out into traffic without looking. Sometimes it’s at crosswalk with a light, sometimes not. Either way, sometimes, tragically, people get hit.

    One way to address this issue is to say “all these big bad cars need to be less big and less bad and always do the right thing”. Another way is to say “well, there will always be drivers who do not do the right thing, let’s help pedestrians keep this in mind” – ie be vigilant. ie take some personal responsibility for their own safety. I’m not saying that if pedestrians, by and large, took more responsibility for their own safety and were 100% vigilant, that all pedestrian deaths would be prevented. No, there will always be tragedies. I am saying deaths could be reduced. Putting all of the onus on drivers and cars to improve safety misses an opportunity to save lives.

  • coolbabybookworm

    You’ve described a perception bias issue that voltairesmistress brought up already. What we need (and what’s been done by walk first, among other projects) is analysis and useful data, not feelings or perceptions. If being vigilant saves lives, why are 50% of all deaths occurring on 6% of city streets?

    While it’s easy to confuse the mayor’s bumbling campaign with something that can actually have an impact on safety, what myself and most people on this blog want to see is better engineering. I don’t think car drivers will all behave, just like I don’t think all pedestrians will be vigilant. I want improvements to our streets where neither of those factors will result in major human trauma. There are dozens of different proven safety measures that can be done to our streets to improve safety and we should be finding the money needed to make those improvements now to prevent deaths and meet our city goals for pedestrian safety.

    One example, they changed the light at Fifth and Folsom to give left turners a lane and a little bit of left turn signal time with no pedestrians or cross traffic. This has caused noticeable behavior improvement and even made the street FEEL safer. That’s what we need, not shaming pedestrians.

  • JJ Schultz

    who said anything about shaming pedestrians? where did that word come from? I’m not a therapist, but perhaps look inward on that one. I am talking about thinking about ways to increase pedestrian vigilance and there’s no shame in that.

    50% of the deaths on 6% of the streets is an interesting number about a tragic situation. There are two parties involved in each of these tragedies: a car and a pedestrian.

    – car and driver behavior contributes to x% of these deaths

    – pedestrian behavior contributes to y% of these deaths

    I’d say, but please send me the data if I’m wrong, that both x and y are greater than zero. But, it seems like we only care about doing things that decrease ‘x’ and apparently we cannot talk about ‘y’ (lest we shame them?). What I”m saying is, “hey, let’s work on bringing ‘y’ down too”.

    Feeling safer decreases vigilance. Less pedestrian vigilance results in more pedestrian death. A solution to this is to stop trying to reduce the perceived danger of walking in traffic. Walking in traffic is dangerous.

  • coolbabybookworm

    You’ve ignored the majority of what I’ve said. In the example I brought up on Folsom street, the design made the street safer for both pedestrians and drivers by reducing conflict and giving clear signals. We need to make our streets better for all modes not just drivers and not just people walking and we need to do that now on the streets that we know are high injury corridors and intersections.

    Also, who thinks or has said (especially on this blog) that walking in (?) traffic is safe? Or pleasant for that matter. No one thinks that who spends any time on our streets so please stop. You still haven’t address states where pedestrians don’t have the right of way being just as dangerous if not more than California.

  • JJ Schultz

    what other assumptions can one make when somebody steps into traffic without looking?

    I had no beef with parts of what you said. I have no issue with the light at 5th and Folsom. (and if we must address the entirety of each reply, then why did you not address my ‘shame’ comment?)

    I’m just asking why the kerfuffle when talking about ways to increase pedestrian vigilance? Why is that topic out of bounds? Sure, we did something at 5th and Folsom, cool, but that’s an exception and not the rule. For the most part our programs give the impression that as long as you’re in a crosswalk, everybody will stop for you, when tragically this is not the case. We should implement programs that increase pedestrian vigilance, not decrease it. Implementing programs that increase perceived safety causes tragedy.

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The city recently launched the WalkFirst program to lay a data-driven, participatory foundation for the effort to attain the main goal of its Pedestrian Strategy — cutting pedestrian injuries in half by 2021. In the coming months, staff from the SFMTA, the Planning Department, the Controller’s Office, and the Department of Public Health will field public input […]