San Francisco moves toward muting tour bus drivers

Proposed legislation to ban tour drivers from narrating while driving is moving forward to the full San Francisco Board of Supervisors for approval.

Supervisor Norman Yee proposed the legislation after 68-year-old Priscila “Precy” Moreto was fatally struck by a motorized cable car while in the crosswalk in front of City Hall on Polk Street last October. Moreto worked for The City in the controller’s office.

Yee said at the board’s Government and Audits Committee Thursday that his legislation was another effort to get to the City’s Vision Zero goal, which calls for zero traffic deaths by 2024:

“This legislation is a step in the right direction as it relates to distracted driving and I believe it will make our streets safer for pedestrians. It is but one more strategy as I mentioned to reach our Vision Zero strategies goals.”

The ban on narration, though, may have limited impact, Yee said. Excluded from the proposed legislation are drivers of tour buses regulated under the California Public Utilities Commission as either passenger staged corporations or charter party carriers.

Yee said he is working with the state legislature to come up with a statewide proposal on tour bus drivers narrating while driving for companies regulated by the CPUC.

Other ways city officials say they are trying to make the streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists is with cost-effective projects. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said Wednesday that 12 of 24 projects it promised when its board adopted the Vision Zero policy are complete.

The projects focus on the 12 percent of city streets that account for 70 percent of severe or fatal traffic injuries.

Transit officials said that they completed the Tenderloin Daylighting Project, which included 80 intersections receiving a treatment known as “daylighting.” The treatment involves removing visual impediments like parked cars from at least 10 feet away from crosswalks.

The SFMTA also said it completed the Howard Street Buffered Bikeway Project. The project included widening the exisiting bike lane by narrowing the two travel lanes between Sixth and 10th streets on Howard. A three-feet buffer and safety zones were also painted.