Are You Worried About Pedestrian Safety? Go to This Forum.

Categories: Pedestrians

Watch out!
Ever since the invention of cars in the early 20th century, automobiles have victimized pedestrians. In fact, in the 1920s, newspapers began publishing cartoons portraying cars as 'the "modern moloch" -- an Ammonite God in ancient Palestine to whom people sacrificed their children. Well, the modern-day moloch has returned to San Francisco, where pedestrian deaths have reached a new high.

The FDR Democratic Club of San Francisco, an organization that supports seniors and people with disabilities, has said enough is enough -- it's time for pedestrians to take a stand.

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., the FDR Democratic Club of San Francisco will host a forum on pedestrian safety for seniors and people with disabilities at the First Congregational Church of San Francisco. Jonathon Lyens, the president of the Club, says that pedestrian fatalities are "disproportionately affecting seniors and people with disabilities."

The goal is to get everyone together to brainstorm more solutions to the seemingly never-ending spate of pedestrian collisions. In the last two months, five pedestrians were killed in car v. pedestrian collisions; last year, 21 pedestrians were killed.

This summer, city supervisors will vote on a $17 million budget proposal for pedestrian safety over five years. Lyens says that he hopes the forum will let the Board of Supervisors better identify the "priorities of the community" and give pedestrians the voice to say how they'd like that money spent.

Already, members of the group have raised concerns about the timing of stoplights and the brevity of walk signs. Some pedestrians have complained about potholes in the middle of crosswalks and uncontrolled intersections. For instance, Lyens says, in his Richmond District neighborhood there are no stop signs at the intersection of Geary and 22nd Avenue -- a major thoroughfare for both cars and pedestrians. To make matter worse, the proposed Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit will reduce the amount of bus stops, forcing pedestrians to walk further to get to bus stops.

Lyens says the forum -- and all that comes out of it -- will compliment Vision Zero, a city proposal that calls for reducing pedestrian fatalities to zero within 10 years. Supervisor Jane Kim, supported by the community, rolled out this plan last month, asking for a slew of demands to achieve this goal. They included more cops, more citations, prioritize pedestrian projects, and force drivers education on commercial drivers in San Francisco, including taxi drivers.

So if you are interested in pedestrian safety -- or just worried you will get hit by a car -- head down to this forum and speak your mind.

My Voice Nation Help

Vision Zero insinuates that drivers are always at fault in pedestrian / vehicle accidents. This is false. Of the 21 fatal pedestrian accidents in 2013, police determined that 14 were the driver's fault and that seven were the result of the pedestrian's behavior.
Walk SF and the Bicycle Coalition ALWAYS neglect to mention the number of pedestrians who were hit because they were walking while distracted, or ignoring the traffic laws.

 You don't need to install another ill conceived bureaucracy to address the vehicle-pedestrian situation, but you can start with simple low cost changes.

1. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition ignorantly and blindly promotes more bike fatalities by encouraging more bike lanes and increasing ridership. Then City Hall and the SFMTA promotes more residents to ride a bike in SF without requiring them to take safety training and the rules of the road? I have no problem with promoting more bike riding in SF WITH the condition riders be required to take mandatory safety and training courses. Why must a commercial truck driver take mandatory training when the vast majority of bicycle riders have not taken any safety training themselves?

2. The city brought thousands of pedestrians into downtown, then allowed them to jaywalk at will, often with their heads buried in their latest mobile devices. Pedestrian advocates like Walk SF should be lobbying City Hall to to treat everyone committing offenses equally.

3. City Hall says that they want to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on our City streets but you are providing way free WIFI on Market Street so that people will be more distracted by their cellphones? How does providing free WIFI on Market work with San Francisco's Vision Zero policy to eliminate pedestrian and bicycle related traffic deaths? Do we really need to have more people watching videos and checking their email when they should be looking both ways as they cross streets and exit public transit vehicles.

4. The city needs to reconsider building a 20,000 seat arena at the foot of Market Street that will add to an already over-congested area with poor traffic flow plans to avoid the area and the foolish idea of razing the 280 downtown extension.

5. The proposed infrastructure improvements that The Bicycle Coalition and Walk SF are suggesting should be thoroughly vetted and scrutinized before being included in large funding programs. All of these "advocacy organizations" who derive their incomes from donations, government grants, and the SFMTA Budget also need to register with the city as *lobbying organizations* so that Taxpayers know what their true motives are.

City officials want to push $3 BILLION in taxes, fees and bonds before voters in 2014. We are encouraging city motorists to stop contributing to an anti-car Transit Agency that uses city motorists like an ATM machine. Remember this the next time the city of San Francisco requests more bonds to improve your driving experience. VOTE NO! If you drive a car, VOTE NO on any more funds for MUNI or the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA). Regardless of what they promise, the funds will be used against you to enforce the MTA's predatory anti-car policies.

The next time you elect a Mayor, or a City Supervisor VOTE NO if they start parroting 'transit first" as an excuse to bleed your wallet. If your city Supervisor wants you to give up the safety of your family car to ride a bicycle on busy city streets then VOTE THEM OUT!

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