Last year in San Francisco, drivers killed 21 pedestrians and four bicyclists, and injured about 900 pedestrians. That’s why city leaders are devising a new vision–Vision Zero–for safety and zero deaths on city streets.
The Police Department has already responded with a change of vocabulary: instead of calling these occurrences ‘accidents’ (as if there were no human cause), police are calling them ‘collisions’.
More substantively, Supervisors Jane Kim, Norman Yee, and John Avalos are writing a resolution, Vision Zero, to lead the city to zero deaths by traffic within 10 years.
Vision Zero is already being implemented in New York and many cities in Europe.
Vision Zero so far has three main components:
- engineering to fix the dangerous streets where most of the collisions occur, including better lighting, crosswalks, and bicycle lanes;
- enforcement against the major driver failures of running red lights, driving too fast, and not yielding to pedestrians; police should be specially on the lookout for distracted driving, including drivers using cell phones and texting;
- education for drivers, including direct training for city employees; this should include teaching police to be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists, and media outreach to the general public.
The Sierra Club San Francisco Group strongly supports the Vision Zero concept, but the city needs to go further. A key means towards safer streets is to reduce driving, and that requires making public transit more reliable and appealing. Whenever the city makes street improvements, a key component should be improvements that help Muni run faster and more reliably. Combining Muni projects with bike and pedestrian projects is the most cost-effective way to spend money on our streets.
Contact your supervisor at:
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, #244
San Francisco, CA 94102
or through www.sfbos.org. Urge them to:
- add Muni to Vision Zero;
- pass Vision Zero;
- once it’s passed (since it’s only a resolution), act substantively to implement it.
Howard Strassner, Executive Committee, Sierra Club San Francisco Group