City and Community Leaders Call for Vision Zero: Action from Mayor, Police Chief, Transportation Chief Demanded to Reduce Traffic DeathsRead Now
A broad coalition of San Francisco community groups — led by Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition — are calling on City leaders to commit to a “Vision Zero” policy to eliminate traffic deaths in San Francisco over the next 10 years, including immediate action from Mayor Lee, Police Chief Suhr, and SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin.
On Tuesday, Supervisors Jane Kim, Norman Yee and John Avalos introduced a resolution, calling on the City to officially adopt Vision Zero, ushering this crucial street safety initiative forward.
The coalition of community groups (see full list at end) call on the Mayor to publicly commit to taking immediate actions to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities:
“For too long, City leaders have accepted a certain amount of death and destruction on our streets as a basic ‘cost of doing business’, but no more,” said Leah Shahum, of the SF Bicycle Coalition. “These tragic incidents are preventable, and we demand that our elected leaders perform their most basic job of keeping citizens safe in the public realm. It’s a simple choice: Will our City prioritize safe movement on the streets or not?”
“Our Pedestrian Strategy’s goals of cutting pedestrian injuries and fatalities in half by 2021 is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the district with the highest number of traffic collisions. “The City has been experiencing this public health crisis for years, and last year we hit a near-record high for traffic fatalities. A Vision Zero policy that commits to clear and decisive near-term actions for better engineering, enforcement and education to cut traffic fatalities to zero in the next 10 years is critical if we’re serious about saving lives.”
If Vision Zero is adopted, San Francisco will follow other major U.S cities, including Chicago and New York City, which have already adopted Vision Zero policies to eliminate traffic fatalities on their streets.
On Thursday, January 16th at 5pm at City Hall, frustrated community members will be looking to SF Police Chief Greg Suhr to publicly commit to Vision Zero and immediate actions to make our streets safer as the SF Police Commission and SF Board of Supervisors’ Neighborhood Services & Safety Committee convene together. This special hearing is focused on the SF Police Department’s enforcement of bike- and pedestrian-related incidents, which is being questioned in light of SFPD missteps and lack of urgency in citing and investigating the city’s record number of traffic and serious injuries.
“We are looking to the leadership of the SF Police Department to do their part to make our streets safer,” says Supervisor David Campos, who chairs the Board of Supervisor’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee. “I called for this special joint hearing between the Police Commission and the Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee because this issue merits serious, ongoing attention. In order to prevent these tragic deaths we must strengthen traffic enforcement and improve the quality of police investigations of traffic collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians.”
Groups that work with low-income residents in the SoMa and Central Districts especially understand the importance of Vision Zero in keeping residents safe.
Priya Sawhney or the Central City SRO Collaborative said, “The low-income community is home to many seniors and disabled people and it’s unacceptable for the law-enforcement to let these fatalities go unnoticed. There is a trend here and that trend is a danger to pedestrians and community members. I’ve seen residents in wheelchairs absolutely refuse to cross the street from fear of getting hit by a car. We need to prevent such fears and take action against those who commit the crimes that instill those fears in the minds and hearts of many in the first place.”
Dan Falk of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation said, “Lack of traffic safety disproportionately impacts people in low-income communities like the Tenderloin. We have lost too many friends and family to a tragic problem that is totally preventable, if we can bring focus and political will to solving it.”
Phil Chin of Chinatown TRIP said, “It’s been a deadly December. When four people are killed within a span of roughly one week, it is cause for alarm.”
Rev. Norman Fong of Chinatown Community Development Center said, “It’s been so heart-breaking to see a little girl, a senior, a senior riding bike, and my good friend, all killed by vehicles recently in San Francisco. Enough tears have been shed. Let’s do something together to slow traffic down and make it safer – now!”
The San Francisco School District has also signed on to Vision Zero, recognizing the importance of creating safe streets for our youngest residents, and ensuring a safe, thriving city for the next generation.
“Every day 55,000 students make the trip from home to school and back again. Because of their size and relative inexperience, kids are the most vulnerable street users. Improving the safety of our streets is therefore an investment in the future of our children,” said Nikolai Kaestner, SFUSD Director of Sustainability.
San Francisco groups who support Vision Zero: CA Walks, CC Puede, Central City SRO Collaborative, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Community Housing Partnership, Excelsior Action Group, Folks for Polk, Friends of Monterey Blvd., Livable City, Mission Community Market, Mission Economic Development Association, North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association, Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, SF Housing Action Coalition, SF Bay Walks, San Francisco Unified School District, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development, Walk San Francisco, Yerba Buena Alliance
Bike registration is a volunteer program with the Ingleside Police Station to make it quicker and easier to identify and return recovered bicycles to the rightful owner. If you decide to participate in this program, you will receive a sticker to place on an inconspicuous part of your bike so if your bike happens to be stolen and then recovered, the police will know who to return it to. Majority of bicycles are stolen while stored in homes/garages so make sure your bicycle is locked up at all times to increase the chances to prevention of theft.
To report any thefts or incidents, please call the police at (415) 553-0123 for non- emergencies or 911 for emergencies. To find the bike registration form, click here.
Multiple Safety Programs Created to Address Community Concerns
(San Francisco – November 9, 2013) In September 2013, Excelsior Action Group (EAG) received funding from District 11 Supervisor Avalos and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to focus on neighborhood safety improvements. The organizations was able to hire Gwynn Mackellen as Safety Coordinator to work with merchants, residents, city staff, and EAG’s Safety Committee members on improving the sense of security and quality of life along the commercial corridor. During the months of August and September, Excelsior Action Group (EAG) collected over one-hundred-and-sixty Hot Spot surveys in-person and online from merchants, residents, and attendees of the Excelsior Festival. These questionnaires asked people to report safety concerns in the Excelsior neighborhood and locations where these issues were a problem. The resulting data was mapped to pinpoint the greatest concentrations of reported “hot spots”. Using this information, EAG conducted a Hot Spot Walk on October 2nd with Supervisor John Avalos, Captain Timothy Falvey and officers from the Ingleside Police Station, a superintendent from Department of Public Works, Safety Coordinator from Excelsior Community Center, Excelsior Safety Committee members, and other neighborhood stakeholders. During the walk, we discussed issues that the City could work with the community on improving. As a result, trash was cleaned up, the greenery in the median along Alemany Blvd was trimmed, street lights were fixed, and two arrests were made at a “hot spot” shortly after.
In order to ensure that dark street lights get repaired across the Excelsior, EAG’s Lights Out Walk on October 25th focused specifically on this issue. Improved lighting can reduce crime by ten percent, and in order for broken lights to be replaced in a timely manner, community members need to be vigilant about reporting them. The walk engaged local students and residents by teaming up to tackle sections of the neighborhood and call in outages to 3-1-1. This event resulted in brighter streets in time for Halloween.
Quality of life issues, such as graffiti and littering, are a common complaint by those who live, work, and shop in the Excelsior. Cleaner streets generate a sense of community pride and help break the cycle of neighborhood degradation. Therefore, EAG sponsored a cleanup on November 2nd along the Excelsior business corridor with Department of Public Works Graffiti Watch Program to paint over tagging and sweep up trash.
The safety of vulnerable road users is a prime concern. Collisions impacting pedestrians increase dramatically after the end of Daylight Saving Time as people travel after dark. Improving visibility is one way to ensure the safety of those traveling by foot, bike, or skateboard. On November 8th EAG passed out reflectors to commuters at transit stops to make them easier to see by car drivers, and providing pedestrian and bicycling safety information in the three languages most common in the Excelsior.
District 9 Supervisor David Campos and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced a gun buyback event on Tuesday that will take place on Aug. 8. Participants will be able to bring unloaded guns to 22nd and Capp streets in exchange for cash.
“Gun buybacks are a proven way to reduce the number of guns in a community. The community has asked for this program and we are hopeful that our anti-violence partners will be able to reach gun owners who have not been reached before,” Campos said. “We also know that one of the critical challenges facing buybacks is funding, and we are happy to be able to provide the resources to help make the community safer.”
In a statement issued by Campos’s office, spokesperson Carolyn Goossen explained that participants will receive $100 in exchange for unloaded guns and $200 for assault weapons. No questions will be asked.
In an earlier interview, Campos told Mission Local that he used discretionary funds allotted yearly to each San Francisco supervisor to organize the event.
Campos also partnered with Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), a Mission-based organization that works with at-risk youth, the Mission District Station of the San Francisco Police Department, the US Bank, and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
“In order to achieve peace in our neighborhood we need to work with young people as individuals and be conscious of the larger systemic issues, like poverty and racism, that cause so many to turn to violence. At the same time, we know that if we take guns off the streets, we can save many young peoples’ lives,” said Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, executive director of CARECEN.
In addition to these partners, approximately 150 community members donated $10,000 online at GunbyGun.org for the event.
“Our goal is to provide a way for individuals who care about gun violence to have a direct impact on their community” said Ian Johnstone, co-founder of Gunbygun. “As someone who lives in the Mission and spends most of my time here, I am very happy to know there are fewer guns in the streets because of this effort.”
Johnstone said people can donate money at GunbyGun.org until Aug. 2 to help fund the gun buyback program.
The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the parking lot of U.S. Bank on 22nd and Capp streets. A maximum of five guns per car, or per person will be accepted
Smartphones have become a part of our everyday lives. It is estimated that over half of the US population owns a smart phone which creates an environment ripe for violent street crimes.
According to Consumer Reports, 1.6 million Americans were victims of Smartphone theft last year. Here in San Francisco, almost half of our robberies involve a stolen mobile communication device.
Unlike other types of crimes, this wave of smartphone theft can be fixed through a technological solution. Such a solution would render phones inoperable if reported stolen removing the incentive for would be thieves.
That is why New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney launched the "Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S)" Initiative today. We are co-chairing this national coalition of State Attorney Generals, State Leaders, District Attorneys, major city Police Chiefs, state and city Comptrollers, public safety, public safety activists, and consumer advocates to encourage the cell phone industry to adopt technologies that deter smartphone theft.
The cell phone industry has an unprecedented opportunity to exercise corporate responsibility to help deter crime. But they must hear from you - their consumers.
Please take a moment to sign our petition asking the cell phone manufacturers and carriers to put public safety before corporate profits.
Earlier this year, EAG facilitated a grassroots pedestrian level lighting campaign on the commercial corridor called Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior. Thanks to our amazing videographer & film editor Phillip C. Wong and J. Alex, we now have a video to share with the community that introduces you to the program, its goals, and some of our youth partners who helped make the work possible.