Vision Zero Committee Hears Radio Spot and Other Efforts to Curtail Speeding

Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog
Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog

Note the ‘call to action’ at the end of this post.

Thursday afternoon, Supervisors Norman Yee and David Campos, commissioners on the County Transportation Authority Vision Zero Committee, heard updates from SFMTA officials on plans to install safety infrastructure and increase educational awareness on the dangers of speeding. They also discussed Mayor Ed Lee’s Executive Directive to, among other things, install speed humps in Golden Gate Park and protected bike lanes South of Market. Safety advocates also spoke, keeping up the pressure on city agencies to follow through on promised improvements.

John Knox White, Transportation Planner at SFMTA, gave a detailed update on the status of the Vision Zero Communications Outreach Program. “We’re trying to change San Francisco’s culture,” White told the committee. “We’re trying to change to a culture that embraces public safety.”

He talked about SFMTA’s outreach efforts to get people to consider the consequences of speeding. One example is a radio spot the SFMTA developed–no doubt many Streetsblog readers have already caught this on the radio–which includes the voice of an anguished motorist. “I didn’t have time to stop, I tried,” says the character in the spot. “But I was going too fast. I caused this funeral, now I have to live with that.” The narrator then adds: “The speed limit is 25 for a reason.”

SFMTA hopes to install more of these speed signs to remind drivers to slow down. Photo: SFMTA
SFMTA is installing more of these speed signs to remind drivers to slow down. Photo: SFMTA

White explained that the agency is also putting up banner signs at parking garages, reminding people to drive safely. They are also rolling out bus ads, one of which won the Communicator Award of Distinction in the Integrated Campaigns category from the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts.

Campos remarked that the radio spot and other material was “very powerful.”

Much of the rest of the presentation repeated content from the Public Safety Committee the previous week. Tom McGuire, Director of Sustainable Streets for SFMTA, again stressed that education, as well as infrastructure and enforcement, are important for making streets safer. And Janice Li of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition spoke to the committee to make sure they stay focused on rolling out safety infrastructure quickly–meaning protected bike lanes and intersections. “We’re thrilled the mayor has expressed this leadership [with the Executive Directive] but the hard work begins now to make sure these commitments are seen through,” she told Campos and Yee. “It’s not just small changes that we’re really thinking about, it should be the next generation of what our streets can look like.”

Cathy DeLuca, Walk SF Program and Policy Manager, had a similar message for the commissioners. “We want to see high quality safety infrastructure,” she said. DeLuca, who spoke separately with Streetsblog, is frustrated by plans to roll out Taraval Street improvements with five “pilot” train boarding islands that will be paint and signage only, rather than concrete. To DeLuca, that means the SFMTA is not taking the Mayor’s Executive Directive on safety to heart.  “The metric for [whether the pilot is successful] is 90 percent compliance,” she explained. “So only 90 percent of motorists have to yield [to trains boarding passengers in the street] 10 percent will not have to yield and that’s considered a safety treatment and that is absolutely negligent.”

James Shahamiri, an engineer with SFMTA, and Cathy DeLuca, of Walk SF at the Vision Zero Committee meeting. Photo: Streetsblog.
James Shahamiri, an engineer with SFMTA, and Cathy DeLuca, of Walk SF at the Vision Zero Committee meeting. Photo: Streetsblog

DeLuca reiterated that Walk SF is hoping to get turnout for Tuesday’s (tomorrow) SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting. Below is the call to action from Walk SF’s release that explains how Streetsblog readers can make themselves heard on this important issue:

Currently, the SFMTA’s L Taraval Safety Project includes ONLY 11 boarding islands, instead of the 16 needed. Worse yet…anti-transit and safety voices oppose ALL new boarding islands, which would force every rider to have to step directly into oncoming traffic!

If you can attend and add your voice–together, we can make Taraval safe. Walk SF will be providing simple talking points (if you don’t already have your own), as well as stickers for a show of support for everyone who attends. Please join us and help spread the word, including sharing the online petition at bit.ly/Petition2016Taraval (or signing if you didn’t already, the opposition had 1,000+ — we need to counter that). If approved, the project will enhance safety for people walking and getting on and off Muni, while also improving reliability for the L Taraval:

SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, September 20 at 1 p.m.
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., City Hall Room 400

If you can’t attend, please email the MTABoard@sfmta.com (and cc: info@walksf.org) — remind them that boarding islands save lives! and tell the SFMTA Board your safety must be their top priority.

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