WalkSF's Response to "Careless Pedestrians" Article in Chronicle

Posted Thursday October 15, 2009 by Jolynne

The following is a response to the C.W. Nevius authored column “S.F. a dangerous city for careless pedestrians


Mr. Nevius:

I read with interest your column today entitled “SF a dangerous city for careless pedestrians”.  First one of the things that I always like to say is “Everyone is a pedestrian, even if all of the walking you do is to and from your car.”  The point is that everyone is a pedestrian and many people drive or take transit or ride a bike.  Few people get around exclusively by walking, but everyone does walk as part of their means of getting around.  Its a question of care and courtesy no matter which mode of transportation you happen to be engaging in.

Having said that, in the SFMTA report that you cited in your column ( http://www.sfmta.com/cms/rtraffic/documents/Collision_report_2007.pdf ) if you look on page 5, in table 3 it notes that “Violations by the Pedestrian” was cited as the cause for 8% of all collisions in 2007.  Now to be fair, the report notes that 26% of all injury collisions involve a pedestrian.  However, this still means that less than 1/3 of all collisions involving a pedestrian are the fault of the pedestrian with the other 2/3 the fault of the driver.

I do appreciate your advocacy for traffic calming.  In addition to naked streets, London is also experimenting with turning off traffic lights  ( http://tr.im/BU50 ).  While “roundabouts” might not work in much of San Francisco, there is a smaller version of these known as “traffic circles” that are appropriate for neighborhood streets.  Berkeley and Seattle have used traffic circles with great success, Seattle seeing many intersections go to 0 crashes.  We attempted these in 2004 on Page St., however, they were a failure because the circles weren’t large enough as per best practices in other cities.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further.


Manish Champsee
Walk San Francisco