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Three pedestrian fatalities since June rattle SF safety advocates

Pedestrian advocates are demanding San Francisco transit officials take more aggressive steps to keep pedestrians safe on city streets.

Most recently, 50-year-old Mark Berman was killed by a driver while crossing the intersection of Geary Boulevard and Gough Street on August 8. The driver was allegedly traveling at 65 miles per hour on Geary, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said Tuesday.

On July 19, 53-year-old Michael Kingsley was hit and killed by a driver at the intersection of Jerrold Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard, Sixty-three-year-old Sergio Montes was fatally struck by a driver on June 18 while walking at the intersection San Bruno Avenue and Dwight Street.

Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco, requested the SFMTA board that they ask Tumlin to come back with a revised plan in reaching The City’s goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024 — known as Vision Zero:

“We need to know what is not happening in 2020 because of Covid.”

Medeiros said Tuesday at the SFMTA Board of Directors meeting the revised plan should show how budget impacts have affected specific projects related to achieving Vision Zero.

Additionally, she asked the board to present transit agency action plans to address pedestrian safety for the next three, six and nine months. Medeiros said:

“We can’t let our city once again be a place where an average of 30 people are killed and nearly 600 people severely injured in traffic crashes each year.”

Nancy Arbuckle, a member of Walk San Francisco, said she feels vulnerable as pedestrian in The City, adding:

“I walk everywhere. I have no car and I’ve committed myself to (as much of a) carbon neutral lifestyle as I can have. I feel vulnerable for having made that responsible choice.”

Gina LeBlanc with San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets, who lost her son Kyle in 2016 from a fatal collision in San Jose, said she wants to prevent other mothers from feeling the same pain.

LeBlanc said:

“My life was shattered in an instant and my son’s future disappeared all because of a preventable traffic crash.”

LeBlanc she was horrified to hear that three pedestrians were killed in The City within the last five weeks:

“These people are not just data points they have loved ones who are devastated and whose lives are shattered as mine was.”

Tumlin told the SFMTA board last week that the agency has been able to daylight 819 corners scattered through The City’s high injury network. He said there has been an emphasis on District 4, where Supervisor Gordon Mar has been advocating for more intersection daylighting.

Additionally, the agency has implemented 83 turn restrictions:

  • 55 no-left turns
  • Nine no-right turn on red
  • 19 right-turn restrictions

Ten more red light cameras are being installed this year, as budgeted last year. Tumlin said the agency is also continuing to work on legalizing automated speed enforcement cameras, which requires approval from the state legislature.

Gwyneth Borden, SFMTA board chair, said at a future meeting she would like to take a “deep dive” to find solutions that will help to achieve the Vision Zero goal.

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