What Prop A’s failure at the ballot means for safe streets – and what’s next
I’m disappointed to share that in the June 7 election, Prop A didn’t get the necessary 66.67% YES votes needed to pass. Prop A fell short by about 3,400 votes, with 65.09% YES.
This means that safe streets projects will be shortchanged $114 million. At a time when we need every possible safety solution on our streets, the City simply won’t be able to do as much.
Here’s our take on what the failure of Prop A means for pedestrian safety.
First, some of the $114 million for safe streets in Prop A would have gone to major redesigns of the most dangerous streets. Many designated “high-injury streets” still await serious safety fixes, like Gough Streets, 10th Streets, and San Jose Avenue. We don’t yet know how many or which major street overhauls will be postponed, but any delays will cost lives. It’s now likely some high-injury streets won’t even get Quick Build safety projects by 2024, a decade after San Francisco made its Vision Zero commitment.
Similarly, losing Prop A means a slowdown in bringing proven fixes to intersections, like traffic signal upgrades that give pedestrians a head start and more time to cross, plus are audible for people with vision impairments. Plus, part of the $114 million in Prop A was earmarked for implementing the City’s forthcoming comprehensive speed management plan. This is deeply concerning given that speed continues to be the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco.
I also need to call out the fact that a struggling Muni is a huge setback for safe streets. That’s because the less people take public transportation, the higher crash rates will be. More driving and traffic = more threats to us as pedestrians. And of course this sets our city back when it comes to climate and equity, too.
So what’s next?
We can’t let this hold back progress for safe streets, especially given all that we fought for and won in the City’s new Vision Zero Action Strategy.
Here’s Walk SF will do with your help:
- Push the City to find every possible funding source for safe streets – local, state, and federal – and stretch every dollar. We also need the City to prioritize dollars for pedestrian safety projects within its safe streets spending. Pedestrians continue to make up the greatest share of those killed in traffic crashes, and funding should match that reality. And of course we’ll keep pushing for the City to move faster in making cost-effective solutions widespread, like left turn calming, no-turn-on-red, lower speed limits, and pedestrian safety zones.
- Give everything we’ve got to the half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Voters will be asked for another 20 years of the current half-cent sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. The transportation sales tax provides the bulk of funding for everything transportation-related: maintaining BART, Caltrain, Muni, paratransit, and ferry service as well as streets and highways; major transit projects; and safe streets and accessibility projects. Like Prop A, we’ll need a 2/3rds YES vote to win. It’s clear from the Prop A loss that extra outreach is needed in parts of the city like the Sunset.
- Push for policies and approaches that will save precious transportation dollars. We’ll continue to advocate for bills like Senator Wiener’s SB 922, which would permanently exempt sustainable transportation projects from lengthy – and as a result very costly – review.
So… onward. And thank you for supporting Prop A and even more importantly, for being with us for ALL the ways we’re working together for safe streets.