SF unveils plan to reduce pedestrian fatalities

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee unveiled his plan to improve pedestrian safety Friday that coincided with the nation’s first Walk to Work Day.

The Pedestrian Strategy, which will roll out over the next seven years, aims at reducing serious pedestrian injuries or fatalities by 25 percent by 2016 and 50 percent by 2021.

The plan, in collaboration with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Department of Public Health, calls for making 44 miles of city streets with a high concentration of pedestrian injuries much safer.

Lee said the City will focus on improving pedestrian safety on five miles of streets per year through 2021.

The plans include giving pedestrians more time to cross streets at 800 intersections, focus on pedestrian safety measures near schools and senior centers, upgrading 13,000 curb ramps over the next 10 years, reopening 20 cross walks by 2021 and more police enforcement.

It also calls for 181 countdown signals at intersections by 2021 and reducing less than a mile car trips by 25 percent by 2021.

Lee said it was not enough to declare all school sites in the city to have a 15 miles per hour speed limit when drivers are violating it:

“We have to have not only a strategy that focuses on the physical improvements, we also have to have a strategy with our police department… making sure we enforce these efforts that we’re making because people won’t listen and their behavior won’t change unless we enforce the laws.”

It’s not just drivers who need to be vigilant on the road , but also pedestrians as well, said San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr:

“You need to be aware when you’re crossing the street. As the mayor said, when you cross the street… you’re vulnerable to somebody else not paying attention… and for god’s sake do not walk and text.”

Suhr said there were 20 pedestrian fatalities last year. So far this year there have seven pedestrian deaths, including one on Wednesday when a woman was hit by pickup truck in the city’s Sunnyside neighborhood.

During Friday’s Walk to Work Day, Mayor Lee joined San Francisco supervisors in walking to City Hall in the morning. Many supervisors met with residents in their districts to walk to work.

Those who participated in Friday’s Walk to Work Day can post pictures using the hashtag #walk2work on Twitter to compete for prizes, which will be handed out during the Walk to Work Day Happy Hour at Show Dogs at 5:30 p.m.