More and more San Francisco residents are calling for measures which will improve the city’s tarred pedestrian safety record. In late March, three pedestrian deaths occurred in the course of a mere week, sparking a growing sense of urgency among advocates for pedestrian safety, such as members of the organization Walk San Francisco.
Although San Francisco citizens are increasingly lending their support to a pedestrian safety campaign, San Francisco politicians are moving far more slowly. Various city agencies appear unable to decide who is charged with the responsibility to prevent pedestrian accidents, although some claim that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) should act as a leader in pedestrian safety.
In a report to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the deputy director of planning for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) claimed that the SFMTA recognizes the need to install additional crosswalks, countdown crossing signals, and other measures which have proven effective at preventing injuries in the past. Yet, she also asserted that the agency requires more funding in order to execute these improvements effectively.
Last month, the Mayor mandated the creation of a special task force committed to finding solutions to the city’s growing pedestrian safety problem. SFMTA officials claim that the 25 member committee is now working to implement noticeable improvements on San Francisco streets as soon as possible.
Politicians and pedestrian safety advocates alike appear to agree that the city needs to see concrete action which addresses this issue, yet observers claim that the funding and leadership needed to make these plans a reality is stuck within the system’s bureaucracy. Activists are now calling for less talking, planning, and analyzing, and more action.
Source: Streetsblog, “San Francisco Pedestrian Safety Efforts Mired in City Bureaucracy.” Bryan Goebel, 22 March 2011.