FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 23, 2022
CONTACT: Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 617-833-7654(c); Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-596-1580(c)
Pedestrian hit and killed today near City Hall
Third pedestrian death in less than one month
San Francisco, Calif. – Walk San Francisco learned from the San Francisco Police Department that a woman was hit and killed at Franklin and Eddy Streets near City Hall this morning.
“We are devastated by this loss of life on our streets, and hold the victim’s loved ones in our thoughts,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco.
Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets community stand ready to support the friends and loved ones of the victim however possible.
“As we are starting the new year, we have now heard of three older Asian women pedestrian fatalities in the month of January,” said Rosa Chen, Community Planning Manager with the Chinatown Community Development Center. “This news comes to our community at an extremely vulnerable time as we start the Lunar New Year this weekend,” continued Chen. “This is troubling to hear as our AAPI community is facing many hardships through the year from AAPI hate to pedestrian safety. We see a disproportionate trend in our older Asian women in pedestrian fatalities in the past few years. Not enough is being done and the city has to address these AAPI concerns that we are facing and to commit fundings to finding solutions for our community.”
BART Board president and street safety advocate Janice Li said, “I’m tired of seeing my community be victims of fatal traffic crashes time and time again.” Continued Li, “The Asian community in San Francisco has dealt with so much trauma, and it’s time that our City’s leaders stepped up to do more to protect us.”
This pedestrian fatality is less than two weeks after 64-year-old Wan Mei Tan was hit and killed at Mission and Valencia Streets on January 10, 2023. Bess Chui was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver at Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street in the Potrero Hill neighborhood on January 1, 2023.
“Too many lives are being lost on our streets in preventable crashes,” said Medeiros. “We don’t need another tragedy for city leaders to make traffic safety a priority now.”
In total, 20 people were killed while walking in San Francisco in 2022. 37 people were killed in all traffic crashes in 2022, which is the deadliest year since the City adopted Vision Zero in 2014. Vision Zero is a comprehensive, data-based, preventative, and proven approach to ending severe and fatal crashes that has been successful worldwide.
The intersection where the crash occurred, Franklin and Eddy Streets, is an especially busy and dangerous one for pedestrians. Since 2018, three pedestrians were hit and injured at the intersection.
Both Franklin and Eddy Streets are designated by the City as “high-injury streets” due to the frequency of traffic crashes. A high school and a park are just a block away.
“The location of this crash is all too predictable, given that both Franklin and Eddy are wide, multi-lane streets that drivers often speed through,” said Medeiros. “The City must do everything possible to slow speeds on these kinds of streets, and design them to prioritize our safety – not speeding traffic.”
Walk SF’s new report on dangerous speed shows how streets like Eddy and Franklin are where the most egregious speeds in the city occur, with Franklin likely even worse because it’s a one-way.
“Eddy and Franklin are designed to be dangerous,” said Medeiros. “The City has been working to fix known dangerous streets like these, but the pace is far too slow.”
One of the commitments the City made in 2021 was to complete 80 miles of ‘Vision Zero Quick Build’ safety projects by 2024. These safety projects would be on the high-injury streets that have yet to receive safety improvements – streets like where the fatal crash occurred. But the SFMTA isn’t completing the projects nearly at the pace needed to meet its goal of 80 miles.
“The City must figure out how to speed up progress,” said Medeiros. “Last year, the SFMTA completed fewer than three miles of Quick Build improvements, despite a pace of about 20 annual miles needed to meet their pledge. So far, there are only plans in motion for about 15 miles in 2023.”
The City adopted an aggressive new Vision Zero Action Strategy in 2021 that organizations including Walk SF praised. But the timeline for completing what’s in the strategy has fallen far behind on almost every front.
“We need San Francisco to prioritize people, not fast-moving traffic, on our streets,” said Medeiros. “That means harnessing every possible strategy to bring down speeds, plus doing everything possible to make people safer in the crosswalk.”
Pedestrians are highly vulnerable as speed rises above 25 MPH. The most frequently cited study on speed and risk of fatality shows that at 25 MPH and under, a person has a less than 1 in 4 chance of being severely injured or killed if they are hit. But by 40 MPH, this flips, with 75% of pedestrians suffering life-threatening injuries or dying. Most drivers don’t realize how deadly going even 5 or 10 miles over a 25 MPH speed limit is — and many wouldn’t think twice about doing it. Speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco. Learn more in Walk SF’s new speed report.
“With each day the City falls behind in completing safety projects it has promised, they are risking precious lives, especially our most vulnerable like seniors and children,” said Medeiros.
Walk San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets is calling on City leaders to get the Vision Zero Action Strategy back on track, especially the City’s commitments to:
- Complete 30 miles of ‘Vision Zero Quick Build’ safety projects in 2023 and 2024 so the City stays on track with its goal to bring safety improvements to all high-injury streets by the end of 2024 (Read the City’s Vision Zero Action Strategy)
- Create a comprehensive plan to address dangerous speed (Read Walk SF’s new report on dangerous speeds.)
- Reduce speed limits to 20 MPH on the 42 identified eligible business corridors
“Streets can be designed and enforced to protect us,” said Medeiros. “It’s not just troubling how much the City is falling behind in its commitments – it’s deadly.”
Citywide, around 30 people are killed and more than 500 severely injured each year on San Francisco streets. Older adults make up 50% of these fatalities annually. Nationwide, pedestrian fatalities are at their highest levels in 40 years.
In 2014, 13 City agencies committed to Vision Zero: a comprehensive, data-based, preventative approach to ending severe and fatal crashes by 2024. The most recent Vision Zero Action Strategy and Walk San Francisco’s analysis of it can be viewed here.
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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.
San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets is made up of survivors and families whose loved ones have been killed or injured in traffic crashes. Learn more.