FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1, 2024
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, email@example.com, 415.596.1580 (cell)
Pedestrian killed yesterday at Fulton and Arguello marks first pedestrian fatality this year
Walk SF continues to call on City to fix deadly intersections
San Francisco, Calif. – A 72-year-old man was hit crossing Fulton Street yesterday morning, in the intersection next to Golden Gate Park, and later succumbed to his injuries.
“Our hearts go out to this man’s loved ones and community,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “No one’s life should end this way. We should all be able to cross the street safely.”
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 is the first pedestrian death in San Francisco in 2024, and happened at a known dangerous intersection. Fulton Street, which runs along the edge of Golden Gate Park, is particularly dangerous, with serious issues with speeding and frequent crashes. It is on the “high-injury network”: the 12% of streets where 68% of crashes occur.
Other pedestrians have recently died on Fulton Street. On Saturday, May 21, 2022, an elderly woman was crossing Fulton Street at 37th when she was hit and fatally injured directly outside of the Golden Gate Park Senior Center.
Neighbors who live on Fulton Street have been demanding more safety improvements for years. Paul Rivera, who lives at Fulton and 12th Avenue, has documented the aftermath of numerous crashes in just the past few years he has lived on Fulton.
“I was almost hit by a speeding driver while pushing my one-year-old daughter in a stroller across Fulton,” said Rivera. “Drivers act like Fulton is a freeway, when in fact it’s a neighborhood street next to a park.”
Fulton is a potential and promising location for one of the speed cameras the City will install in early 2025. Speeding is rampant on Fulton.
“Fulton seems like a prime location for a speed camera,” said Medeiros. “With or without a speed camera, much more must be done to bring down speeds on Fulton especially because of its proximity to the park, schools, and senior centers.”
Speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco, and the faster a driver goes, the more likely a crash is to happen – and the more severe the impact is.
“We also need intersections to be designed to protect people walking, especially near parks, schools, and senior centers,” continued Medeiros. “Fulton has many intersections without traffic lights, which means pedestrians have to venture into four lanes of traffic and hope drivers – who are often going upwards of 40 MPH – are going to see them and stop.”
17 people were killed while walking in San Francisco in 2023, and pedestrians accounted for 65% of all traffic-related fatalities. Nationally, pedestrian deaths are at a 40-year historic high.
“The frightening reality for pedestrians is that we face bigger, heavier, more powerful vehicles and more dangerous driving than ever when walking,” said Medeiros. “Every solution possible is needed to turn around these deadly trends.”
Walk SF is supporting State Senator Scott Wiener’s new safe streets bills, SB 960 and SB 961.
SB 960 would hold our state transportation department, Caltrans, accountable for designing its surface roads to be ‘Complete Streets’ for the most vulnerable users: people walking, biking, and taking transit. Cities all over the state including San Francisco have Caltrans roads running through neighborhoods. Here in San Francisco, Park Presidio, Lombard Street, 19th Avenue, Skyline Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue, Sloat Boulevard, and San Jose Avenue are overseen by Caltrans. These are all designated high-injury streets because of crash rates and have long needed safer designs.
SB 961 would require all vehicles built or sold in California to have safe driving technology so they are unable to drive more than 10 MPH above the speed limit (emergency vehicles are exempt). SB 961 also includes a much-needed and overdue requirement for large trucks exceeding 10,000 pounds manufactured, sold, or registered in the state to have side underride guards. Underride guards can prevent pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being swept under and run over by a large truck’s rear wheels.
Walk SF also continues to ask the SFMTA to meet its commitment to fixing 900 designated high-injury intersections awaiting basic safety improvements. The SFMTA committed to bring high-visibility painted crosswalks, daylighting, and traffic signals that give pedestrians a headstart and more time to cross by December 2024. But a public dashboard showing progress shows 47 miles still to receive the basic safety improvements.
As for the intersection of Arguello and Fulton, significant numbers of people including many children and seniors cross here daily to go to the park and the Muni stop on Fulton. Arguello is also a major bike route linking Golden Gate Park and the Presidio. This intersection needs more safety improvements, as well as Fulton as a whole.
The SFMTA will complete the Fulton Street Safety and Transit Project in early 2024. While this brings some needed features along Fulton from Arguello to the beach, such as daylighting, pedestrian safety zones, and transit bulbs (extended sidewalk next to bus stops), it doesn’t go far enough to protect people crossing on foot or bicycle – nor does it address the constant threat of speeding on this wide, four-lane road.
Pedestrians are highly vulnerable as speed rises above 25 MPH. The most frequently cited study on speed and risk of fatality shows that at 25 MPH and under, a person has a less than 1 in 4 chance of being severely injured or killed if they are hit. But by 40 MPH, this flips, with 75% of pedestrians suffering life-threatening injuries or dying.
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.
The City’s Vision Zero commitment is coming up on a 10-year milestone in March of 2024. Vision Zero is a comprehensive, data-based, preventative, and proven approach to ending severe and fatal crashes that has been successful worldwide. San Francisco has made meaningful strides in taking a Vision Zero approach, but the City must act much faster and more aggressively to take on the rising dangers we all face on our streets.
“Streets must be designed and enforced to protect us,” said Medeiros. “We are calling on City leaders to be laser-focused on Vision Zero.”
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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 a group of people who have been directly affected by traffic crashes, including crash survivors and people whose loved ones have been killed or injured in traffic crashes. Learn more.