San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is calling for another hearing on pedestrian safety with a focus on figuring out what the Police Department’s plan is to increase traffic enforcement.
In May, Mandelman sent an inquiry to the department on how plan they plan to restore traffic enforcement back to 2014 levels and to describe barriers preventing the department from doing so. Last Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Mandelman said:
“As I have said before, if it seems like there isn’t any traffic enforcement in San Francisco, that’s because there largely isn’t.”
Last year, 39 fatal traffic crashes occurred in the city, which is the highest number since 2014 when the city adopted the Vision Zero goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2024.
The department did respond to the supervisor’s inquiry, but Mandelman said the answers he received raised more questions about traffic enforcement and did not include a plan for restoration.
Mandelman highlighted some of the responses from the department, including the continued staffing shortage as a barrier to ramping up enforcement and administrative burdens. He added that in the response, the department said they are using a “directed operations” method where officers are sent to specific locations to focus on certain driving behaviors.
He questioned whether that solution could “be pursued in a way that measurably restores traffic enforcement as a credible deterrent for drivers…” in the city.
Mandelman had previously held a hearing with the department last October on traffic enforcement.
This call for a hearing comes as advocates for pedestrian safety earlier this week went back to the intersection of Fourth and King of a high-profiled fatal crash of a four-year-old girl that took place last month.
Marta Lindsey, the communications director for Walk San Francisco, told SFBay:
“We are here today because we don’t want to forget this little girl and her family. We do not want city leaders to forget that they need to do more to fix these intersections.”
Enforcement needs to focus on the most dangerous driving behaviors in the city and that is not happening, Lindsey said.
The top five most dangerous driving behaviors that officers are supposed to focus on include speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, failing to yield while turning and blocking the pedestrian right-of-way in a crosswalk.
The hearing will happen on Sept. 28 at the board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.