WalkSF, Supervisor Chiu Call for Action on Pedestrian Safety

WalkSF Execute Director Elizabeth Stampe. Photo: Aaron Bialick
WalkSF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Pedestrian and livable streets advocates gathered Thursday for WalkSF’s Annual Member Meeting to celebrate the organization’s success and discuss how to improve walking conditions in San Francisco. Though the speakers — including WalkSF executive director Elizabeth Stampe, State Senator Mark Leno and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu — touted recent victories, including funding from vehicle fees via the recently passed Proposition AA and agreements with the upcoming CityPlace retail center, they also argued more action is needed to take on the city’s walkability challenges.

“Right now, 800 people a year are getting hit by cars in San Francisco. That’s more than 2 people a day,” said Stampe. “It’s been that way for several years, and I think we need to change it.”

Last month, the SFMTA released a report modeled on New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, though it failed to include the “action plan” part of the model. Stampe called for such a plan to reduce pedestrian crashes, make the streets safer to walk and increase physical activity.

Supervisor David Chiu pledged to push city agencies to fulfill their mandate to improve safety conditions. “What I committed to [advocates in my district] is that in the very first meeting of our County Transit Authority next year, I am going to be calling for a study of what our city has been doing in the area of pedestrian safety to coordinate the efforts to not just think of this not just as a transit issue, but as a public health issue,” he said.

In addition to WalkSF’s pedestrian advocacy around physical safety improvements, the organization has campaigned to raise the visibility of pedestrians in the media. “We’re trying to change the conversation from being about blaming the pedestrian and more into sharing the streets and getting folks to recognize that people who are driving have more responsibility,” said Stampe.

In addition to working with Friends of Monterey Boulevard for a safer Sunnyside thoroughfare, they also led a pilot program for 15 mph school zones in that neighborhood.

“Those kids really want to walk,” she said. “We need to make it safer for them to do that.”

The meeting was very well attended. Photo: Aaron Bialick
The meeting was very well attended. Photo: Aaron Bialick
Attendees could point out "problems or opportunities" on a city map. Click to enlarge. Photo: Aaron Bialick


San Francisco Pedestrian Safety Efforts Mired in City Bureaucracy

Despite a growing political focus on pedestrian safety, a thick layer of city bureaucracy and lack of funding are stalling real change to prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities on San Francisco streets, including three deaths in just the last week. The red tape and dysfunction became abundantly clear at a presentation and discussion at City […]

Advocates: Despite Bike-Ped Death, Cars Still Greatest Danger to Peds

In the midst of a wave of media attention around the recent bicycle-pedestrian death in the Castro, walking and bicycling advocates today re-affirmed the greatest dangers facing pedestrians on San Francisco’s streets: high-speed roads and dangerous driving behavior. In a KQED radio forum this morning, Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe, SF Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum, […]

David Chiu: Bike Network Expansion Is Transportation Priority #1

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who for the past 24 hours has served as Acting Mayor of San Francisco, said expanding the city’s bike network will be his number one transportation priority in the coming year, along with pedestrian safety and improving Muni’s reliability and performance. “First and foremost, as someone who bikes every […]