FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2020
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-596-1580 (cell)
Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 617-833-7654 (cell)
Pedestrian loses life in traffic crash at Polk and O’Farrell Streets; first pedestrian fatality of 2020
San Francisco, Calif. – Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the man who was hit by the driver of a vehicle on Friday morning while crossing the street at Polk and O’Farrell Streets. Walk San Francisco and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets stand ready to support the victim’s family and friends however possible.
“Our hearts break every time a life is lost to traffic violence,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “This is the first pedestrian death this year. We wish it would be the last, but we know it will not be. Last year, 18 pedestrians were killed.”
“San Francisco is doing many of the right things to make our streets safer, but not quickly enough and not aggressively enough,” continued Medeiros. “We should all be able to cross the street safely. It’s as simple as that.”
Walk SF has very few details about the victim so far, except that he is a senior. In San Francisco, half of pedestrians killed each year are seniors, even though they are only 15% of San Francisco’s population.
Polk Street and O’Farrell Street are on the high-injury network: the 13% of San Francisco streets where 75% of crashes occur. According to the San Francisco Police Department, the driver of the vehicle was turning when they hit the victim.
“It’s clear much more must be done to protect people in crosswalks,” said Medeiros. “We’re urging SFMTA to quickly expand its left turn traffic calming pilot program. We are also eager for a citywide policy on no-turn-on-red to move forward, which the SFMTA and Department of Public Health are tasked with by spring. Lives are on the line. ”
Left turn calming has proven highly effective in reducing traffic crashes in New York City. Rubber bumpers are strategically placed in an intersection to slow drivers and give them better visibility of the crosswalk by forcing them to make a wider turn. SFMTA committed to install and evaluate a pilot at eight intersections by early 2020 (see Mayor London Breed’s August 29, 2019 press release).
“No turn on red” gives people and cars their own dedicated time to go, but never at the same time, which reduces the potential for conflict in the crosswalk. Many of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in San Francisco have no-right-on-red already (200+), but this simple solution should be at all of them. Last year, SFMTA Director Amanda Eaken recommended a citywide policy on no-turn-on-red.
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Walk San Francisco (‘Walk SF’) advocates for safe streets for everyone who walks, which is everyone. Since our founding in 1998, Walk SF has been leading the way to make San Francisco a pedestrian-first city where people of every age and ability can walk safely. Learn more at walksf.org.
San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets is made up of survivors and families whose loved ones have been killed or severely injured by preventable crashes on our streets. Learn more at walksf.org/familiesforsafestreets.