FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2023
CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415.596.1580 (cell)
Pedestrian killed this yesterday in the Mission neighborhood marks 14th so far this year
Walk SF continues to demand City leaders do more to fix deadly intersections
San Francisco, Calif. – An 80-year-old man was hit and killed crossing Valencia Street in the MIssion yesterday afternoon, less than two weeks after an 80-year-old woman was hit and killed crossing the street at 46th and Taraval on September 11.
“Our hearts go out to this man’s loved ones and community,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “We grieve for yet another life lost so senselessly on our streets.”
Walk San Francisco (Walk SF) 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 fourteenth pedestrian death in San Francisco so far in 2023.
Initial details of the crash indicate an SUV driver was making a left turn onto Valencia Street from 18th and hit the victim in the crosswalk.
Left turns are especially dangerous. 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’re making a left turn.
According to the SFMTA, in 2019, 40% of pedestrians killed in San Francisco were hit in the crosswalk by a driver making a left turn.
On January 10, 2023, Wan Mei Tan, a 64-year-old woman, was fatally hit at 16th and Valencia by a driver making a left turn.
“We should be able to cross the street safely, it’s that simple,” said Medeiros. “Especially our children and seniors. How many more tragedies will it take for the City to make traffic safety a top priority?”
The recent redesign of Valencia Street banned left turns from Valencia Street, a change that Walk SF applauded. But left turns are still allowed onto Valencia Street.
“Thousands of people walk on and cross Valencia Street every day,” said Medeiros. “While the City has been investing in meaningful changes on Valencia, it has to go farther.”
Walk SF believes that a bustling, important neighborhood street like Valencia deserves the greatest pedestrian safety design, and is pleased the city is exploring a future car-free Valencia Street.
Both Valencia and 18th Street are on the city’s high-injury network, the 12% of San Francisco streets where 68% of severe and fatal crashes occur.
In light of the four-year-old killed at 4th and King on August 15, Walk San Francisco has been calling on City leaders to create a detailed, publicly-available plan within 60 days for how the SFMTA will meet its commitment to fix the 900 intersections on the high-injury network that have yet to receive any safety improvements by the end of 2024. (Read in detail at walksf.org/threeasks.)
Walk San Francisco will bring this message to members of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, September 26 at 10AM when the SFMTA will present an assessment of the 900 intersections.
Many recent crashes have involved large vehicles like SUVs, which are heavier, more powerful, and hit people higher on their body – making them more likely to kill.
“Pedestrians face more threats than ever as people are driving larger and larger vehicles,” said Medeiros. “The City has to take this into account in designing and enforcing streets that slow down vehicles even more to compensate for this.”
On Thursday, September 28, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is holding a hearing on SFPD traffic enforcement, which is at historic low levels.
In addition, on Governor Newsom’s desk is Assembly Bill 645, which would allow six California cities including San Francisco to pilot the use of speed cameras.
In total, 20 people were killed while walking in San Francisco in 2022. 39 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.
Nationally, pedestrian deaths are at their highest numbers since 1981 and an average of 20 pedestrian deaths every day.
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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.