Mayor Lee’s Pedestrian Safety Plan: Have SFPD Enforce Existing Laws

In advance of a joint hearing Thursday by San Francisco politicians and police on pedestrian safety, Mayor Ed Lee has released plans for increased enforcement, training and a citywide public awareness campaign on the issue.

The hearing, being held by the San Francisco Police Commission and the Board of Supervisors’ neighborhood services and safety committee, comes after several recent pedestrian deaths, including that of a 6-year-old girl in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood on New Year’s Eve.

In an effort to increase pedestrian safety, Lee announced today a 12 percent increase to the Police Department’s motorcycle unit and said police will target what city data has identified as the 50 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians.

Lee said he also plans to launch in February a “Be Nice, Look Twice” public awareness campaign on pedestrian safety and will implement new training and safety programs by 2015 for trucks and construction vehicles driving in the city.

“San Francisco is a city that walks, and we all have a shared responsibility to protect and care for the most vulnerable users on our city streets,” the mayor said in a statement.

Thursday’s hearing, scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers at City Hall, will look at police protocol for reviewing, investigating and reporting finding of fault in collisions involving pedestrians or cyclists.

According to pedestrian and bike advocates, 21 pedestrians and four bicyclists died in collisions with cars in San Francisco in 2013 and several more have already been injured in the new year.

Members of the advocacy groups, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco, are calling on the city to commit to a “Vision Zero” policy to eliminate pedestrian and cyclist deaths in the next 10 years.

The policy changes include making infrastructure changes at various collision hotspots in the city’s South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods.

“For too long, city leaders have accepted a certain amount of death and destruction on our streets as a basic ‘cost of doing business’, but no more,” Leah Shahum of the bike coalition said in a statement.

“These tragic incidents are preventable, and we demand that our elected leaders perform their most basic job of keeping citizens safe in the public realm,” Shahum said.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, three board members introduced a resolution calling on the city to adopt the “Vision Zero” policy.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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