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New bill by Senator Wiener would help fix some of the city’s most dangerous streets

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‘Complete Streets’ bill would ensure Caltrans creates safe pedestrian conditions on city roads under Caltrans’ purview – and beyond

Walk SF and the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets joined State Senator Scott Wiener at San Francisco General Hospital today for Wiener’s unveiling of his ‘Complete Streets for Active Living’ legislation, SB 127.

Wiener’s bill is directed at how the state’s transportation agency, Caltrans, plans roads so they are safe and accessible for all users (not just cars). This bill makes it imperative that any capital improvement project on a state highway or a local street crossing a state highway includes new pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Here in San Francisco, this legislation would give much-needed leverage to win safety improvements to several deadly roads that SFMTA cannot fix because these roads are considered highways (and therefore under the purview of Caltrans).

The following four notoriously dangerous San Francisco roads (all part of the high-injury network) are managed by Caltrans:

  • Sloat Boulevard
  • 19th Avenue
  • Van Ness Boulevard
  • Lombard Street

Fixing these deadly roads is essential to end severe and fatal traffic crashes in our city, and another tool in our toolbox to get to Vision Zero, which is why we strongly support Wiener’s legislation. It has been very difficult to get traction on these streets in terms of pedestrian safety improvements because of their ‘state highway’ designation. For too long, these roads have been designed with the sole purpose of moving traffic quickly and as a result have served as death traps for people walking and biking.

Jenny Yu with San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets.

What’s even more exciting about this legislation is it would impact all surface streets across the state that carry local traffic and also operate as state highways.

This legislation couldn’t be more timely. Traffic fatalities in San Francisco were up in 2018 from 2017, and an estimated 500 people are severely injured in traffic crashes every year in our city. Statewide, traffic fatalities are on the rise as well. We need to be pushing on every possible front for safe streets for all.

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