Safe-street advocates gathered before San Francisco City Hall last week to urge city leaders to declare a state of emergency for traffic safety. The rally, which was organized by Walk San Francisco, follows in the wake of two fatal crashes in the past two weeks. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the Tenderloin Safety Task Force, State Senator Scott Weiner, and Supervisors Vallie Brown, Matt Haney, Hillary Ronen, and Norman Yee were among those in attendance.
Both crashes in the past two weeks occurred within a few blocks between each other, leaving two dead and one critically injured. July 18th's fatality involved the victim being dragged by a commercial big rig for several blocks.
According to Walk San Francisco, incidents like these arise from the danger posed to pedestrians by an unprecedented number of cars and trucks on the street, which often means the under-enforcement of illegal and reckless driving.
“San Francisco must become a city where dangerous driving is simply not tolerated, on any street, at any time,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco. “This is possible, but the City must act quickly and aggressively to move this direction.”
The organization is pushing for several changes in infrastructure and traffic law enforcement to curtail dangerous driving:
Installing additional red-light cameras at more major high-injury intersections (there are currently only 13 in San Francisco).
Immediate action to bring speed safety cameras to San Francisco.
Immediate action to bring a 20 mph speed limit to all residential neighborhoods.
Revisiting the speed limits on commercial streets, especially those designated high-injury and have high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.
Applying the same prosecutorial scrutiny to deaths from traffic violations as other deaths by violent means receive.
Increased enforcement by the San Francisco Police Department to reach its target of issuing 50% of traffic citations to the five most common causes of collisions and injuries.
An analysis of all severe and fatal traffic crashes in the past five years to identify root causes and recommendations for preventative actions.
Designing all safety projects on the high-injury network to reach the highest possible standards, prioritizing people over vehicles.