SF takes step forward in education for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers 

While The City’s yet-to-be-adopted Vision Zero plan calls for eliminating pedestrian fatalities through engineering, enforcement and education, the education piece is moving along on various fronts of its own.

A resolution introduced in January, the same day as the ambitious Vision Zero plan, calls for a pedestrian safety public-awareness working group. The group would seek to consolidate “splintered and fragmented” education efforts by various agencies into a comprehensive campaign, said Supervisor Norman Yee, the lead sponsor along with Supervisors John Avalos and Jane Kim.

The task force would include the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department, district attorney, and pedestrian safety advocate groups including Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

“This is to make sure that when we do education, it hits all three groups — pedestrians, bikers and drivers,” Yee said. “In the past each group would point fingers at each other and blame each other.”

As sister legislation, it “puts some concreteness to Vision Zero,” Yee said.

Under the resolution, which has gone to committee, the working group would have to develop an action plan within three months of its first meeting.

The fact that the approach will be data-driven is critical, said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider.

“We’re really excited to partner with groups that can provide data like SFPD, which again comes back to the benefit of Yee’s proposal, to have all these different agencies at the table,” she said.

Separately, the SFMTA is rolling out a Pedestrian Safety and Encouragement Education Program, a pilot set to launch in the spring and run through the end of the year. The campaign, funded with $850,000 in federal funds, involves the SFMTA, police and Department of Public Health targeting driver violations of pedestrian rights of way. Driver violations are the No. 1 cause for vehicle pedestrian collisions in San Francisco.

The SFMTA has executed safety campaigns in some areas of The City, including Sunset Boulevard, but this is a “more comprehensive, citywide approach,” said agency spokesman Paul Rose. In addition, the agency will do outreach on five problematic corridors that have yet to be selected.

A separate campaign launching within a month will run in conjunction with the Walk First program and will remind road users to be aware of their surroundings, Rose said.

So far this year, four fatalities have been reported in The City, one more than the same time period the previous year.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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