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Advocates Demand Leadership from Mayor Lee on Vision Zero

The intersection where James Samiere was killed last week. Image: Google Street View

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

One week ago, on Oct. 31, San Francisco saw its 16th victim of road violence this year--47-year-old James Samiere was struck and killed while crossing the intersection in the image above, at Sloat Boulevard and 36th.

Last year, when two cyclists were killed in separate incidents on the same night, advocates demanded action from the Mayor's office. As a result, protected bike lanes were installed on 7th and 8th in the South of Market neighborhood and upgrades were made on 13th. Now Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition are again asking the Mayor to intervene, through an open letter and 'call to action' of their members.

Essentially, the advocates are pressing the city to adopt the Dutch concept of a "black spot" policy--meaning when someone is killed at an intersection, safety improvements must be made immediately. They're also asking the Mayor to actively settle project-delaying disputes between city agencies.

Streetsblog urges its readers to sign the petition that goes with the letter, via the SFBC's web form.

Here is the text below:


Dear Mayor Lee,

On Oct. 31, the 11th pedestrian was killed in San Francisco this year. While the City has made much progress since adopting Vision Zero in 2014 –– including through your August 2016 Executive Directive –– too many lives continue to be lost on streets that we know are dangerous amid unacceptable delays.

The latest person killed was walking at 36th Avenue on Sloat Boulevard, a multilane, high-speed street known to be dangerous. For years, the community, the City, and the State have been planning improvements to Sloat. But as on many other dangerous streets in San Francisco, improvements have not come quickly enough, and a man has just paid the ultimate price as a result.

He is not the only one. While the City has delayed the Outer Mission Muni Forward Project for over two years, Qiu Liang was killed crossing Mission at Ney. Plans for improvements to Alemany Boulevard have been discussed for years, but nothing was done in time to save the life of Moises Chavez, who was killed riding his bike on this dangerous corridor at the intersection with Silver Avenue. David Grinberg, a 90-year-old who loved walking in the Panhandle, was recently killed at Baker on Fell Street –– a high-injury corridor set for improvements. Tragically, the list goes on.

Project after project on high-injury corridors have been delayed, and too many lives have been lost during this negligent inaction. Those delays result from the failure of agencies under the management of the Mayor to collaborate with one another. The people of San Francisco urgently need City leadership to progress San Francisco towards our Vision Zero goals, including:

    1. We call on the Mayor’s office to deliver comprehensive safety improvements at the site of every single fatality from traffic violence in San Francisco this year; and
    2. The power of the Mayor’s Office should be deployed to settle disputes between City agencies and insist on progress to end delays for safety improvement projects, including but not limited to the 11th Street Improvement Project, the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project, the Townsend Corridor Improvement Project and the Upper Market Street Safety Project.

In addition to moving forward the above transformative capital projects, we call for proactive, near-term fixes on a series of high-injury corridors across our city in the next 12 months. The safety of walking and biking can and must be improved at Sixth Street, 11th Street, the Embarcadero, Fell and Oak streets, Folsom and Howard streets, Townsend Street, and Upper Market Street.

On behalf of our members, further delays by City agencies are not acceptable. Together, Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition are asking you to demonstrate leadership in fixing the broken system that is allowing vital safety improvements to flounder year after year.

We demand immediate action before more lives are lost.


Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director
Walk San Francisco

Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Click here to sign the petition.


On a related note, SFMTA and Public Works are holding an open house about redesigning the intersection of Sloat and Skyline from 5-7 p.m. tonight, Java Beach Café, 2650 Sloat Blvd., S.F.

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