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Walk SF Takes Stock of a Year of Progress Towards Safe Streets

Survivors and victims of road violence talked about "Families for Safe Streets," and affiliate group of Walk SF. Photo: Streetsblog

Survivors and victims of road violence talked about “Families for Safe Streets,” an affiliate group of Walk SF, launched in part by Julie Mitchell, seen speaking here. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, Walk San Francisco held its holiday “Woonerven” party at SPUR’s Urban Center on Mission Street in downtown San Francisco. Woonerven is a Dutch word that translates to “living yard” or “residential grounds,” referring to streets that are intended for multiple uses. On a Woonerven street, all are welcome, and cars are limited to  “walking speed,” explained Nicole Ferrara, Walk SF’s executive director, to the crowd.

More than a party, the event was a chance for Walk SF to look back at its accomplishments for the year, talk about planning for 2017, and remind themselves of the importance of making streets safe and livable, especially in the midst of the holiday season. “This is a difficult time of the year,” said Julie Mitchell, whose son Dylan was killed by an inattentive truck driver three years ago “Dylan was born on Christmas Day.”

Walk SF took donations and held a raffle. They also handed out copies of their annual report, entitled “Street Score 2016.”  Ferrara gave a presentation, and talked about how far the group has come–and how far it has to go.

A graphic from Walk SF's annual report shows progress. Image: Walk SF

A graphic from Walk SF’s annual report. Image: Walk SF

The report says Walk SF will continue to strive in five distinct areas: equity, proven approaches, robust projects and treatments, identifying obstacles for safe streets, and encouraging walking and place-making projects. One of those obstacles is a state law that prohibits the use of Automatic Speed Enforcement cameras (ASE) in California. For next year, Ferrara made it clear the campaign to get Sacramento to allow ASE will be a central focus.

In the end, the precise, data-driven goals of Walk SF come back to the human cost of excessively wide streets that encourage dangerous speeding and deter walking and cycling. This basic sentiment was well expressed by a Walk SF-produced short film, There’s Always a Way, by filmmaker Darryl Jones. It debuted at the party and is now available online. This sentimental, animated short really sums up what the livable streets movement, at its core, is all about. Be sure to check it out. And sign Walk SF’s petition in support of safe streets for seniors.

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Crash on Potrero: Injuries are Not Enough to Get Safer Streets?

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Dana Cray Fernie having a gash sewn up after she was knocked from her bike Nov. 29. Photo: AnnaGrace Arnold

Dana Cray Fernie having a gash sewn up after she was knocked from her bike November 29. Photo: AnnaGrace Arnold

Last week, cyclist Dana Cray Fernie was out riding on Potrero when she was hit and knocked down by a motorist. AnnaGrace Arnold, a close friend, wrote this description on the SF Bike Ride Crew Facebook page:

My friend Dana was hit while riding her bike Tuesday 11/29 going southbound on Potrero between 22nd & 23rd (in front of SFGH), sometime between 10:15-10:27 pm. Specifically, she was hit at 1072 Potrero, which you can see in this photo [below], taken from across the street. PLEASE HELP US LOCATE THE DRIVER. If you were in the area at the time & witnessed the accident, or if you have seen a DARK BLUE, late model MINI COOPER which is now missing a SIDE MIRROR, contact me!! Any information could be helpful. SF is a small city and I know we can find the person who hit my friend & fled the scene if this post gets around. Please, please share!!!!

According to Arnold, Fernie is still not feeling in shape to talk with a reporter. “Dana is still foggy and sleeping,” said Arnold of her friend, who sustained a lot of road rash, a concussion, and a gash near her hairline–and, fortunately, no broken bones. She also doesn’t remember the crash.

Read more…

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Redwood City El Camino Real Safety Fixes Still Years Away

Hazardous and uncomfortable conditions greet people walking and bicycling on or along El Camino Real in Redwood City. Photos: Dyett & Bhatia

Hazardous and uncomfortable conditions greet people walking and bicycling on or along El Camino Real in Redwood City. Photos: Dyett & Bhatia

Redwood City hosted the first of two scheduled community meetings on its El Camino Real Corridor Plan last month, aiming to lay the groundwork for redeveloping commercial parcels along the roadway and transform it into a Complete Street. After this study is finished sometime next year, a separate study funded by a grant from Caltrans will pay for a new design to rebuild a one half-mile segment of the street that spans the Woodside Road interchange.

“It’s ultimately going to consist of a set of roadway and streetscape improvements, which improve mobility, safety, and aesthetics,” said Project Manager Sophie Martin of consulting firm Dyett & Bhatia, at the November 16 meeting.

Read more…

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Safety Advocates Dominate Golden Gate Open House

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SFMTA's Miriam Sorell gets feedback from Adam Long and Johnny Huynh. Photo: Streetsblog

SFMTA’s Miriam Sorell gets feedback from Adam Long and Johnny Huynh. Photo: Streetsblog

Saturday morning, the San Francisco Department of Recreation and Parks (RPD) held an open house to get feedback about potential pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements for Golden Gate Park. It was held in the County Fair Building Auditorium in the park and was attended by some 40-50 people.

From the department website:

Tell us about how you get around Golden Gate Park and about specific locations where you have felt unsafe or see opportunities for improvement. We will share background about previous Park safety efforts and ongoing challenges, and we will ask you to provide feedback on the City’s priorities for this project. Your input will help RPD and SFMTA develop recommendations to make Golden Gate Park safe for all travelers through the Park; these recommendations will be presented at subsequent public events.

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Guest Editorial: TDM is a Roadmap for Sustainable Transportation

Transportation Demand Management can help balance modes in a more equitable and sustainable way Photo: Streetsblog

Transportation Demand Management can help balance modes in a more sustainable way. Photo: Streetsblog

Monday at 1:30, the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) ordinance that will require projects larger than 10 dwelling units or 10,000 square feet to adopt stronger measures to reduce auto trips.

The new TDM proposal represents a step forward. However, it will have greater impact on the livability of San Francisco if it includes four key changes: Read more…

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Bike Coalition Strategizes a Safer SoMa

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SFBC's South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. Photo: Streetsblog

SFBC’s South of Market committee strategizing how to make the neighborhood safer. That’s Remi Ray, Charles Deffarges, Katie Brenzo, and Moses Nakamura. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, the South of Market Committee of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) met at their Market Street office to discuss advocacy tactics for making sure SFMTA follows through on Mayor Edwin Lee’s Executive Directive on safety in their neighborhood. “They’re hoping to get this in the ground by May of 2017,” said Charles Deffarges, community organizer with the Bicycle Coalition. He pointed to SFMTA designs, projected on a screen for the group, of 7th and 8th streets, with physically protected bike lanes. “This design is not all the way there, but it is a first phase,” he said.

Streetsblog readers will recall that on the evening of June 22, Kate Slattery and Heather Miller were killed in separate incidents in San Francisco. Slattery died at the intersection of 7th and Howard streets. A month later, under intense pressure from the Bicycle Coalition, the mayor issued an “executive directive on safety.” Part of the directive was specific to the area where Slattery was killed, instructing “SFMTA to deliver near­-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months.”

That process is now under way. Streetsblog covered an open house back in September, where SFMTA got feedback on designs for 7th and 8th. Now the Bicycle Coalition is focusing on longer-term planning for Folsom and Howard Streets. They want to keep up the pressure and make sure safety measures are put through before any more cyclists are hurt or killed. SFMTA is holding open houses on the designs on Thursday, December 8, and Saturday, December 10.

“My hope is we can figure out exactly what we want to achieve through this open house,” said Deffarges. “Our overarching goal for Folsom and Howard is to have the best streets possible–how do we use these upcoming open houses to leverage that goal?” Read more…

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SPUR Talk: Update on Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit

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A look at a short segment of Geary that will get true "BRT" upgrades. Image: CTA

A look at a short segment of Geary that will get true “BRT” upgrades. Image: CTA

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (CTA), along with SFMTA, is completing its final environmental review for “Bus Rapid Transit” and other street improvements on Geary. Last week, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) held an update/discussion about this busy corridor.

As many Streetsblog readers already know, the planned improvements are primarily in response to the overcrowding on the 38 bus, which runs the length of Geary to downtown San Francisco. “At 52,000 daily riders, it’s pretty crammed,” said Colin Dental-Post, Transportation Planner with CTA. “They’re stuck in traffic, so adding additional buses doesn’t necessarily work out…buses are so frequent they just bunch up…which results in further delays.”

CTA's Colin Dentel-Post, TransForm's Joel Ramos, Kevin Stull of the Geary CAC, and Nicole Ferrara of Walk SF. Photo: Streetsblog

CTA’s Colin Dentel-Post, TransForm’s Joel Ramos, Kevin Stull of the Geary CAC, and Nicole Ferrara of Walk SF. Photo: Streetsblog

True enough. And as readers are no doubt aware, Geary has long been eyed as a corridor badly in need of transit improvements, going back to old BART plans that had a line going under Geary before turning up to the Golden Gate Bridge for a trip to Marin County. But every rail and subway proposal has fallen by the wayside. Read more…

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Motorist Convenience Still Trumps Safety in South San Francisco

South San Francisco plans to install bike lanes that will disappear to preserve these parking spaces on El Camino Real, right next to a large parking lot and five-story structure at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Photo: Google Maps

South San Francisco plans to install bike lanes that will disappear to preserve these parallel parking spaces on El Camino Real. Photo: Google Maps

South San Francisco will rebuild a one-mile segment of El Camino Real this Spring with wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, curb extensions, pedestrian refuges, bike lanes, and new street trees planted in both the medians and sidewalks. However, the bike lanes won’t be continuous–to preserve curbside parking, in places they will disappear. And some intersections will remain dangerous to cross.

Stretching from McClellan Boulevard to Chestnut Avenue, the $4 million streetscape upgrade is the most extensive to date of a series of Grand Boulevard Initiative Complete Streets projects spearheaded by SamTrans and the cities located along that hazardous, auto-oriented arterial street. The city will reduce the speed limit along its entire 2.5-mile segment of El Camino Real from 40 to 35 miles per hour. New speed limit signs are to be installed in mid-December, whether permitting. Read more…

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Remembering Victims of Road Violence

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The walk ended in front of City Hall in San Francisco. Photo: Streetsblog

The walk ended in front of City Hall in San Francisco. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday afternoon, advocates from Walk San Francisco joined the newly formed “Families for Safe Streets” and others, for a walk of remembrance for traffic victims. The walk, with a crowd of nearly 100 participants, started at 16th and Mission and followed a circuitous route through some of San Francisco’s most notorious intersections, concluding with a vigil in front of City Hall.

From Walk San Francisco’s release:

At a time of year when most people are making plans to spend time with family to celebrate, other families will face empty seats at their Thanksgiving tables. On November 20, these families announced their newly formed group: the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) Families for Safe Streets. Members of SFBA Families for Safe Streets have lost loved ones, care for loved ones severely injured, or suffer from nearly life-ending traffic violence themselves.

Family members from across the Bay Area affected by traffic violence led a walk through a number of San Francisco neighborhoods alongside City and State leaders, doctors and nurses, and community members all wearing yellow to honor victims and call for safe streets. They carried signs with “Crash Not Accident,” to shift both public and policy-maker thinking that erroneously assumes traffic crashes are inevitable. Family members and friends held pictures of their loved ones to bring awareness to the real lives ended or affected by traffic crashes.

Read more…

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SFMTA Gets Input on Plans for a Better Embarcadero

The current green striped, door-death lane on Embarcadero. Photo: Streetsblog

The current green-striped, unprotected lane on Embarcadero. Photo: Streetsblog

Yesterday evening, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency held an open house, at Pier 1 on the Embarcadero, to get public feedback for the Embarcadero Enhancement Project. From the SFMTA website:

The SFMTA, Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Planning Department and San Francisco Public Works Department are collaborating on a planning project that will increase safety and comfort of travel along The Embarcadero. Working with the community, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project seeks to develop a Complete Streets conceptual design and cost estimate that includes a bikeway along The Embarcadero from AT&T Park at King Street to the Fisherman’s Wharf area. A bikeway is a bicycle facility that is physically separated from moving or parked vehicles and pedestrians.

The meeting was split into two spaces to showcase and discuss two alternatives for the street. In one room, seen in the first photo after the break, was a “complete streets” plan that would put a curbside, protected bike lane on both sides of the Embarcadero. The other plan is exploring a bi-directional lane on the seaside promenade.
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