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City projects tackle pedestrian safety

San Francisco’s transportation agency announced during The City’s second annual Walk to Work Day Friday that it had completed one of 24 projects to improve pedestrian and bike safety.

Vision Zero, introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim and adopted by the SFMTA board in February, seeks to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024 in part by implementing 24 pedestrian and bike safety projects within the next 24 months.

The SFMTA completed its Vision Zero project on Howard and Sixth streets with pedestrian safety improvements that include painted sidewalk extensions, zebra-stripped cross walks and advanced limit lines to encourage drivers to stop earlier, according to the transit agency.

The SFMTA said they will focus on several initiatives throughout The City that include reducing vehicle speeds, installing traffic signals at intersections that them and enchanting existing and building new bike ways.

Several intersections and corridors including Sunset Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue and at Mission Street and Silver Avenue are targeted for new pedestrian safety improvements.

Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street is getting a new traffic signal by the end of the year where 78-year-old Isaak Berenzon was struck and killed by a vehicle.

The transit agency also said the timing on traffic signals from Golden Gate and Van Ness Avenues to Market Street will change to lower vehicle speeds. Curb extensions are also slated for the intersection of Mission and Silver avenues.

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement about the Vision Zero projects:

“Building better and safer streets can help us ensure that individual mistakes on the road do not lead to death or serious injury.”

The data-driven Walk First program found that 60 percent of severe or fatal injuries were happening on six percent of City streets. Mayor Ed Lee said The City would invest $17 million to begin safety projects on at those intersections.

City officials are also starring in YouTube public service announcement videos reminding drivers to slow down and yield to pedestrians.

Just on Thursday, a truck struck a 3-year old boy riding his bicycle near 43rd Avenue and Fulton Street.

The mayor is also asking for voters to pass a $500 million general obligation bond and an increase to the vehicle license fee this November. At least $50 million from the bond would go toward funding many of the pedestrian safety improvement projects.

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