FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2019
Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 415-596-1580 (cell)
Marta Lindsey, Communications Manager, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-833-7654 (cell)
Courtney McDonald, Supervisor Matt Haney’s Office, email@example.com, 858-663-0564 (cell)
Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-568-1913 (cell)
Two horrific pedestrian deaths within four days; advocates call on City to declare state of emergency for traffic safety
Safe streets advocates will gather tomorrow at 9:00AM at City Hall to demand action
At Walk San Francisco we are sickened and heartbroken about the precious human life lost in yesterday’s crash at Taylor Street and O’Farrell.
Our hearts go out to Benjamin Dean’s family and community, and especially his wife, Kelly Dean, who is critically injured from the crash.
“Within four days, we have seen two pedestrians die in ways that are beyond the pale,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “The City needs to declare a state of emergency for traffic safety.”
Last Thursday just a few blocks from yesterday’s crash, Michael Evans was hit while walking and dragged for blocks by a commercial big rig. He died that day.
“This is a crisis. People are dying on our streets. We need proactive and immediate traffic safety changes throughout the Tenderloin to save lives now,” said Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents and lives in the neighborhood. “These are neighborhood streets. We aren’t a freeway. Our streets should be two-way, with narrow lanes, leading pedestrian intervals, pedestrian scrambles, and red light cameras to keep speeds low and people safe.”
“Are we as a city going to let this go on?” asked Medeiros. “Or will this be the moment we come together to make the kinds of changes on our streets that will prevent these tragic unnecessary deaths?”
Walk San Francisco, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Supervisor Haney together with other safe streets advocates including Supervisor Matt Haney and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will gather at the steps of City Hall tomorrow, July 23, at 9:00AM to call on city leaders to declare a state of emergency for traffic safety and take urgent action.
The number of threats faced by people walking is unprecedented in San Francisco. There are tens of thousands more cars and trucks on the streets than even just a few years ago. Dangerous driving behavior is all too common, and not enforced like it needs to be. And the City needs to look at the penalties for lawless and deadly driving.
“San Francisco must become a city where dangerous driving is simply not tolerated, on any street, at any time,” said Medeiros. “This is possible, but the City must act quickly and aggressively to move this direction.”
The City must take several actions simultaneously to address the state of emergency for traffic safety on our streets. This includes:
- Applying the same prosecutorial scrutiny to deaths from traffic violations as other deaths by violent means receive.
- Immediate increased enforcement by the San Francisco Police Department to reach its target of issuing 50% of traffic citations to the five most common causes of collisions and injuries. (SFPD are not yet meeting this goal; in FY 2017-2018 the SFPD was at 44%.)
- Immediate action to bring speed safety cameras to San Francisco. (For comparison, New York City will have 750 speed cameras installed at school zones by this time next year.)
- Immediate action to bring lower speed limits to all San Francisco streets. We think that 20 is plenty on all residential streets, which would include most streets in the Tenderloin. The speed limits on commercial streets should also be looked at, considering many are designated high-injury and have very high numbers of people walking and biking on them.
- An analysis of all severe and fatal traffic crashes in the past five years to identify root causes and recommendations for preventative actions.
- Installing additional red light cameras at many more major high-injury intersections (there are currently only 13).
- Designing all safety projects on the high-injury network to reach the highest possible standards, prioritizing people over vehicles.