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The state of ‘daylighting’ the most dangerous intersections

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We need daylighting at every high-injury intersection

It’s cheap, easy, and proven to make all of us safer when walking: move parking back to a minimum of 10 feet from a crosswalk or intersection.

Called ‘daylighting’, this would ideally be at every intersection to improve visibility and reduce crashes. But without question, daylighting is needed at all intersections on the high-injury network: the 13% of streets where 75% of traffic crashes occur. And it’s not yet.

Where daylighting is – and isn’t

The Tenderloin has daylighting neighborhood-wide, which is fantastic, but that is an exception. Last fall, we talked with staff at SFMTA about what they needed to speed up daylighting dangerous intersections citywide. Because there wasn’t a clear picture on the status of daylighting or comprehensive plan, Walk SF headed out with volunteers to learn more.

Starting in the Mission last fall, volunteers walked a dozen of the neighborhood’s high-injury streets. Clipboards in hand, these dedicated people meticulously noted everything from the current curb color to the presence of meters, Muni zones, and bike corrals.

It took a lot of hours, but our amazing volunteers were savvy and eager. They covered hundreds of intersections.

Meanwhile, Walk SF advocated for SFCTA to designate specific funding for SFMTA to complete daylighting at 500 intersections. $500,000 was approved in November 2020!

Next, thanks to support from the District 5 office, we headed to neighborhoods like Hayes Valley, Western Addition, Japantown, and the Haight-Ashbury in the spring. Walk SF volunteers collected data at over 150 intersections.

Painfully, what we learned after crunching the numbers is that roughly 50% of high-injury intersections we assessed don’t yet have daylighting – one of the most basic pedestrian safety improvements there is.

Step by step toward safer streets

SFMTA has now committed to add daylighting to approximately 60 intersections at one or more corners in the Mission and surrounding areas in the coming months. And in as soon as a few weeks, District 5 neighborhoods will start to see daylighting at 64 intersections including Fillmore and Golden Gate, where a senior was killed walking just three months ago.

This is a promising start. But as already stated, daylighting is needed at all intersections on the high-injury network. We are pushing SFMTA to commit to do this within two years as part of the City’s next Vision Zero Action Strategy.

Big thanks

Our volunteers are incredible! Over 50 volunteers helped complete data collection on daylighting, logging hundreds of hours.

Thank you also to staff at SFMTA for partnering with us in this way, and for creating a new Vision Zero metric on the status of daylighting the high-injury network.

Also many thanks to Supervisor Preston’s District 5 Office for supporting Walk SF’s work in engaging residents in bringing needed changes to their neighborhood streets.