FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 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)
Second pedestrian death in the Tenderloin in two weeks; woman fatally hit Sunday morning at Geary Boulevard and Taylor Street
San Francisco, Calif. – Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the 67-year-old woman who was hit by the driver of a vehicle yesterday morning while crossing the street at Geary Boulevard and Taylor Street. 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.
“We mourn another life lost on San Francisco streets,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “This is the second person to be hit and killed walking in just two weeks. It’s a devastating reminder that we have a crisis on our streets with traffic safety.”
“The Tenderloin is ground zero for the traffic safety crisis on our streets,” continued Medeiros. “It is unacceptable how dangerous it is for pedestrians in the Tenderloin. Everyone deserves to be able to cross the street safely. It’s as simple as that.”
The fatal crash on February 21 that killed pedestrian David Chow was just six blocks away from yesterday’s fatal crash site. Both crashes were in broad daylight, and the victims were walking in the crosswalk when hit by the drivers of vehicles making turns.
In 2019, four pedestrians were hit and killed in the Tenderloin. Janice Higashi was fatally hit at Golden Gate and Leavenworth in March. Mark Swink was fatally hit at Hyde and Golden Gate in May. Michael Evans was fatally hit at Eddy and Mason in July. Benjamin Dean was fatally hit at Taylor and O’Farrell in July. Every single street in the Tenderloin on the high-injury network: the 13% of San Francisco streets where 75% of crashes occur.
“SFPD and SFMTA need to put the Tenderloin at the very top of their list of priorities,” said Medeiros.
“The SFPD must seriously step up enforcement of dangerous driving,” continued Medeiros. “In all of 2019, only 241 tickets were written by SFPD enforcing dangerous driving behavior by the Metro Division – Tenderloin Station.”
The SFPD Traffic Company overall is doing additional “Focus on the Five” enforcement citywide, and some of this is potentially being targeted in the Tenderloin, but this information is not on the SFPD traffic enforcement data webpage.
As part of the City’s Vision Zero goal to end severe and fatal traffic fatalities by 2024, SFPD has committed to “Focus on the Five” – to issue half of traffic citations to the five most common causes of collisions and injuries: speeding, violating pedestrian right-of-way in a crosswalk, running red lights, running stop signs, and failing to yield while turning.
“We need to know where SFPD is actually doing traffic safety enforcement,” continued Medeiros. “This is essential for San Francisco to be able to focus limited resources in a data-driven way to get to Vision Zero.”
“SFMTA is making progress with fixing Tenderloin streets so they make pedestrians safer,” said Medeiros, “But we need a lot more progress a whole lot faster. That means no-turn-on-red at every intersection and significant numbers of red light cameras to enforce this. We also want left turn calming, a proven solution from New York City, to be installed at intersections ASAP.”
“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.
San Francisco is considering a citywide policy on no-turn-on-red to move, which the SFMTA and Department of Public Health are tasked with by spring.
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).
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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.