cover-crosswalk.jpgUpdate: Elizabeth Stampe, Executive Director of Walk San Francisco, notes that “the hearing on Monday on citywide pedestrian safety will be in the Chamber, Room 250, not in Room 305.” You can see the aganda for the meeting here.


Non-driving San Francisco residents expressed gloom and frustration when describing their experiences walking around the city during a hearing on pedestrian safety today.

Supervisor Jane Kim convened a public meeting this morning at City Hall to hash out ongoing concerns for pedestrians in San Francisco, and she specifically addressed problems faced by the city’s elderly population.

“Seniors are the disproportionate victims,” she said.

According to recent reports, residents age 60 and older made up more than 40 percent of car-versus-pedestrian victims in San Francisco, Kim said.

Kim said the crashes have cost the city’s District 6 — which includes the Tenderloin, South of Market and Mission Bay neighborhoods–nearly $14 million in hospital and legal bills in recent months, higher than any other district in San Francisco.

“The lights are too fast,” Gloria Hernandez, a resident at Mission Creek Senior Community in Mission Bay, said at the hearing.

She said residents in the development, located at 225 Berry St., aren’t able to make it across the street in the 15 seconds the crosswalk gives them.

Hernandez added that she lives one block from a freeway, and she was told to be careful because drivers “just don’t care” about pedestrian safety.

Police Captain Al Casciato, who attended today’s hearing, said disabled drivers are a common thread among pedestrian accidents because their special parking placards, which when left hanging in their cars, can create a distraction.

Casciato said the cards are illegal to be left hanging while driving and can prevent drivers from seeing pedestrians in a roadway.

Supervisors David Campos and Ross Mirkarimi also attended the hearing, and together with Kim, the policymakers took turns questioning transportation officials about their involvement in trying to increase pedestrian safety.

Representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Department of Public Health each gave presentations about what they were doing to enhance public safety, but not to the satisfaction to more than 30 people that spoke during public comment.

“Sixth Street is a dangerous place,” said Sylvester Guard Jr., a San Francisco resident who has lived near Sixth and Mission streets for about three years.

Guard asked for two crosswalks in the area to be repainted, and said in the three years he lived in the neighborhood, he did not notice a crosswalk until someone pointed it out to him.

Resident Katy Liddell said she became a pedestrian-safety advocate after she saw her friend lying dead near the intersection of Main and Harrison streets.

Liddell–who has served on the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, the official organization to supervisors on pedestrian issues–said two other intersections need attention in order to keep people out of the path of cars: First and Folsom streets, and First and Essex streets.

Most public-comment speakers displayed a bright orange sticker on the outer part of their clothing that read “Safe Streets for All,” and also had a similar message in Chinese underneath.

More than 100 residents showed up to the meeting, including several non-English speakers who brought with them a translator to air their concerns.

Supervisor Eric Mar has called for a Monday hearing at 11 a.m. in City Hall’s Room 305 250 to receive an update from the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee.

The committee last met on March 8.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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