Pedestrian Advocates, Collision Survivors Converge On City Hall To Demand Change

A vigil was held at San Francisco City Hall today in remembrance of pedestrians killed on city streets. Several people who have been hit by cars but survived spoke at the vigil, calling for safer roadways and better driver education.

For 25-year-old Jamey Gump, a visually impaired man who works in San Francisco, crossing city streets is “a matter of life and death daily,” he said, although he himself has never been hit.

Even with a guide dog by his side, Gump said he feels unsafe at intersections.

“Vehicles really need to slow down,” he said.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, members of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy group, gathered this morning outside City Hall with collision survivors and loved ones of those killed to discuss safety.

Walk San Francisco Executive Director Nicole Schneider said 11 pedestrians have been killed in the city over the last 10 weeks and 21 pedestrian deaths were reported in 2013 — the highest number since 2007.

John Alex Lowell said he was hospitalized for 13 months after a vehicle struck him in a crosswalk in the Mission District in March 2001.

Lowell said the impact of the car threw him about 20 feet. He said the collision and the 20 operations that followed have left lasting effects on his body and his memory.

The driver who struck Lowell served six months behind bars for reckless driving.

Lowell now serves on the city’s pedestrian safety advisory committee and is helping to implement San Francisco’s newly adopted Vision Zero Initiative.

The initiative calls for zero traffic fatalities in San Francisco by 2024 with improved traffic engineering, education of drivers on safe travel and increased enforcement of traffic laws.

San Francisco’s Vision Zero program is modeled after a program created in Sweden. Similar initiatives have been implemented in Chicago and New York.

Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the SFMTA, said that as part of the Vision Zero plan, the public can look forward to lowered speed limits, bulbouts, increased time for pedestrian crossing, more crosswalk striping and the retiming of traffic signals to slow down the speed of traffic on city streets.

Schneider, of Walk SF, urged city leaders to increase funding and speed up the enactment of the program. She said 60 percent of pedestrian collisions occur on about 6 percent of the city’s streets.

San Francisco District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee attended the vigil and recounted his own near-death experience that occurred in 2006 when a vehicle struck him at Fourth and Bryant streets.

Yee stressed the importance of educating commercial drivers working in San Francisco on how to drive safely.

San Francisco police Cmdr. Mikail Ali said drivers should be aware that if they are at fault for a collision, they will be cited. Drivers cited for such collisions receive two points on their driver’s record and may serve jail time, Ali said.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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  • sfparkripoff

    Sourced from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company:

    51% of pedestrians talk on the phone while crossing the street
    26% of pedestrians text or email while crossing the street
    34% of pedestrians listen to music while crossing the street
    60% of pedestrians use a smartphone while crossing the street

    Walk SF and the Bicycle Coalition / Lobby would have us believe that motorists are responsible for pedestrians who prioritize their smartphones over obeying the traffic laws. Cars are not leaping up on to sidewalks and attacking pedestrians. Both of these faux advocacy/ lobbying organizations are all too happy to fund their organizations off the backs of city motorists.

    Here’s how it works:

    1. Faux Advocacy Group lobbys City Hall to deficit spend millions on bike lanes and pedestrian proje Faux advocacy lobbying group Endorses candidates who agree to the deficit spending
    3. Faux Advocacy Lobbying group Suggest a Bond Measure (like prop b) for the ballot and uses all of their resources to get it passed
    4. After the ballot measure passes City Hall funnels a chunk of the cash back to the lobbying groups to do “outreach”. Then SFMTA
    Hires people from Faux Advocacy Lobbying group into city hall jobs to push through bogus improvement projects.

    Everybody gets their funding and the Taxpayers are left holding the debt. City officials want to push $3 BILLION in taxes, fees and bonds before voters in 2014 to pay for the redesign projects that these faux advocacy organizations are pushing. If you have had ENUF of City Halls reckless spending and mismanagement of our tax dollars then take action. We are encouraging city motorists to stop contributing to an anti-car Transit Agency that uses city motorists like an ATM machine.
    Remember this the next time the city of San Francisco requests more bonds to improve your driving experience. VOTE NO! If you drive a car, VOTE NO on any more funds for Muni or the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA). Regardless of what they promise, the funds will be used against you to inflate parking prices, remove traffic lanes, slow traffic, and force you out of your car. If you voted No to a Wall on the Waterfront then please VOTE NO to any more funds for the SFMTA or Muni. 

    The next time you elect a Mayor, or a City Supervisor VOTE NO if they start parroting ‘transit first” as an excuse to bleed your wallet. If your city Supervisor wants you to give up the safety of your family car to ride a bicycle on busy city streets then VOTE THEM OUT!

    • Forthright

      Nailed it RIGHT on the head, sfparkripoff

      • 94103er

        Sock-puppeting much, sfparkripoff? Go away, bot.

        • Forthright

          You seem to be a very angry person. I am not sure that anger is the correct reaction when someone disagrees with your point of view, but it’s your coronary.

  • sfrobink

    I was hit by a car this past fall when I was 2/3rds across in a crosswalk with the green light. I have no memory of what happened. The police report showed that a car made a right turn and hit me. I’m lucky – I made it, having to heal from a broken arm and leg. I now evaluate ALL intersections as to where cars might be coming from, then I watch those directions as I cross. This is a new kind of behavior as a pedestrian, but a necessary one, I think, in order to stay as safe as possible when crossing in a crosswalk.

    • 94103er

      But I think you know, deep down, that you just can’t be that vigilant at every single moment you’re walking. You might as well say you feel like you have to look around you at all times while walking on the sidewalk–a car could jump the curb at any time.

      No, we need to demand truly safe streets now. No one should be driving faster than 25 in a city this crowded. We need to demand that all intersections be daylit (parking removed at corners). And of course enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.

      • sfrobink

        You’re right – I don’t think we’re going to be able to stop a car jumping a curb. What I’m talking about is when I/we are crossing the street – even tonite, I had to put up my hand to warn an oncoming car to wait! Yes, I am watching every street and every crossing now. I am still healing from two broken bones and I don’t care to add more if I can help it. And it happens this way, folks, to unsuspecting people crossing – that’s why I say, no more distractions when crossing the street – it’s us who also need to be totally watchful.
        And yes to all the suggestions you have – let’s do it all!