19th Avenue

Focusing on 19th Avenue, the following brief analyzes the current status of pedestrian safety in San Francisco and concludes with six recommendations. Current Status in San Francisco San Francisco is the most deadly city in California for pedestrians (with populations over 250k).[i] A car hits between two and three pedestrians every day in San Francisco.[ii] Walkscore ranks San Francisco as the second most walkable city in America. However, “being walkable doesn‟t always mean that it is safe.”[iii] According to San Francisco Examiner columnist Rob Morse, San Francisco is “a city where walkers are in a free-fire zone every time they step off a curb.”[iv] According to Supervisor Wiener on September 13th, “Our city is not where it needs to be in terms of pedestrian safety.” Ranking as the fourth deadliest city nationwide, San Francisco tolerates a pedestrian fatality rate of 52% compared to the 12% national rate. In addition, the rate of pedestrian fatalities nationwide is 1.53 per 100,000 residents compared to a rate 70 percent higher of 2.60 in San Francisco.[v] Averaging over 800 pedestrian deaths annually, San Francisco ranks nationally as the third worst „large‟ metro area for pedestrian safety.[vi] According to Elizabeth Stampe of Walk SF, you are four times more likely to die walking in San Francisco compared to driving. Stampe believes the key to success is implementation because we already know what works. “We need to put those ideas into place. Until a coordinated citywide effort is started to prioritize pedestrian issues, walkers will continue to face adverse safety conditions in The City. 19th Avenue 19th Ave. is an eight-lane and five-mile long arterial thoroughfare, which bisects southwestern San Francisco.[vii] Running from the Richmond District to the western border of Ingleside, the Avenue south of Golden Gate Park is designated as part of State Highway 1 (despite being a city street).[viii] 19th Ave. and Lincoln Way is one of the highest injury collision intersections in San Francisco with three injury collisions in 2008 and eight in 2009. From 2007-2009, 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd. had 17 injury collisions, and 19th Avenue and

Junipero Serra Blvd. had 16 injury collisions. Over the years, 19th Ave. has benefitted from significant trafficcalming measures, including signal upgrades, lower speed limits, and increased enforcement. In early-January 2011, San Francisco Mayoral candidate Leland Yee took credit for his double-fine legislation, which reduced the pedestrian fatality rate from five deaths in 2007 to zero deaths total since 2008. According to Elizabeth Stampe, “Double-fines are a good start, but we need a more complete redesign of our streets to make it safer for everyone. It shouldn‟t take some people dying to achieve that. 19th Ave. is still no walk in the park. Six Recommendations San Francisco should invest in proactive measures to save pedestrian lives through education, re-engineering, and enforcement. Some of the following recommendations can be found in Gavin Newsom‟s Executive Directive 10-03, which spells out a comprehensive action plan including short, medium, and long term goals for promoting pedestrian safety. The following six recommendations should be implemented to improve pedestrian safety. 1) Implement more safety improvements on 19th Avenue like home zones, traffic-calming (trees and landscaping), enhanced crosswalks with flashing beacons, speed humps, curb ramps, repaving streets, segregated pathways, STOP signs, red zones to increase visibility, tactile warnings at crossings, speed radar signs, improved signage, 15 mph speed limits, protected left turn signals, rumble strips, no right turns at red lights, and signals for drivers to slow down at busy crosswalks. 2) The Planning Department should require pedestrian-friendly buildings for all future development along 19th Avenue. (City Design Group) 3) Outreach Efforts – Distribute free safety handbooks or brochures to 19th Avenue residents. Currently, San Francisco SAFE provides three free printable color brochures entitled SAFE’s Guide to Walking, Pedestrian Safety Tips, and Pedestrian Right-Of-Way Rules. 4) Enforce existing traffic laws on 19th Avenue by working in conjunction with the SFPD. Simply enforcing existing speed limits

goes a long way towards making the city a safer place to walk.[ix] Using undercover police decoys, the city of Benicia‟s police department strongly enforces pedestrian safety by conducting stings on speeding drivers and advertises the enforcement stings in the local newspaper. In addition, the city of Santa Rosa uses undercover officers acting as pedestrian decoys in efforts to catch careless drivers.[x] 5) Develop a comprehensive plan to properly evaluate pedestrian safety efforts through audits. 6) Launch pilot programs like 20 mph neighborhood zones around schools, which is a proven technique utilized by New York City and London.[xi]

[i] “Pedestrian Safety,” San Francisco Bay Window <http://www.sfbaywindow.com /articles/3/92/133.html>. [ii] Aaron Bialick, “City‟s Pedestrian Crash Toll Dwarfs Preventative Safety Costs,” SF Streets Blog 12 Apr. 2011 <http://sf.streetsblog.org/2011/04/12/citys-pedestrian-crash-tolldwarfs-preventative-safety-costs/>. [iii] “Dangerous by Design 2011,” Transportation for America <http://t4america.org/ resources/dangerousbydesign2011/>. [iv] Mike Tharp, “Killer cars by the bay,” U.S. News & World Report 17 Aug. 2011, Academic Search Premier. [v] “Dangerous by Design 2011,” Transportation for America <http://t4america.org/ resources/dangerousbydesign2011/>. [vi] “Dangerous by Design 2011,” Transportation for America <http://t4america.org/ resources/dangerousbydesign2011/>.

[vii] “19th Avenue Profile,” San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. [viii] “California Highways: State Route 1,” <http://cahighways.org/001-008.html#001>. [ix] “What Other Cities Are Doing,” Pedestrians of Iowa City <http://onanov.com/pedzic /examples.htm>. [x] Cyndy Liedtke, “Cities Look for Ways to Improve Pedestrian Safety,” Nation‟s Cities Weekly 17 Aug. 2011, Academic Search Premier. [xi] “Executive Summary,” The New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan August 2010 <http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_ action_plan.pdf>.