SFMTA begins moving on Vision Zero projects 

SFMTA Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Brinkman, left, walks down a San Francisco street while speaking with Nicole Schneider of Walk San Francisco about street safety. - COURTESY JAMES FERRARA/WALK SAN FRANCISCO
  • Courtesy James Ferrara/Walk San Francisco
  • SFMTA Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Brinkman, left, walks down a San Francisco street while speaking with Nicole Schneider of Walk San Francisco about street safety.

San Francisco's Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths within a decade is moving beyond the vision stage toward concrete projects.

During The City's second annual Walk to Work Day on Friday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced it plans to implement at least two dozen street engineering projects within two years aimed at improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

The list includes 34 targeted projects citywide -- some with and others without funding secured. According to the SFMTA, the projects were selected to address high-injury corridors identified in The City's data-driven WalkFirst initiative. The projects were also chosen on the criteria of being visible to road users and considered feasible by January 2016.

"We wanted to make sure we gave ourselves a very good pool of projects to pick from" said Seleta Reynolds, a manager in the SFMTA's Livable Streets subdivision. "Our goal is to do 34, or do more than 34, meet and exceed what the [Vision Zero] resolution set up for us."

Already crossed off the list are painted sidewalk extensions at Sixth and Howard streets. The zebra-striped crosswalks, completed in early February when the SFMTA adopted Vision Zero, make pedestrians more visible and their crossing distance shorter.

Within a couple of weeks, retimed signals designed for slower driving speeds are expected to go into effect on Fulton Street. Other projects in the near future include creating crosswalk-style crossbike features for bicyclists at Duboce Avenue and Market and Buchanan streets, and adding a traffic-and-pedestrian signal system at Sixth and Minna streets.

Walk San Francisco Executive Director Nicole Schneider, who issued The City's first report card on pedestrian safety Friday, welcomed the SFMTA's list of projects.

"Engineering is the best thing to prevent collisions from happening," she said. "Of course we need enforcement and education, but engineering has the opportunity to really change behavior in a systematic way."

So far this year, seven pedestrians have been killed in vehicle collisions. Through April 10 of last year, 10 had died, a "relatively close" comparison of incidents, according to police Officer Gordon Shyy.

"Whether the numbers are up or down, we're still committed to the Vision Zero plan, to making sure the streets are a safe place for everyone," he said.

The cost of the entire project list has not been estimated, but individual projects can range from about $20,000 for Fulton Street signal retiming to $350,000 for a new traffic signal system. The next step, Reynolds said, is to determine a detailed schedule for their completion.

"I think there are trade-offs in all of these projects because the idea is that they change the life of the street," she said. "Things can be perceived as positive or negative, but they are in service of safety."

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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