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Street Score 2016

 In Actions, Education, Enforcement, Engineering, Public Policy, Vision Zero

The clock is ticking: only seven years remain to reach San Francisco’s ambitious Vision Zero goal to end all severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024. Three years into Vision Zero, there have been no significant reductions in the number of people killed or severely injured. Every 17 hours in San Francisco, someone is killed or severely injury in a crash. Twenty-five people have already been killed in 2016, including 14 people walking. The need for action is more urgent than ever to prevent crashes from continuing to claim the lives and limbs of people in our city.

Today, Walk San Francisco releases its annual report and a new film that together outline the important steps the City must take to save lives in San Francisco: Street Score 2016: Annual Report on the State of Walking in San Francisco, and the film There’s Always a Way, produced by filmmaker Darryl Jones. The report comes just steps ahead of the City’s updated Vision Zero Two-Year Action Strategy and analyzes the City’s approach to Vision Zero, as well as the City’s broader work that supports walking.

“Street Score 2016 outlines five important ways the City can invigorate its current Vision Zero approach. The recommendations draw from best practices, both here in the U.S. and abroad,” said Nicole Ferrara, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “We know that Vision Zero is possible – crashes aren’t merely accidents, they’re predictable and preventable. But to achieve Vision Zero, the City must take a more urgent and courageous approach to creating a truly safe transportation system, and that’s what the report explains in detail and the film conveys visually.”  

Street Score 2016: Annual Report on the State of Walking in San Francisco highlights five strategies the City should adopt in the Vision Zero Two-Year Action Strategy update and in their broader work related to walking:

  1. Put Equity Front and Center: San Francisco’s crashes are concentrated in low-income communities, communities of color, and areas with high numbers of seniors and people who rely on walking and transit as their primary means of transportation; these groups are two times more likely to live on San Francisco’s most dangerous streets. The City’s Vision Zero approach must be grounded in principles that support social justice and reduce these injury inequities in a meaningful way.
  2. Focus on Proven Approaches: With seven years remaining, there’s no time to waste on strategies that simply aren’t effective, like education campaigns around the personal behavior of the millions of individuals who use our streets every day. Instead, the City must employ strategies that are proven to work, like transforming streets so they naturally calm traffic and ensure that people drive slowly and yield to people in crosswalks.
  3. Build Comprehensive and Robust Projects and Treatments: The City has increased its implementation of safety improvements substantially since adopting Vision Zero. However, to meet its 2024 goal, the City must leverage every opportunity to comprehensively transform high-injury corridors into safe streets by pushing the boundaries of innovation, rather than simple spot-treatments at discrete intersections.
  4. Identify and Overcome Obstacles to Building the Safest Streets: Gaps in funding, lack of design innovation, and pushback from various sectors continue to compromise the quality and swift delivery of safety improvements on city streets. Without clearly acknowledging and effectively addressing these obstacles, the City risks compromising sub­stantive progress towards reaching its goals.
  5. Encourage Walking and Placemaking Projects: Walking is the most basic form of transportation. It’s climate friendly, has the lowest barrier to entry, and significantly improves both mental and physical health. In addition to ensuring the safety of people walking, the City should take simple steps towards encouraging more people to walk.

  “Government plays an important role in providing safe streets for people traveling through our City, which is why I’m proud to chair the SF County Transportation Authority’s Vision Zero Committee to push for quicker action and strong leadership on Vision Zero,” said Supervisor Norman Yee, who also serves as a founding member of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets. “As someone who has been personally affected by a traffic crash, it’s time we all say enough is enough and get to work on transformative approaches to Vision Zero.”

“While San Francisco deserves credit for leading the nation in the adoption and implementation of Vision Zero, the most important work lies ahead,” said Leah Shahum, founder and director of the Vision Zero Network. “Nearly three years in, it is critical that the City step up its efforts and focus on the strategies that are proven to calm traffic and save lives. This will take political will and a commitment to prioritize safety above all else. Walk SF’s Street Score report calls out ways to ensure San Francisco’s Vision Zero efforts yield safety results.”

There's Always a WayThere’s Always a Way, a three-minute a stop-motion animated film developed by Darryl Jones, visualizes the changes needed to achieve Vision Zero, which is crucial for seniors, since they are five times more likely to be killed in crashes than younger adults. The film addresses how City leaders and the public at large play a role in achieving safe streets. The film also demonstrates how people can turn their grief into action, echoing the spirit of a new advocacy group, the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets. The group includes people affected by traffic violence who want to advocate for change and support others in the community experiencing a similar tragedy. The film ends with a call to action to stand up for safe streets for seniors by signing a petition to prevent future crashes from plaguing this at-risk group.

“Too often, the human experience gets pushed to the background of big city-planning and policy efforts in San Francisco,” says filmmaker Darryl Jones, who has documented issues affecting the public realm before. “Using film helps us to remind the policy-makers that families are grieving the losses of their loved ones. Sometimes, a story is what is needed to push people into action. That’s what I hope to do with this animated film”.

With seven years remaining, the City has the tools, savvy, and support to turn up the intensity on the progress made in years one through three and reach one of the most ambitious goals it has ever adopted.

The film, There’s Always a Way, can be found here in English with Spanish, Chinese and Russian subtitles on YouTube.