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CONTACT: Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director, Walk SF,, 415.596.1580 (cell); Marta Lindsey, Communications Director, Walk SF,, 617.833.7654 (cell)

Pedestrian hit and killed on Sunday is the eighth this year

Nationally, pedestrian deaths are at 40-year record

San Francisco, Calif. – Walk San Francisco learned that 28-year-old Thomas McKean was hit and killed on South Van Ness Boulevard in the Mission District on Sunday, July 9, 2023.

“We are devastated by this loss of life on our streets, and hold the victim’s loved ones 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.

In addition, we learned that Nancy McNally, an 84-year-old pedestrian who was hit crossing the street, succumbed to her injuries on June 5. Nancy McNally was severely injured when hit by a driver at Laguna and Francisco in the Marina neighborhood on May 24.

The death of Nancy McNally and Sunday’s pedestrian death mark the seventh and eighth pedestrian deaths in San Francisco so far in 2023. About 30 people are killed in traffic deaths each year in San Francisco; pedestrians typically make up about half of these deaths.

“Too many lives are being lost on our streets in preventable crashes,” said Medeiros. “We don’t need another tragedy for city leaders to make traffic safety a priority now – especially designing and enforcing streets to keep down dangerous speeds, the greatest threat we face.” Speed is the #1 cause of severe and fatal crashes in San Francisco and statewide.

The location of Sunday’s hit-and-run crash was on South Van Ness at 18th Street. South Van Ness is on the City’s ‘high-injury network’: the 12% of streets where 68% of all severe and fatal traffic crashes occur. This is the third pedestrian death on South Van Ness since 2015.

South Van Ness received a suite of temporary safety improvements completed in January 2022. The ‘Vision Zero Quick Build’ safety project installed paint and posts to redesign the street to remove a traffic lane (one of the best ways to reduce driver speeds). The project also adjusted traffic signal timing to reduce driver speeds, another tool in the ‘Quick Build’ toolkit.

Walk SF is asking the SFMTA to complete an evaluation as soon as possible of the ‘Quick Build’ project on South Van Ness to determine how it can be improved, and also move toward making the project permanent.

“The City’s ‘Quick Build’ approach is great, because it can bring safety fixes to life much faster than a large capital project,” said Medeiros. “But a Quick Build project is also meant to test out street design changes for effectiveness. If a Quick Build project is not doing enough to protect pedestrians and bring down driver speeds, it must be improved. This tragedy certainly points to the need for a more aggressive redesign of South Van Ness.”

More than 50 miles of high-injury streets are awaiting ‘Quick Build’ projects, and will be the focus of the next SFMTA Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, July 18.

SFMTA staff will present their new plan for addressing these 50 miles of streets by the end of 2024 on July 18. Walk San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets will attend the meeting, voicing the urgency for this plan to move forward in a way that brings the entire Quick Build toolkit to the 50+ miles, including traffic signal retiming, pedestrian safety zones, no turn on red, and left turn calming.

“We don’t need another death to show how urgent it is for the City to bring many more safety solutions to our most dangerous streets,” said Medeiros. “Simply crossing the street shouldn’t be a life-or-death situation in our city.”

Walk SF is also actively supporting Assembly Bill 645, which would allow San Francisco to pilot the use of speed safety cameras. The bill faces the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Tuesday, July 11. Bringing down dangerous speeds is crucial to the city’s traffic safety goals.

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.

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.

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.

Last month, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released their preliminary data for pedestrian deaths in 2022.

The GHSA projects that drivers struck and killed at least 7,508 people walking in 2022 – the highest number since 1981 and an average of 20 pedestrian deaths every day. The GHSA projects that the total number of pedestrian deaths could reach as high as 8,126 once it receives additional data, which would be the first time the number of fatalities surpassed 8,000 since 1980.

The report identifies a range of contributing factors to pedestrian deaths, with three that especially reflect the challenges we face here in San Francisco when walking: dangerous driving behavior (especially speeding); poor street design; and the growing size, weight, and power of many vehicles.

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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.