Safety Advocates Rip City’s Vision Zero Strategy

Without metrics, transit improvements, and rock-solid commitments, San Francisco's Vision Zero plan is destined to fail

The scene last Friday where Tess Rothstein was killed on Howard. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The scene last Friday where Tess Rothstein was killed on Howard. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

There will be another People Protected Bike Lane protest on Howard Street tonight, Friday, March 15, starting at Fremont. 5-6 p.m. 

Walk San Francisco reports that yet another senior was struck by a motorist. Details are still coming in, but the latest victim was hit Wednesday while “…walking to Kaiser; got hit on 6th Avenue and Geary,” and was seriously injured, according to the organization’s spokesperson, Marta Lindsey, in an email to Streetsblog.

As the carnage continues, The Vision Zero Coalition, fed up with rhetoric and empty promises, has delivered a scathing letter that tears into the city’s latest “Vision Zero” strategy document. Although they compliment the Mayor and other officials for their personal commitments to safety, they criticize the strategy for lacking performance metrics, specific goals, and for omitting transit improvements as a method for achieving safe streets.

From the letter, which is signed by eighteen advocacy groups:

We are five years into Vision Zero, with only five years left to reach our goal. Nevertheless, this Strategy does not include any mention of progress to date, except in one paragraph in the “Note from the Mayor.” There is no update on the actions and metrics from the previous two Strategies, which leaves the City completely unaccountable and leaves us with little faith in the current Strategy.

The letter, which is addressed to the mayor, SFMTA head Ed Reiskin, and other relevant officials, also takes the city to task for not committing to eliminating injuries. “Five hundred people are severely injured in traffic crashes every year in San Francisco, and yet the new Action Strategy doesn’t list the number of severe injuries as a metric. This is a missed opportunity to measure the City’s progress toward Vision Zero.”

The letter stresses that Muni improvements “…are needed for us to reach zero, since transit-robust cities have fewer crashes and most major Muni corridors are on the high-injury network.”

At yesterday’s Vision Zero Committee of San Francisco at City Hall, Walk S.F.’s Cathy DeLuca added this:

What’s the stuff that we can’t do or that we don’t have the money to do? That we need to find the money for? What’s the plan? What’s the roadmap? We’re not asking for miracles …We know that communities that use transit are much safer, so if we get more people riding transit, fewer people are going to get hit by cars. So what’s the City’s plan to improve transit to get us to Vision Zero?

It was late last month that Zhao Guan was hit and killed at the intersection of 18th and California, one of three older adults killed since the start of the year. And, as shown in the lead image, Tess Rothstein, 30, was killed cycling in SoMa last week.

Note: Streetsblog just confirmed that Wednesday’s victim on Geary, who is 79, will survive her injuries. “The Ped is doing good, out of ICU, and talking/eating. She is expected to be released shortly,” wrote a representative of the San Francisco police in an email.

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