San Francisco groups campaign
for improved pedestrian safety
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
March 16, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - In the aftermath of several recent
traffic fatalities, pedestrian safety advocates are asking the
city of San Francisco to invest more money in making streets safer
for walkers and bicyclists.
Twelve pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in vehicle accidents
in San Francisco in the last three months, according to Walk San
Francisco. The group is asking the city to use $25 million from
this year's budget surplus to improve safety for those on foot
and on bicycles.
Another organization, the Chinatown Community Development Center,
will hold a news conference Friday morning to present Supervisor
Aaron Peskin with petitions requesting that a traffic signal be
installed at Filbert and Mason streets, where 76-year old Joyce
Lam was struck by a cable car on Jan. 21. She later died.
Three of the 12 recent deaths involved San Francisco Municipal
Railway vehicles, according to Walk San Francisco.
The executive director of Walk San Francisco, Emily Drennen,
would like to see the city spend money on capital improvements
to the city streets, such as installing pedestrian countdown signals
and curb ramps, as well as increasing traffic enforcement.
Walk San Francisco would also like to see $10 million added to
the Municipal Transportation Agency's 2006-07 budget to improve
The city should "just fix the streets once and for all,"
Drennen said, rather than risk losing money in lawsuits.
"Let's spend that money preventatively,'' Drennen said.
San Francisco's most recent pedestrian traffic death was that
of 89 year-old Chuck-Kee Lau, who was hit on Tuesday by a tour
bus owned by Cable Car Charters.
San Francisco resident Ashlyn Dyer, 27, died this week after
being struck in a hit-and-run collision while jogging in the Presidio
of San Francisco on March 2.
The Presidio is on federal land. The city and the Presidio Parks
Trust are jointly offering a $20,000 reward for information that
leads to the closure of the investigation into the crash that
The Chinatown Community Development Center rallied around the
cause of pedestrian safety after Lam's death. Pedestrian safety
is important everywhere, the Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown
Community Development Center said today, but he believes "cable
cars have a unique problem'' because they must proceed quickly
through turns. His group wants the Municipal Transportation Agency
to study the Powell Street cable car line in particular, he said,
looking at each intersection along it.
Many of San Francisco's Chinatown residents are older, Fong said,
and the neighborhood is crowded, further complicating pedestrian
safety in the area.
"Everyone loves the cable cars,'' Fong added.
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