Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) announced the new “Be Nice, Look Twice” public awareness campaign, which will launch in February. The campaign will remind all road users to not only slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings, but also help and care for one another as we all travel San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.
“Pedestrian safety continues to be a key focus as our City grows,” said Mayor Lee. “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. By looking out for each other and by driving more slowly and carefully, we can make a big impact on improving safety for those walking in San Francisco. This new campaign will be culturally competent and will touch all corners of San Francisco.”
The campaign will also increase the safety of City streets by targeting trucks and construction vehicles, especially around hot spots of infrastructure and construction work with new training and safety programs by 2015.
In addition to new public awareness campaigns and safety training, the SFPD will increase enforcement on City streets with a 12 percent increase to the Department’s motorcycle force. The SFPD will target 50 intersections Citywide, leveraging the latest City data to identify and target hotspots. All 10 district stations will participate in the increased enforcement.
“Enforcement of traffic laws continues to be a critical piece to improving pedestrian safety. Enforcement educates drivers about the rules of the road,” said SFPD Chief of Police Greg Suhr. “One of the most effective ways to reduce serious injuries and fatalities has proven to be through targeted enforcement. It is with this in mind that we came up with our ‘Focus on the Five’ strategy where we have been focusing on the five most dangerous intersections in each of our 10 police districts, ticketing for the violations most responsible for collisions. We are committed to keeping our residents and visitors safe.”
Mayor Lee and SFMTA also announced today that it has received federal funding for pedestrian safety projects on South Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street with anticipated construction in 2017. As part of the City’s focus on pedestrian safety and a proactive approach to identifying funds for projects that make walking and street crossing safer, the SFMTA applied for the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds in 2013. The purpose of the HSIP program is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads.
SFMTA has now secured approximately $2.9 million to design and construct upgrades of existing traffic signals, new accessible curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and pedestrian countdown signals at key intersections on South Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street.
“Incorporating more pedestrian safety measures into our City’s landscape and raising public awareness about traffic safety is a crucial element in our work as we continue to build a safer, comprehensive and innovative transportation network,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “The SFMTA will continue its proactive approach in finding and fighting for the capital resources that empower us to make walking and street crossing safer in San Francisco.”
To improve pedestrian safety on South Van Ness Avenue, the SFMTA will focus efforts at seven key intersections: 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Streets. On Polk Street, 9 key intersections will also be prioritized: Union, Broadway, Pacific, Jackson, Washington, Clay, Sacramento, California and Post Streets. Collectively, the intersections on these corridors have demonstrated both a need for enhanced pedestrian signal work as well as general safety measures to address the disproportionate amount of collisions taking place at these locations. Of the HSIP funds, $1.47 million will be allocated to work on South Van Ness Avenue and $1.42 million to Polk Street, with construction at both locations to take place in 2017.
“As first responders to the scenes of traffic collisions, we see the importance of creating safer streets for all road users. We’re continuing to collaborate to make a difference and address preventable collisions,” said SFFD Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
With San Francisco’s goal to reduce serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities by 50 percent in seven years, a number of key city departments also recently launched the community outreach program for WalkFirst, a joint project of the SFMTA, the San Francisco Planning Department, the Department of Public Health and the Controller’s Office. WalkFirst builds on past city efforts to improve pedestrian safety and walkability by prioritizing five years of capital improvements to meet the City’s Pedestrian Strategy goals that the Mayor announced in April 2013 to make San Francisco a safer place to walk.
The public is invited to share their thoughts on what the City should fund to improve pedestrian safety by proposing possible prioritization solutions on the newly launched WalkFirst interactive tool. For more information, go to: http://walkfirst.sfplanning.org