While there’s no concrete Pedestrian Action Strategy (formerly the “Action Plan”) for San Franciscans to read over yet, city officials went ahead and held a press conference today to tell the public the document is coming next month.
Mayor Ed Lee, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, and other officials gathered on the Powell Street Promenade (a.k.a. the “mega-parklet”) to tout the importance of street safety improvements and targeted enforcement efforts to reduce pedestrian injuries by 25 percent by 2016, and 50 percent by 2020, as set out in former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Directive on Pedestrian Safety.
The press event was unusual in that the officials didn’t have much substance to make public at this time. They previewed the pedestrian safety plan but that was about it. Lee said the plan will help ”lessen the inequality that exists that we know today between neighborhoods, where people literally fear walking on our streets.”
The main piece of actual news to surface today is that SFPD is using a new data-driven enforcement tactic called “Focus on the Five.” SFPD Deputy Chief of Special Operations Denise Schmitt said that under this strategy, each police district is targeting enforcement at its top five most dangerous intersections or areas, as well as focusing on the top five most dangerous traffic violations: drivers running red lights, running stop signs, violating pedestrian right-of-way, committing turning violations, and speeding.
Schmitt said police are targeting corridors like Market Street, Van Ness Avenue, and 19th Avenue, where a disproportionately high number of the 800-900 vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur every year. ”We’ve got to bring these incidents down,” said Schmitt. “Really, what this is all about is saving lives and letting people enjoy this city.”
“The need for action is clear,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe, who called “Focus on the Five” and the developing Pedestrian Action Strategy “promising” ways to “use data to prevent traffic crimes just as we do to prevent other crimes.”