Sup. Kim Raises Banners to Tell Drivers to Slow Down in SoMa and Tenderloin

D6 Supervisor Jane Kim wants you to know that driving fast in her district is not okay. At a press event today, Kim drew attention to the banners recently raised on 150 street poles telling drivers to slow down in the South of Market and Tenderloin districts.

Photo: Davi Lang/Twitter
Photo: Davi Lang/Twitter

The “Slow down!” banners feature images of people, including “Mother” Elaine Jones, a community activist who has called for safety measures on deadly streets like Sixth, beneath the words “I live here.”

Kim had the banners created using general funds set aside for District 6. “These banners portray real residents and small business owners uniting across neighborhood lines for a common goal — zero pedestrian deaths by 2024,” she said in a statement, referring to the city’s Vision Zero goals.

“Traffic safety concerns, especially speeding, are the top reason why San Francisco parents choose not to walk or roll with their kids,” Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara said in a statement. “We’re grateful for Supervisor Kim’s initiative in developing this signage, and her leadership in ensuring that streets around schools, such as Bessie [Carmichael Elementary], are prioritized for safety improvements.”

The “Slow down!” banners are part of the Vision Zero publicity campaigns coordinated by the SF Department of Public Health. Though media campaigns alone haven’t been shown to slow drivers significantly, a study released last week by the SFMTA and SFDPH [PDF] found that, when combined with targeted enforcement, they increase the rate of drivers yielding to pedestrians slightly — by 3.2 percent on average.

Redesigning streets has been shown to be far more effective at reducing injuries. But “in addition to the work we’re doing to hard-wire safety into the streets, we can also influence the software, the behavior,” SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin told the SF Chronicle. “It’s encouraging to see that this can actually work.”

“In thinking about Vision Zero and safety, it is important to remember the people who are impacted by traffic fatalities and injuries,” said a statement from SFMTA’s John Knox White, who manages the agency’s Safe Streets SF campaign. Kim’s campaign “does a great job of reminding us why this issue is so important,” he said.

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