FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2021
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 415-596-1580 (cell); Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-833-7654 (cell)
Pedestrian fatality May 18 at Hayes and Polk marks eighth pedestrian death this year
San Francisco, Calif. – Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the 29-year-old woman, Lovisa Svallingson, who was hit and killed on May 18, 2021 at Hayes and Polk Streets. We also extend our thoughts to the other pedestrian who was hit and suffered life-threatening injuries.
“We grieve for the life destroyed so senselessly in this tragic crash,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. Walk San Francisco and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets stand ready to support both victims’ families and friends however possible.
This fatality marks the eighth pedestrian death of 2021. On April 24, a hit and run driver killed a 28-year-old man at Geary Boulevard and Park Presidio. On April 7, an 82-year-old person was hit at Fillmore Street and Golden Gate Avenue; they succumbed to their injuries on April 15. Antonio Durano, a 78-year-old man, was fatally hit at 3rd Street and Folsom Street on April 3, 2021. Edda Cabrera, a 79-year-old woman, was fatally hit at Mission and Geneva on March 2, 2021. Twelve-year-old Jesai Andrews was fatally hit on his skateboard at Ingerson and Redondo Streets on February 10, 2021. Sheria Musyoka, a 26-year-old man, was fatally hit at Lake Merced Boulevard and Higuera Street on February 4, 2021. An 85-year-old man, Michael Lynch, was fatally hit at 24th and San Jose Avenue on January 19, 2021.
“Aggressive, high-speed driving is all-too-commonplace and it leaves all of us vulnerable,” said Medeiros. “The streets are not designed and enforced to keep all of us safe, and too many people are paying the ultimate price. Simply walking in our city shouldn’t be a life-or-death situation.”
Citywide, around 30 people are killed and nearly 600 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. More seniors have died walking in 2021 already than in all of 2020.
“As we speak, the City is writing its plan for what it will do in the next two years for traffic safety,” said Medeiros. “The City must have an aggressive plan that’s laser-focused on the solutions that can start saving lives within months, not years.”
The draft of the City’s 2021-2023 ‘Vision Zero Action Strategy,’ the blueprint for what city agencies will do to improve traffic safety, will be released June 15th. Walk San Francisco and groups from across the city are recommending key strategies to move the needle in quickly reducing crash rates (see walksf.org/VisionZeroActionStrategy).
Walk San Francisco is also sponsoring Assembly Bill 550, Assemblymember David Chiu’s legislation to allow speed safety technology in San Francisco (walksf.org/ab550).
“There are many proven solutions to reduce the likelihood and severity of crashes,” said Medeiros. “We need every possible one brought to bear so San Francisco can become the pedestrian-friendly city it can and should be. This is about all of our health and safety, every single day.”
The “high-injury network” is the 13% of streets where 75% of traffic crashes occur. There are 168 miles of high-injury streets in San Francisco, and as of October 2020, 86 miles (51%) were not yet in any stage of planning or completion of safety improvements. Hayes Street is a designated “high-injury” street. One block west of Hayes and Polk is one of the city’s most dangerous intersections in terms of crash frequency (Hayes and Van Ness).
In 2014, 13 City agencies committed to Vision Zero and end severe and fatal crashes by 2024: the Mayor’s Office, SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), SF Dept of Public Health, SF Police Department, SF Public Works, SF Planning Department, SF District Attorney, SF County Transportation Authority, SF Dept of Environment, SF Fire Department, SF Unified School District, SF International Airport, and SF Recreation & Parks.
# # #
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.