FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2022
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 415-596-1580(c); Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-833-7654(c)
Man killed at Geary & Laguna marks 1st pedestrian death of 2022
San Francisco, Calif. – The San Francisco Police Department reported that a pedestrian was hit and killed at the intersection of Geary Boulevard and Laguna Street on the evening of January 5, 2022. No additional information on the crash is known yet to Walk SF. SFBayca.com reports the victim was a 33-year-old man.
“No one’s life should be cut short in this way,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “We share our heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of the victim.”
Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets community stand ready to support both victims’ families and friends however possible.
This fatality marks the first pedestrian death of 2022. 27 people were killed in traffic crashes in San Francisco in 2021; 13 of these were pedestrians.
“We are all far too at risk while simply walking in our city,” said Medeiros.
“This person died at an intersection that is unquestionably dangerous for people walking,” continued Medeiros. “No more victims are needed to show that.”
Two years ago, in May of 2019, an 86-year-old Asian woman was hit and killed at Geary and Laguna. Just two blocks away at Geary and Gough, Mark Berman was killed walking in 2020.
Geary Boulevard, Gough, and Laguna are all “high-injury streets”: the 13% of roads where 75% of crashes occur.
“The City has been making significant safety improvements to Geary, but tragedies like this show that these changes don’t go far enough,” said Medeiros. “Especially when you look at how many people are living and walking in the area around this busy, dangerous intersection.”
This block of Geary, from Laguna to Gough, is the site of the Sequoias: a senior housing complex with hundreds of senior residents. The intersection is also a block away from Nihonmachi Terrace, with 245 low-income units for seniors, families, and people with disabilities. And it’s two blocks from the Carlisle, another senior housing complex with hundreds of residents. On the other side of the intersection is the Japan Center Malls in the heart of the Japantown community.
“Our streets are often hostile to people walking,” said Medeiros. “And with the rise of dangerous speeds, it’s even riskier for pedestrians.”
Speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco. Pedestrians are especially at risk when drivers speed. A person struck by a driver traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a person struck by a driver going 25 mph. The risk of death increases dramatically between 20MPH and 40MPH. The rise of dangerous speeds is attributed for the national surge in traffic deaths in 2020.
“We need San Francisco to be much more aggressive in prioritizing people, not fast-moving traffic, on our streets,” said Medeiros. “That means harnessing every possible strategy to bring down speeds, including lower speed limits and designing streets that make it difficult to speed, plus doing everything possible to make people safer in the crosswalk.”
San Francisco now has legal authority to lower speed limits on many more streets thanks to the passage of State Assembly Bill 43. The SFMTA is set to bring lower speed limits to seven streets starting this week including San Bruno, Valencia, Polk, Filmore, Haight, 24th Sts and Ocean Avenue. While Geary Boulevard has some small “senior zones” with 25 MPH zones, there are no plans for lower speed limits yet.
“We applaud the City for starting to tackle speed, and also need them to expand and speed up this work,” said Medeiros. “Deadly speeds are on the rise, and too many people will be hurt and killed if more isn’t done.”
Citywide, around 30 people are killed and more than 500 severely injured each year on San Francisco streets. Each year, pedestrians make up the largest share of the victims. Seniors typically make up 40-50% of pedestrian fatalities, even though they are only 15% of the population.
Walk San Francisco and Families for Safe Streets are urging city leaders to prioritize traffic safety and push quickly for solutions to address dangerous speeds. This includes extensively lowering speed limits and designing streets that make it difficult for drivers to speed.
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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.