What does 5th Street need to make pedestrians safe, especially seniors?
5th Street is one of the city’s most dangerous streets for people walking, and one of the SoMa neighborhood’s many high-injury corridors. An average of five people are injured in a crash each month on this busy street.
5th Street is also the western border of the Yerba Buena District, a microhood that is home to close to 10,000 seniors. This neighborhood boasts one of the largest senior populations per capita in San Francisco, and the highest amount of seniors with disabilities (55%).
That’s why as the City plans for safety improvements on 5th Street Walk SF is working to be sure seniors have a big say in what these changes should be. This is especially important given that while seniors are only 19% of the city’s population, they make up 50% of traffic deaths each year.
We have been talking with seniors (and people of all ages that walk and live on 5th Street) about pedestrian safety through a series of “pop-ups,” a new-ish way we’ve been directly engaging community members in shaping major safety improvement projects.
At a recent pop-up near the food trucks, we talked with passerbys about which type of pedestrian safety improvements they would most like to see. We collected over 100 postcards and comments asking for safer intersections, more alleyway-to-alleyway crossings across 5th Street, wider sidewalks, and more trees.
When we asked folks at a pop-up at Clementina Towers if they wanted a pedestrian crossing on 5th at Clementina, the crowd actually went wild!
This kind of input is not only helpful for SFMTA to learn what the people who live and walk on 5th Street specifically need and want, but it’s a great first step to deeper community engagement in the City’s planning process.
Many thanks to the Yerba Buena Central Benefit District for their support of our outreach work related to SFMTA’s 5th Street Improvement Project.