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SFMTA must refocus on Vision Zero. Now. Help echo this message.

 In Uncategorized

In 2014 San Francisco was the second city in the United States to adopt Vision Zero – to end all severe and fatal traffic crashes by 2024.

In the first five years, there have been meaningful changes and policies in support of Vision Zero in our city. But the number of severe and fatal crashes isn’t yet dropping. An average of 30 people are killed, and more than 500 severely injured, each year.

Meanwhile, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in vehicle traffic in San Francisco over these past years, creating even more dangers for pedestrians. Cities like Oslo, Norway, are showing that Vision Zero is within reach, but requires comprehensive and bold actions.  

Now, three pedestrians have lost their lives to traffic violence in just five weeks on our streets. At this pace we will reach or even exceed last year’s number of traffic fatalities, which was already an uptick from previous years.

That’s why on Tuesday, we made sure that Vision Zero was front and center at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting. Walk SF and Families for Safe Streets members poured out their grief and frustration during public comment. 

“I’m a bereaved mother and I don’t want anyone else to lose what I’ve lost,” said Gina LaBlanc. “When I heard there were three pedestrian deaths in the past five weeks, I was horrified… these people are not just data points, they have loved ones who are devastated.” 

Again and again, callers echoed the desperate need for SFMTA to refocus on Vision Zero and put solutions in place now that will better protect all of us. 

Over these past months, SFMTA staff has shown incredible speed, imagination, and commitment in the face of countless challenges due to COVID. We now need that same kind of focus and energy toward Vision Zero.

We need SFMTA to put solutions in place this year to keep people safe when simply crossing the street: daylighting, left turn calming, no-turn-on-red, and many more red light cameras across the high-injury network. If you haven’t yet sent an email to SFMTA Director Tumlin echoing this message, please do so now. Our goal is 500 messages in his inbox by September 1st.

And we need SFMTA to have a clear plan for Vision Zero moving forward. SFMTA Board member Steve Heminger, asked this: “What will it take to get to zero in four years, in specifics? And do we lack an analytical framework with pedestrian safety?” 

SFMTA Board Chair Gwyneth Borden and Vice-Chair Amanda Eaken both asked for a deep dive on the state of Vision Zero, and asked what successes can be built on and what it will take to address the 130 miles of the high-injury network. 

We need answers to these questions. We will not let Vision Zero slip out of sight. 

Please take a minute to email Director Tumlin, and if you’ve already done this, ask a friend or neighbor who cares about safe streets.

Not yet a Walk SF member? Now’s the time… your support matters more than ever!