The mayor’s “State of the City” speech last Friday was a major opportunity for Ed Lee to call for the changes needed to sharply reduce traffic deaths in San Francisco. Lee did endorse the Vision Zero goal, though it wasn’t exactly a full-throated call to action. He also re-affirmed his desire to repeal metered parking on Sundays, ignoring the benefits reported by the SFMTA.
The idea that San Francisco should aim to eliminate traffic fatalities has recently picked up momentum from many different quarters in city government. Vision Zero resolutions proposed by the Board of Supervisors and the SFMTA Board of Directors appear to have broad support, and the SFPD backed the goal last week with policy reforms that should improve police response to crashes that injure pedestrians and cyclists. At a meeting immediately following a rally at City Hall yesterday, the SFMTA Board directed its staff to draft a Vision Zero resolution, as proposed by vice chair Cheryl Brinkman, who noted that ”we play a major role in ensuring that pedestrians can safely walk the streets of San Francisco.”
“People shouldn’t be killed or seriously hurt just trying to get around our city,” said SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin, who praised the “leadership from the mayor and the Board of Supervisors.”
The mayor’s address on traffic violence, while touching on several aspects of street safety, lacked the sense of urgency and moral commitment that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio conveyed in a Vision Zero announcement earlier this month. Here’s what Lee had to say:
And let me say a few words about another public safety challenge on our City’s streets that last year grew at an alarming rate, and that’s the safety of our pedestrians and bicyclists.
This week I announced a renewed strategy to keep people safe, including stepped up enforcement, especially against reckless drivers, better training for commercial drivers and those who drive the most, our “Be Nice, Look Twice” public education campaign, and improvements in places like Polk Street and South Van Ness, where we most urgently need improvements.
It’s another reason the transportation measures I discussed earlier are so important, so we can dramatically expand our segregated bike lanes and pedestrian bulb-outs.