As S.F. Transportation Officials Back Street Safety, Another Pedestrian Dies
On a day that saw yet another pedestrian struck by a car and killed in San Francisco, city transit officials vowed action on a plan that aims to end such fatalities within a decade.
Officer Albie Esparza, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman, said Tuesday’s fatal accident involved an unidentified man who was struck by a car and killed as he crossed a busy street in the city’s Sunset district. The man was walking west across Sunset Boulevard near Yorba Street just before 11 a.m. when he was hit by a southbound Toyota Corolla, Esparza said.
The man went through the car’s windshield and was pronounced dead at the scene. Three women who were inside the car were injured and taken to a hospital. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, Esparza said.
Tuesday’s victim was the second pedestrian killed by a driver in San Francisco this year and the eighth since Dec. 1. The spike in fatalities has prompted calls for quick action to make the streets safer, an issue that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board addressed at its meeting early Tuesday afternoon.
The board passed a resolution that calls for both short-term and long-term action to reduce the pedestrian toll. The plan involves a two-year program to improve safety at the city’s 24 most dangerous intersections. The resolution also expressed support for “Vision Zero,” a long-term strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities of all kinds by 2014.
City officials say Vision Zero would build on current city safety initiatives. The San Francisco Chronicle recently gave a broad outline of those efforts:
In 2010, Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive directive that called for slashing the number of severe and fatal injuries in half by 2021, and Mayor Ed Lee has followed up, devoting $17 million over the next five years to various pedestrian safety improvements. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has received a $3 million grant to improve traffic signaling.
Nicole Schneider, executive director of pedestrian advocate Walk San Francisco, said she welcome the SFMTA resolution but says the city’s safety plans aren’t yet backed up by funding.
“We need more money for pedestrian safety,” Schneider said. “We need more staffing, and we need these projects to get on the ground quickly. Otherwise I’m afraid that Vision Zero is going to remain a vision and not become reality.”
Mayor Lee hopes to put three transportation funding measures on the November ballot to fund the city’s pedestrian strategy.
Those who live near the Sunset Boulevard intersection where Tuesday morning’s fatal collision occurred said pedestrian safety there is a longtime problem.
Dick Morton and his daughter, Ailin, live nearby and told Bay City News that the six-lane thoroughfare is dangerous for pedestrians because of the lack of traffic lights at each intersection.
“People can pick up quite a bit of speed,” Dick Morton said.
He said pedestrian warning lights at Yorba Street haven’t helped much. “You better be wide awake and fleet of foot” when crossing the street, he said.
This post contains reporting by KQED’s Bryan Goebel and Bay City News.Related