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Mayor Breed: Be the champion San Francisco needs now for safe streets

 In Public Policy, Vision Zero

July 26, 2018

The Honorable London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco
1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Mayor Breed,

In January, you stood with us at City Hall as a Vision Zero leader. Together, we celebrated San Francisco’s progress toward eliminating all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2024, with 2017 having the lowest-ever number of traffic fatalities recorded in San Francisco history. Yet in just the past month we have seen the tragic and preventable deaths of Kevin Manning and Dmitry Scotkin.

Both Kevin and Dmitry were hit on streets designated as high-injury corridors, where the vast majority of crashes occur in our city. The City’s Vision Zero policy and efforts are meant to fix these known dangerous streets. But the pace and investment needed to transform our streets into truly safe, welcoming spaces for people of all ages and abilities is simply inadequate.

That’s why we are calling on you, Mayor Breed, to be the pedestrian champion San Francisco needs right now to create life-saving streets.

We believe you can be the Mayor who gets our city all the way to Vision Zero. Here’s how.

1. Ensure city agencies work together quickly to deliver long-delayed major capital projects on the Vision Zero high-injury network. Delays like those we have seen on the Embarcadero are deadly. We need you as Mayor to step in and make sure agencies coordinate their work, and do interim fixes while the big plans get worked out.

2. Ask the SFMTA to immediately install flexible near-term safety improvements on 100% of the Vision Zero high-injury network. With only six years left to reach Vision Zero, we need to act quickly and creatively. Temporary, inexpensive treatments using paint and posts have been proven effective at increasing safety, plus they allow testing of street designs before installing costly long-term infrastructure.

3. Aggressively pursue transportation revenue sources to pay for the safety projects needed to make streets across the entire city safe for all users. We need to invest soon and significantly to ensure San Francisco can provide the dependable public transportation and quality walking and bicycle infrastructure our growing city demands – and Vision Zero requires. We need your leadership to support solutions, from ballot measures to congestion pricing.

4. Keep the Better Market Street project on track. Half a million people walk on Market Street every day, but it’s also one of our most dangerous streets. The Better Market Street project is scheduled to break ground next year; let’s keep that goal and not let it slip. Your leadership can transform Market Street into the grand boulevard it should be for people walking, biking, and taking public transportation – and the crown jewel of the city.

5. Work with emerging mobility companies so that new technologies contribute – rather than set us back – in reaching to San Francisco’s critically important policies of Transit-First and Vision Zero. A safe, healthy, and equitable San Francisco is one where getting around without a car is the convenient, affordable, and preferred choice. This must be at forefront when approaching emerging mobility, as well as harnessing the travel data that’s now available to the City.

Mayor Breed, you can change the course of San Francisco’s future and save countless lives by being the mayor who gets our city to Vision Zero. And your leadership can go beyond Vision Zero, too.

Here’s some inspiration: London just announced its plan to become the most walkable city in the world. The City of London’s streets will be designed, built, and managed to prioritize people walking, with the goal of an extra 1 million trips on foot per day. Why? Because with London’s rapidly growing population, “it’s vital that action is taken to avoid growing congestion, overcrowding, pollution, and ill health.” The same is true for San Francisco.

Just imagine how vibrant, connected, and equitable our communities would be if we decided to make San Francisco the most walkable city in the United States.

It’s possible. Let’s think big together. Let’s bring some of the boldest successes from around the world to San Francisco to reach Vision Zero and beyond: congestion pricing, reduced citywide speed limits, automated speed enforcement, and pedestrian-only streets.

We’re eager to work with you, and believe you can be the visionary leader our city needs at this exact moment.


Jodie Medeiros
Executive Director
Walk San Francisco