FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2022
CONTACT: Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-833-7654(c); Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 415-596-1580(c)
Pedestrian hit and killed yesterday in the Mission
Second pedestrian death in less than two weeks
San Francisco, Calif. – Walk San Francisco learned that at 5:51PM on January 10, Wan Mei Tan, a 64-year-old woman, was fatally hit at 16th and Valencia Streets in the Mission neighborhood. Initial information from the SFPD indicates that Wan Mei Tan was hit by a driver making a left turn.
“We grieve this loss of life on our streets, and hold the loved ones for Wan Mei Tan 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.
This pedestrian fatality is less than two weeks after 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.
“Two tragedies in less than two weeks should be raising serious alarm bells for all city leaders,” said Medeiros. “The City must act with much more urgency to protect all of us. Traffic safety should be at the top of the list of priorities for 2023.”
In total, 19 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 this crash happened is a perfect example of where proven safety improvements could have made the difference, but they’re happening far too slowly,” said Medeiros.
The intersection where the crash occurred, 16th and Valencia Streets, is an especially busy and dangerous one. Within just the past two years, two pedestrians were injured here in crashes with left-turning drivers. On March 27, 2021, a 40-year-old man walking was severely injured. On March 14, 2021, a 32-year-old woman walking was injured.
Left turns are a significant threat to pedestrians. In 2019, 40% of pedestrians killed in San Francisco were hit in the crosswalk by a driver making a left turn. When a driver makes a left turn, they’re more likely to make it at a higher speed and cut corners because they have a wider radius than with a right turn. Visibility is reduced for drivers, too, because the car’s frame blocks a driver’s view when they make a left turn.
“Left turns are deadly. The City knows this,” said Medeiros. “And there are solutions, including no-turn-on-left and left turn calming, that aren’t being used nearly enough.”
Both 16th and Valencia Streets are designated as “high-injury streets” due to the frequency of traffic crashes.
The 16th Street Improvement Project is under construction, and the Valencia Bikeway Improvements Project will bring a suite of safety fixes to Valencia, but it is still in the design phase. Designs proposed last summer by SFMTA included banning left turns.
“To better protect pedestrians, this intersection should not allow left turns, have no-turn-on-red, and add pedestrian safety zones to make the crossing distance shorter,” said Medeiros. “Given what’s happened here and how many people walk here, every solution is needed.”
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.
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 recent crashes occurred. But the SFMTA isn’t completing the projects nearly at the pace needed to meet its goal of 80 miles.
“The City knows which streets specifically and desperately need safety improvements,” said Medeiros. “But 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. And so far, there are only plans in motion for about 15 miles in 2023.”
“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
- Create a comprehensive plan to address dangerous speed (Read Walk SF’s new report on dangerous speeds.)
- Expand no-turn-on-red beyond the Tenderloin neighborhood
- Install red light cameras at eight additional intersections
- Expand left turn calming beyond initial pilot of just seven intersections
- Reduce speed limits to 20 MPH on the 42 identified eligible business corridors
“Streets can be designed and enforced to protect us,” said Medeiros. “But the City has to make traffic safety a priority. 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 with pedestrians facing more threats than ever, including larger and more powerful vehicles, plus more dangerous driving behaviors.
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.