FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 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)
Man hit when crossing at Valencia and 18th Streets succumbed to injuries; three pedestrians have died within the past month
San Francisco, Calif. – Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the 49-year-old man who was hit by the driver of a vehicle when crossing the street at Valencia Street and 18th Street on March 6.
We have learned that the man has succumbed to his injuries. 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.
“Another precious life has been lost to all-too-frequent traffic crashes on our streets,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “This is the third person to be hit and killed walking in less than a month.”
An average of three people are hit while walking in San Francisco every day. Many of these crashes are life-threatening and life changing. In 2019, 18 people were hit and killed while walking in San Francisco. In 2018, 181 were severely injured in traffic crashes (we do not yet have 2019 numbers).
“With COVID-19, we are all talking about the need to keep everyone in our families and communities as safe as possible, however possible,” said Medeiros. “We should apply this exact same thinking to traffic safety.”
The intersection where the man was fatally hit is on the high-injury network, the 13% of San Francisco streets where 75% of traffic crashes happen. According to SFPD data, there were 79 injury crashes on Valencia Street between 15th and 19th from 2014-2018. Two-thirds of these involved a driver of a vehicle hitting a person walking or biking, and the majority occured at the intersection. Speed and failure to yield by the driver were the top causes of these crashes.
“San Francisco’s streets must be designed and enforced to minimize risk to all of us,” said Medeiros. “We know which streets are the most dangerous. That makes these deaths by and large preventable.”
“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 was 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.
“Enforcement of dangerous driving behavior must increase,” said Medeiros. “The SFPD needs to target their enforcement on the high-injury network. We need technology to help, too. That means many more red light cameras, and getting speed safety cameras on our streets.”
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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.