San Francisco bike and pedestrian safety advocates sent a loud message to City Hall officials as they demanded more action be taken to prevent traffic collisions.
At a rally Tuesday, members of Walk San Francisco called on city officials to declare a state of emergency for traffic safety after two more pedestrians were killed in the Tenderloin neighborhood within the past week.
The group said The City needs to increase police enforcement, lower the speed limit and install more red light cameras in order to address traffic safety issues.
Benjamin Dean and his wife Kelly were struck by a vehicle while crossing the intersection of Taylor and O’Farrell streets Sunday. Benjamin died of his injuries while his wife remains at the hospital. The collision occurred after the vehicle ran a red light.
Michael Evans was killed in a hit-and-run by a tractor-trailer at Fifth and Market streets Thursday.
Walk San Francisco Executive Director Jodie Medeiros said 14 people walking or biking have died this year on San Francisco streets.
“We are standing here together because we know these are not numbers. We have to constantly be reminding people that these are people. These are our neighbors, These are our friends. These are our loved ones.”
Medeiros read each of the 14 names aloud and held a moment of silence.
Supervisor Matt Haney plans to introduce a resolution at the Board of Supervisors meeting to call for a state of emergency.
“We’re here today because San Francisco is in crisis and I am standing with Walk SF and their call for a state emergency for traffic safety.”
Haney, who represents the Tenderloin neighborhood, said he has witnessed near-death experiences and drivers who treat the neighborhood as a freeway.
“We need to slow our streets down and not design them for cars.”
Others at the rally mentioned a need for automated speed enforcement, which requires approval from state legislature.
Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, previously authored legislation that would have created a pilot program for automated speed enforcement in The City, but it failed to pass committee in 2017.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, San Francisco Transportation Authority chair, implored the San Francisco Police Officers Association Tuesday to support automated speed enforcement and to ask the state legislature to approve its use.
Tom Maguire, SFMTA acting director of transportation, said he hears the calls for immediate action and said the transit agency will continue to work with state officials toward automated speed enforcement.
Maguire said automated speed enforcement is:
“The one tool we know has reduced fatalities and crashes by over 60 percent in cities just like San Francisco.”
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. He covers transportation and City Hall. He has spent over a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Jerold is a native in the city and frequently takes public transit everywhere he goes. Email tips to [email protected]