Walk S.F. Demands Enforcement on Vision Zero

A note from the organization's director

Protesters at a vigil held in May, painting "ghost feet" where  a man was run down by a bus in the Tenderloin. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Protesters at a vigil held in May, painting "ghost feet" where a man was run down by a bus in the Tenderloin. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

We don’t often publish a release directly, but this one seemed fitting, given the backsliding that’s happening on our streets… from our friends at Walk S.F.:

You may have seen today’s Chronicle articleenforcement of the five most dangerous driving behaviors, called “Focus on the Five,” has plummeted in the past two years. Meanwhile, of course, there are tens of thousands more vehicles on the roads.

As I state in the article, it’s unconscionable that a city committed to Vision Zero would allow traffic enforcement to drop to these astonishingly low levels.

But there’s good news out of Mayor Breed’s office. The SF Police Department will double the number of traffic officers dedicated exclusively to Focus on the Five citations. The SFMTA is about to pilot “left turn calming.” In addition, Mayor Breed asked SFMTA to create a plan by January to develop a “no right on red” policy. These are both solutions we’ve been strongly advocating for to help prevent crashes in the crosswalks.

We are thankful to Mayor Breed for pushing city agencies to do more – and to do it faster.

Now is a good time to email Mayor Breed to thank her for her leadership on safe streets, and ask her to keep pushing toward Vision Zero. The need for safe streets couldn’t be more urgent, and so much still must be done. We are in a state of emergency for traffic safety.

That’s why Walk San Francisco will continue to hold the SFPD and SFMTA accountable. We will win state legislation to bring speed safety cameras and lower speed limits to San Francisco. We will make the city’s first raised crosswalk (coming to Page Street next year) be the first of many. And we will create many more car-free spaces, including Market Street!

So I want to truly thank you for being part of this movement for safe streets for all. Step by step, we will get there together.

Lastly, if you’re free, I’d love it if you could join me at the next SFMTA Board Meeting on Tuesday, September 3rd. At this meeting, the SFMTA and Department of Health will give a Vision Zero update. This is a perfect chance to speak up about the SFPD’s enforcement (or lack thereof) of dangerous driving behaviors and thank SFMTA for moving forward innovative safety solutions. Please email brian@walksf.org if you can make it; we will share some talking points.

Walk on,

Jodie Medeiros
Executive Director, Walk San Francisco

  • I don’t want to sound rude, but shouldn’t a focus also be on bad pedestrians too? I’ve seen some very easily avoidable incidents if pedestrians didn’t do stuff like crossing against a no-cross signal, and jaywalking especially in front of an incoming car.

  • mx

    This is who is speaking for Vision Zero in SF (they later deleted this, and I will give them credit for taking the time at 1am to try again, that’s someone who cares):

    https://twitter.com/dgouldin/status/1167467772785246208

    Besides the victim-blaming, and even if you accept some of SFPD’s nonsensical fault determinations, this is false, see https://medium.com/@ptraughber/a-list-of-people-killed-while-riding-a-bicycle-in-san-francisco-1456bbd017d9. Our Vision Zero efforts consist of ad campaigns based on false pretenses instead of safe infrastructure and enforcement.

    No wonder we have zero vision. I’m encouraged by the leadership from the Mayor’s office today, but the entire city family, from the Board of Supervisors (watering down projects, not insisting on safety in their district) to SFMTA (watering down projects, lethargic pace) to DPT (will ticket a driver for overstaying a meter by 5 minutes, but drives past cars parked in bike lanes) to SFPD (not giving a damn about the citywide traffic lawlessness we see every day), has failed to take action.

  • SF Guest

    The emphasis of pedestrian safety on this forum has always been and always will be on improving street infrastructure and enforcement.

    Reckless pedestrian behavior is simply not covered here and any mention thereof is regarded as victim blaming despite road safety being a shared responsibility between all road users, and it’s assumed aggressively pursuing street infrastructure improvements and enforcement alone will reduce pedestrian fatalities.

    If more pedestrians applied the assumption motorists are human and make mistakes while it’s in their own best interest to ensure a motorist sees them while crossing a street less fatalities would occur, but again the emphasis in this forum is to improve street infrastructure and enforcement to reduce fatalities.

    While the City has a responsibility to promote a safe street infrastructure for pedestrians, vulnerable pedestrians also have an implied duty to be vigilant against two ton hunks of metal who fail to stop while traveling at high speeds.

  • Cole the Happy

    Most of the pedestrian fatalities this year have been seniors and people legally in the crosswalk at the time they were hit. What were they supposed to have done differently? Not be seniors? Waited until there were no cars present in any direction before they crossed the street? I’ve gotten annoyed at some pedestrian behavior the same as anyone, but it’s just not the same as driving recklessly.

  • Do Something Nice

    “While the City has a responsibility to promote a safe street infrastructure for pedestrians, vulnerable pedestrians also have an implied duty to be vigilant against two ton hunks of metal who fail to stop while traveling at high speeds.”

    Nice avoidance of putting any responsibility on automobile drivers. Yes, it is all on the pedestrians. Or something.

  • Chris J.

    The San Francisco Fire Department is another part of SF that has been in the way of traffic safety measures (e.g. speed humps and protected bike lanes).

  • @Akit – I don’t want to sound rude, but “fOCus aLSo on BAd PeDEstrIAnS” has been the prevailing approach for [checks watch] 97 years, and has not been effective.

    Vision Zero, by which I mean the real Vision Zero that actually had results in Sweden, only took 75 years to figure this out and had absolutely none of this #BothSides distraction in it, but I guess we’re slower learners.

  • p_chazz

    Both times I was hit by a motorist, I was in the crosswalk with the right of way. Crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security.I think it’s actually safer to jaywalk.

  • SF Guest

    Uh, “two ton hunks of metal who fail to stop while traveling at high speeds” is illegal, and my mention of pedestrians being vigilant while crossing the street DOES NOT avoid the “responsibility of automobile drivers” nor did I imply that in my post.

    In my 2d paragraph I stated: “. . . despite road safety being a [shared] responsibility between all road users.” That shared responsibility applies to both motorists and pedestrians.
    Every pedestrian has a duty to “Cross the road safely” which is defined as Stop, Look and Cross.

    In my two near fatal pedestrian collisions it was my vigilance and alertness that averted negligent motorists: (1) I backed off in time when a motorist saw me leave the sidewalk but made a left turn and cut off my right-of-way; and (2) I leaped forward to avert a motorist going in reverse at a dangerous speed.

    In both cases if I was not vigilant I would have been severely injured by a negligent driver. In both cases infrastructure was not at issue — it was driver responsibility or lack thereof.
    Pedestrian safety will always be a shared responsibility between the motorist and the pedestrian. Based on your views of motorists you should agree pedestrians should never blindly put their lives in the hands of a motorist.

  • Gary Chicago

    Can you blame any police officer for not wanting to stop person for a traffic infraction , the paper work , the attention by by standers putting the event on social media , the 20/20 hindsight from others ……to what issue a traffic citation?

  • Gary Chicago

    Agree- never anyone taking personal responsibility for their own safety on most initiatives

  • MonadnockMan

    Let’s get through the morass called SFO politics that are geared to everything else but public safety When SFO decided to become an advocate for feel good freebie babble and immediately removing all consequences specific to law breakers. Next, the enforcement environment was hamstrung by dufus irresponsible liberal activist where they must make dramatic adjustments to very effective enforcement management, in the negative!

    To start with, when elected person(s) assume office the vast majority are activist wackos of the Sanders’ faction and thus we have discovered the causation of the degradation of law enforcement. When a law is written that allows the criminal not be be charged unless it is over 750 USD. Are you F’en kidding me!!!

    Civilized countries exercising quality law enforcement standard should have less disruption and more of this type of statement. “Why that is the first time of have heard of that situation in years?”

    When you have individuals with activist mentality who somehow have NOW got their hands on the taxpayers contributions, all hell breaks loose with zero results. It is like have a poker game where the only requirement is to anti, but never deal the cards!!!

  • MonadnockMan

    Identify encouragement specific to leadership from the Mayor’s office?

  • @Gary Chicago – I can totally blame them for 1) not doing their job, and also for 2) very frequently not even knowing the law, which is a prerequisite for doing their job.

  • @MonadnockMan – You sound completely and absolutely sane as you describe your deep delve into the minds of people you totally understand.

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