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Vision Zero must focus on alternatives to policing

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Yesterday, 20 member organizations of San Francisco’s Vision Zero Coalition, which is led by Walk SF, sent a letter to Mayor London Breed and the Vision Zero Committee of the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority (SFCTA).

The letter urges the City to focus on alternatives to policing as it works to end severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024. Here is the letter.

June 24, 2020

Dear Mayor Breed and the Vision Zero Committee of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority:

We represent twenty organizations united in our support of Vision Zero: the City’s commitment to end severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024. 

Routine traffic stops too often inflict harm, violence, and trauma on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. 

We write this letter to call out loudly and in one voice: enforcement of dangerous driving behavior in support of Vision Zero must focus on alternatives to policing

We demand an investment in the fair and proven enforcement solutions built on equity principles that will prevent traffic violence. These include:

  • Automated speed enforcement cameras. Speed is the #1 contributor to severe and fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco. The faster a vehicle is going, the more likely its driver is to cause a traffic crash – and to severely injure or kill the person who is hit. The City must champion state legislation and pilot life-saving speed safety cameras now. These cameras must be placed equitably throughout San Francisco neighborhoods, and facial recognition software, which is prone to abuse and racial profiling, must not be used.
  • Red light cameras. San Francisco currently has red light cameras at only 13 intersections, and SFMTA has only allocated funds to add fewer than 10 cameras within five years. San Francisco is underutilizing a highly-effective technological solution to reduce one of the most dangerous driving behaviors. New York City’s red light camera program has seen an 84% decline in severe injuries from right-angle crashes at its over 150 signalized intersections.
  • Expanding the role of SFMTA Parking Control Officers. Currently SFMTA Parking Control Officers can enforce non-moving violations, like double parking and blocking the box, bike lanes, and bus zones. As cities around the nation look at alternatives to traditional policing, it is time to explore opportunities to expand SFMTA Parking Control Officer traffic enforcement.

We should also provide alternatives to punitive, inequitable fine systems in relation to traffic infractions. Traffic infractions should not disproportionately burden Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income people. 

Additionally, the City must prioritize investing in the high-injury network, the 13% of our streets where 75% of crashes occur with street designs that encourage safe driving behavior, slow speeds, and policies that promote safe movement. People of color are much more likely to live, walk, and bike on these streets. 

For far too long, people of color in San Francisco have borne the brunt of fast-moving, deadly traffic, and suffered from the accompanying poor air quality. People of color are more likely to be hit and killed in traffic crashes. Communities of color have historically been short-changed when it comes to the investments in street improvements that protect people walking and biking, and left out of the planning and decisions that shape their streets. 

We believe San Francisco can end severe and fatal traffic crashes. And safe streets solutions must not harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. 

Your leadership now – quickly implementing enforcement alternatives and fixing the high-injury network – will save lives from preventable traffic crashes and forward racial justice.


CC Puede

Council of Community Housing Organizations

Central City SRO Collaborative

Chinatown Community Development Center 

Community Housing Partnership

Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association

East Cut CBD

Friends of Monterey Blvd

Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association

Livable City

North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association

San Francisco Housing Action Coalition

SF Bay Walks

South Beach Rincon Mission Bay Neighborhood Association


Tenderloin Community Benefit District – Safe Passage

Tenderloin Housing Clinic

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp

The Arc SF

Walk San Francisco

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