Advocates Remember Those Lost, Urge Action

shoes of traffic violence victims

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There were 187 pairs of shoes on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Sunday afternoon, each representing a person killed in a collision on the city’s streets since 2014. The shoes were put there as part of the “World Day of Remembrance,” a global event to mark the 1.35 million people killed every year by traffic violence.

“Look at all these shoes. Each pair represents a life that was needlessly lost. Each of these deaths left a wake of pain and devastation for their loved ones that continues today,” said Walk San Francisco’s Jodie Medeiros, about Sunday’s ceremony. Walk San Francisco and Bay Area Families for Safe Streets organized the event in San Francisco to urge the SFMTA and the city’s elected representatives to redouble efforts to reduce traffic violence.

Photo: Walk SF
Photo: Walk SF

“City leaders have the power to slow our streets and save lives,” she added. As a first step, her organization is asking for the immediate implementation of “…proposed 25 mph ‘Senior Zones’ on Bush, Sunnydale, Geary, 19th Avenue, and Thomas More Way.”

This year there were no long speeches, part of COVID efforts to limit the size of the crowd. Instead, there was a somber reading of the names of all the victims in San Francisco to a small, socially distanced crowd of families and loved ones.

In a follow-up, advocates reminded lawmakers and bureaucrats what’s at stake when they prioritize motoring interests, such as maintaining street parking, over safety. As a result, obvious solutions are often ignored. For example, “…if we slow our streets, we will immediately save lives. It’s that simple,” wrote Medeiros in an email to Streetsblog.

slower-streets-mean-safer-streets

Medeiros and other advocates urge people to email SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin to ask him to take the following actions and to slow streets in 2021. From Walk San Francisco’s web page:

  • Use all existing authority to lower speed limits on high-injury streets. We need the proposed 25 MPH “Senior Zones” on Bush, Sunnydale, Geary, 19th Avenue, and Thomas More Way to become a reality!
  • Launch a comprehensive, data-driven speed management program as part of the upcoming Vision Zero Action Strategy. We need to know where speeds are the biggest problem, what’s proven the most effective in slowing speeds, and how the range of existing efforts (everything from speed humps to Slow Streets) complement each other (and where the gaps are!).
  • Dramatically expand ‘left turn calming’. This powerful (and affordable) tool to slow vehicles and better protect pedestrians in the crosswalk can’t wait years to become widespread on our streets.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, which acknowledges traffic violence as an international health crisis, marked the “World Day of Remembrance” with this powerful tweet and embedded video:

For more, see Streetsblogs’ past coverage of the “Day of Remembrance,” both in San Francisco and elsewhere. And for more on this year’s event, see coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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