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San Francisco traffic deaths fall by one-third

San Francisco hit a record low number of traffic fatalities last year since The City began keeping records in 1915.

On Thursday, city officials said 2017 preliminary data showed 20 traffic fatalities in 2017 compared to the 30 traffic fatalities in 2016. Of the 20 killed in 2017, 14 were pedestrians.

The City adopted the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024 in 2014 in order to make the streets safer by using tools such as redesigning city streets, enforcement and education. Prior to adopting Vision Zero, there were 34 traffic fatalities on city streets.

Officials said they need work more to achieve zero fatalities, as evident in the collision on New Year’s Day on Geary Boulevard and 21st Avenue. While there were no fatalities, seven people were injured, including two elderly pedestrians.

Last year, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency completed over 700 street engineering measures, including more than 70 bulb outs, 50 painted safety zones, 50 speed humps and 50 traffic signal system upgrades.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of the SFMTA, said the decrease in fatalities was good news, but there was nothing to celebrate as 20 people still lost lives last year:

“For each one of those individuals, there’s a family, there are friends, loved ones, colleagues, who are continuing to feel that loss. Until we get that number down to zero, we will not be celebrating.”

One San Francisco native is still feeling the loss of his 21-year old son, Arman Lester, who died in 2014 in the Bayview neighborhood, struck by a vehicle.

Alvin Lester, co-founder of San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets and Arman’s father, said:

“No parent, no family member, should have to go through the suffering of burying their children, or burying their mom, or burying their father, because of a preventable collision.”

Acting Mayor London Breed and other city officials held a moment of silence for the loss of those who were fatally killed on city streets.

Breed said:

“We don’t want another death on our streets because of human error, because of anything that we can avoid if we change our behavior, we change our roads, and we do a better job here in the city and county of San Francisco.”

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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