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We must slow our streets

Bringing down speeds will save lives

29 people were killed in traffic crashes in San Francisco last year. Hundreds more were severely injured. And the #1 cause of these crashes is speed.

The faster a vehicle is traveling at the moment of impact, the more serious the injuries and the higher the risk of death. The faster a driver is going, the more likely a crash is to occur because the driver has a smaller scope of vision, less time to react, and can’t stop the vehicle as quickly.

A person struck by a driver traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a person struck by a driver going 25 MPH. If someone is hit by a vehicle going 20MPH, they have a 90% chance of surviving. At 40 MPH, it’s just 40% – and lower if you’re a child or senior. And in San Francisco, many of the most dangerous streets are in neighborhoods with more low-income people and people of color.

It’s time for San Francisco to step up in bringing down dangerous speeds. City leaders must tackle this aggressively, comprehensively, and in new ways. And that’s what the Slow Our Streets campaign is all about.

The Slow Our Streets campaign

Here’s what the Slow Our Streets campaign will do in 2022 with your support:

1. Collect speed data across the city to show the scale of the problem.

We’ll hit the streets with neighborhood groups and people like you to gather data on what’s really happening with speeding. Then we’ll bring this to decision makers and the media (check out the San Francisco Chronicle story on the Slow Our Streets campaign).

2. Build a diverse, neighborhood-by-neighborhood movement to Slow Our Streets.

We know that so much of what happens – or doesn’t happen – with traffic safety is a matter of political will. We need to build the strength of our movement through community organizing and new partnerships. We’ll bring extra focus to neighborhoods like the Bayview and Excelsior, where many streets have speed limits above 25 MPH, high crash rates, and haven’t seen the traffic safety improvements they deserve.

3. Push the City to adopt the strongest possible speed management plan.

With the help of our members and the Vision Zero Coalition, we got the City to commit to create a speed plan in 2022. Now we must win a plan that actually shifts how the City approaches speed with real commitments that we can hold the City accountable to. This means researching, watchdogging, and advocating for the most effective speed solutions.

4. Push for lower speed limits wherever possible ASAP.

Now that Assembly Bill 43 is law, San Francisco has new authority to lower speed limits on certain types of streets. We need to push the City to push this new authority to the max.

5. Win big changes to bring down speeds on the most dangerous streets.

As the City moves forward with safety improvements on streets with the highest crash rates, we must push for designs that meet the highest standards for preventing speeding and protecting pedestrians. This summer, we’re working to shape projects on Lake Merced Boulevard, Franklin Street, Hyde Street, and Ocean Street so they have the strongest-possible speed-slowing designs.

6. Pass legislation to allow speed safety detection cameras in San Francisco.

Other cities in the United States have already embraced speed safety cameras, such as New York City’s program around all public schools. Speed safety cameras dramatically shift driver behavior, and can reduce the number of severe and fatal crashes by as much as 58%. While legislation to allow San Francisco to pilot the use of speed safety cameras didn’t make it out of the State Assembly in 2022, this continues to be a priority.

And of course we must keep advocating for more permanent spaces where we can all enjoy walking without fear of dangerous speeds, whether its car-free spaces like JFK Promenade or car-lite spaces like Slow Streets.

How you can help Slow Our Streets

We’re doing speed surveys in different neighborhoods each month and need volunteers! Be sure you get our newsletter to find out about our upcoming speed surveys.

Your financial support will give Walk SF the capacity to organize across the city and push at City Hall to #SlowOurStreets.

There are big opportunities to bring down dangerous speeds in 2022. We can seize them with your help.

Questions? Contact Marta Lindsey at marta@walksf.org.