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Posts by: "Jaime Fearer"

This post, by our partners at Walk San Francisco, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So far this year, three people over the age of 70 have already been victims of San Francisco’s unsafe streets. 76-year old Jeannie Yee lost her life in Cow Hollow, 93-year-old Ka Ben Wong was killed in Russian Hill, and 77-year-old Meda Hacopian died near Lake Merced when she was struck by a car.

When seniors make up only 15 percent of San Francisco’s population, yet account for over 40 percent of all traffic deaths, it is time for the City to make its streets safe and accessible for ALL seniors and people with disabilities.

Since seniors are five times more at risk of dying from their injuries as those under 65, it comes as no surprise that the majority of those who are severely hurt or lose their lives are seniors and members of the disability community.

Beginning in 2014 when the City adopted Vision Zero – the goal to end all serious and fatal traffic-related crashes by 2024 – community members have begun to speak up and consistently demand progress towards this life-saving objective. Nonprofit organizations like Senior and Disability ActionChinatown Community Development Center, and Mercy Housing have partnered with Walk San Francisco and the Vision Zero Coalition to challenge legislators and policymakers to experience what it’s like to try to get around local streets every day as a senior or a person with one or more disabilities. At rallies, public hearings, and through organized formal appeals, safe street advocates have repeatedly urged elected leaders and decision makers to engineer streets that prioritize people walking and the safety concerns of the city’s older population.

After 68-year old Priscilla “Precy” Moreto was hit and killed by a tour bus in a crosswalk in front of City Hall, advocates pushed for and won legislation to prohibit tour bus drivers from simultaneously acting as tour guides.

In 2015, after Ai You Zhou, 77, was killed while crossing the intersection of Kearny and Clay streets, Chinatown advocates pushed for and won a “pedestrian scramble,” an engineering solution that stops traffic in all directions while allowing pedestrians to cross in all directions, including diagonally. This simple solution removes all vehicle-pedestrian conflict.

Less than a year later in 2016, Thu Phan, a 38-year-old Department of Labor employee, was killed while she was crossing Market Street in her wheelchair. Following an emotional rally at the site of her death, the Vision Zero Coalition formed a Senior & Disability Workgroup to focus specifically on policies to shape engineering, education, and enforcement efforts to increase the safety of seniors and people with disabilities.

This Workgroup has won key changes including:

  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), walk signals that provide people crossing with a head start, at six intersections along Market Street, including 7th
  • More visible turn restriction signage at Market & 7th Street where Thu was killed
  • A City Administrator’s policy memo that explicitly states that City drivers are NOT exempt from turn restrictions (a key factor in Thu’s death)
  • A new required driver training and education program for ALL City staff that specifically highlights how to drive safely around seniors and people with disabilities

How to Build Safe Streets for Seniors and People with Disabilities
While the senior and disability advocates have won great progress, much work remains to be done. The Workgroup is now actively urging the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to respond to the primary safety challenge faced by seniors in San Francisco — the lack of adequate crossing times at dangerous intersections.

In addition, the group is supporting solutions to address the leading cause of serious and fatal injuries in traffic crashes: speeding, which is responsible for 10 times the number of injuries as drunk driving. Moreover, a senior that is hit by a car driving 40 MPH has only an 8 percent survival rate, compared to 20 percent for the average adult, making speed exponentially more dangerous for seniors and people with disabilities.

Solutions to protect seniors and people with disabilities who are at higher risk from unsafe speeding include concrete bulb-outs and medians, which shorten crosswalk lengths and reduce the time that seniors spend in the street, increase visibility between drivers and pedestrians, and slow down turning vehicles; leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs), which activate the walk signal for pedestrians before vehicles are given the green light signal; and raised crosswalks and intersections, which slow traffic moving through intersections, where most crashes occur.

Cross-posted at Walk San Francisco’s site.

This post, by our partners at Circulate San Diego, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Vision Zero encourages cities to take a data-driven approach to reducing serious injuries and traffic deaths. It is meant to be a catalyst for moving projects forward. However, it is the people who advocate for this initiative that truly build the urgency for action.

The Vision Zero Coalition is a group of advocates that are representatives of organizations throughout San Diego. Together with constituents of their community, they work towards increasing street safety by focusing on moving projects forward that protect pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorist. They also work to inform residents about Vision Zero and to build momentum around critical events that can lead to long-term change, such as the City’s budget approval.

Addressing fatalities means investing in upgrading city streets to incorporate improvements that create a safe space for people who walk, bike, take public transit and drive. The City’s Fiscal Year Budget is an opportunity to fund projects, programs, and prioritize initiatives throughout San Diego. Advocating that the budget reflect funding for projects envisioned by Vision Zero is a key component of assuring that our city is investing in our safety.

Circulate staffer, Paola Boylan, advocating for Vision Zero funding at FY2018 Budget Hearing.

Every year San Diego releases a proposed budget for the following fiscal year and city council members hold a meeting to listen to public opinions about the budget. This offers the public an opportunity to voice their support for both projects that are funded and those that are not. However, deciphering the budget can be intimidating and overwhelming. In order to address this issue, advocates from the Coalition came together to break down the budget components and rally community members.

This year, Circulate San Diego partnered with Bike SD, the Climate Action Campaign, and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition to hold the rally and build support for pedestrian and bicycle improvements. At the gathering, people spoke about the different projects reflected in the budget that needed public support. Attendees were invited to attend the public council budget hearing meeting and were helped with speaking points that could be used to build their own testimonies.

Advocates from various neighborhoods came together at the budget hearing meeting to voice their support for pedestrians and bicycle safety improvement. The City responded by approving funding for several projects listed below.



Implementation of protected bikeways outlined in the Downtown Mobility Plan. $2500000

Funds Allocated

Improvements at 15 of the deadliest intersections to ensure basic, low-cost pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements such as high visibility crosswalks, audible signals, and countdown signals are present at all intersections.

Installed at all intersections identified by the pedestrian audit, not Circulate SD

Phase 2 design of intersection SR94 at Euclid Avenue, one of the eight Vision Zero corridors.

Fully funded

Funding for a Transit Priority Area Parking Assessment

$250,000 allocated

Although these successes are a reflection of the City investing in street improvements, more support can be given to Vision Zero projects. Indicating that more work is ahead for advocates as we work towards building safer streets in our city. However, it is clear that by voicing our support for Vision Zero, we can have an impact.

Cross-posted at Circulate San Diego’s site.

This post, by our partners at Circulate San Diego, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

On May 18, 2017 the task force convened and filled a conference room in the City’s Administration Building to the point that it began to feel cramped. The task force is an advisory committee that meets once a month, comprised of City staff from various departments and advocates, including Circulate San Diego, that advises the Mayor’s Office on how to implement Vision Zero. Together they reviewed and discussed the efforts that are being made by the city to further the goals of Vision Zero. Many were excited to learn about the time and effort that is being placed by our local government to pursue funding that will help further their ability to bring better infrastructure that creates a safer environment for walking and biking in San Diego.

Among the accomplishments discussed at the meeting were several bike and pedestrian projects that are close to completion. Some of the highlights include a new median equipped with a pedestrian refuge and other crosswalk improvements on University Avenue, as well as pedestrian improvements along Orange Avenue between 49th Street & Winona Avenue. These projects were in conception well before Vision Zero; however, the goal of the initiative is to eliminate all traffic fatalities by the year 2025. That means that any project that improves traffic safety is helping accomplish the main objective of Vision Zero.

The Vision Zero strategy is to take a data driven approach to identify where collisions are concentrated in the city and prioritize improvements in the areas where our citizens are most susceptible to crashes. This strategy has been proven to significantly reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries throughout the country, and to encourage the city to look for funding that enables them to implement similar tactics.

One notable example is the University Avenue Complete Streets Project, which happened because analysis spurred by Circulate San Diego’s Vision Zero Reportshowed that it was one of the most dangerous road segments in the city. The project will redesign a portion of University Avenue from Fairmont to Euclid with roundabouts, bike lanes, and extended sidewalks, and was just awarded a $5,400,000 Caltrans grant. More projects like this are critical to ensuring Vision Zero is successful.

The task force learned in May that the city has received a $250,000 grant from the Systematic Safety Analyses Report Program that will be used to conduct a thorough crash analysis in the City of San Diego. The report will ideally facilitate guidance in identifying problem areas, strengthen the city’s ability to pursue funding for improvement projects, and appropriately allocate funds to the areas that are in most need.

The San Diego Vision Zero Task Force has grown significantly since the adoption of the initiative in 2015. Circulate San Diego appreciates that the City of San Diego has embraced Vision Zero and we look forward to working with them as partners to help advance more successful projects like the University Avenue Complete Streets projects.

Cross-posted at Circulate San Diego’s site.

This post, by our partners at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

At Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, we’ve known for a long time that most people feel most comfortable riding bikes on trails. And what’s not to like? Trails are dedicated spaces for walking and biking, rarely have intersections, virtually eliminate the risk of colliding with a car, and are usually picturesque. We know you love trails, and we do too.

But when it comes to biking for transportation, trails have their downsides, too. They’re usually the jurisdiction of parks departments, which means they often close after dark. Many of our local trails are on or near riparian corridors (next to creeks or streams) with sensitive habitats, so they’re also not lighted at night. And the same separation from the roadway network that makes them feel so safe also means trails can be less direct routes when we’re trying to get to work, shopping, school, or dining. All this poses the question: How can we preserve the safety and comfort people experience on a trail when we integrate bike facilities into our cities’ street networks?

The answer is the protected bike lane, also known as a cycle track or Class IV bikeway. These types of bike lanes are located on a street, like a traditional bike lane, but utilize a physical barrier to increase both comfort and safety for bicyclists. The physical barrier can consist of flexible or rigid bollards, a raised curb, planters, or parked cars. Often, these barriers also provide a traffic calming effect to a street.

Because of the added elements, the cost of protected bike lanes is higher than traditional facilities. But the impact on ridership numbers and safety is impressive. In Oakland, Telegraph Avenue saw a 78% increase in people biking after protected bike lanes were installed. Meanwhile, overall collisions on the corridor decreased 40%. On the other side of the country, New York City’s protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56% reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57% reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29% reduction in injuries to people walking. The benefits extend to pedestrians as well: New York’s 9th Avenue project led to an 84% reduction in sidewalk riding.

In San José, bike lanes and sharrows are being added at a whirlwind pace. The City installed 26 miles of new bikeways in 2016 and is projected to install approximately 81 miles of bikeways in 2017. But ridership is not keeping pace; San José’s mode share, the number of work commute trips taken by bike, is stuck at a frustratingly low 1.2%.

We know from surveys and anecdotal evidence that there is a large portion of the population that would like to ride a bike more often, and for greater distances, but they are afraid of getting hit by a car. Even with wide painted buffers, as used on many bike lanes in downtown San José, people can’t shake their unease about riding, unprotected, next to fast-moving traffic. Clearly, if we’re going to get more people riding bikes safely, protected lanes are the next step for San José’s growing bikeway network.

The City agrees with our assessment, and has begun work to make the vision of protected bike lanes a reality. With support from The Knight Foundation, San José’s Department of Transportation (DOT) recently welcomed a contingent from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to begin a round of technical assistance that will ultimately result in a toolkit of best practices from around the country, a proposal for a protected bike lane network, and conceptual plans for one or more new downtown protected lanes.

SVBC is actively involved with this process. We participated in the first NACTO visit, in April, and are working with that group to plan an August follow-up trip, which will also involve experts from other American cities that have begun implementing protected bike lane networks. Through our work with California Walks on the Focus Cities project, we’ll be putting together a bike tour that will feature a pop-up protected bike lane to introduce the experience to residents and policy makers.

If you share our vision that protected bike lanes are the future of pedal-powered transportation in San Jose, join the mailing list for this effort below!

Sign up to learn more about San José protected bike lanes.

Cross-posted at Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s site.

This post, by our partners at Walk San Francisco, has been made possible by the grant-funded Focus Cities California program, a joint project of UC Berkeley SafeTREC and California Walks, which supports increased safety in walking and biking.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Folsom and Howard are currently two of the streets on the city’s high-injury network (the 12% of San Francisco’s streets that account for over 70% of all crashes). If you don’t already know what a high-injury corridor is, learn more here.

Earlier this year, a 58 year-old man was hit and seriously injured on Folsom, adding another victim to at least 308 other people who have been hit and hurt on these streets since 2011. Moreover, three people have lost their lives on these dangerous, fast, one-way streets, including 44 year-old Melissa Kitson who was walking on Howard, 26 year-old Katherine Slattery who was bicycling, and 24 year-old Amelie Le Moullac, who was killed on Folsom while riding her bicycle.

On Folsom and Howard, 89% of pedestrian and bike collisions with motorists were at intersections and 59% of collisions were caused by unsafe motorist behavior such as running red lights, speeding, and encroaching on pedestrian right-of-way.

Data tell us both where AND why crashes happen on Folsom and Howard.

Armed with this analysis, crashes are no longer ‘accidents’ — they are predictable and preventable!

As part of the broader Vision Zero effort to end all traffic deaths by 2024, Walk SF is leading a campaign to transform Folsom and Howard (from 2nd to 11th) into safe, walkable, bike and transit-friendly streets  — and YOU can be part of it!

If it gets community support from members like you before it goes to final design in 2018, the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project could be a great win for SoMa. Your voice can make these streets safe and greener for everyone, who lives, works, or travels on these streets, including the students at Bessie Carmichael Elementary and Middle schools.

If you don’t already know about the project, download the Folsom Howard Streetscape Project fact sheet, or refer to the project boards from April’s Open Houses.

How to Build Neighborhood-Friendly Streets
To redesign this pair of fast, one-way freeway feeders tell the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to include ALL of the following improvements:

  • Reduce four lanes of traffic to two (instead of three) and narrow traffic lanes from 11 ft to 10 ft to reduce speeding
  • Make intersections safe for people walking with head start signals, pedestrian scrambles (where people can cross in all directions at once), corner bulb-outs or “daylighting” at corners with painted safety zones, and highly-visible painted crosswalks
  • Widen sidewalks and add street amenities like benches, people-scaled lighting, and trees and gardens to make walking more pleasant, and add decorative paving, public art and plazas to create a sense of neighborhood and promote community
  • Build raised crosswalks/intersections to promote yielding by slowing traffic and signalized mid-block crossings to make it easy to travel by foot
  • Add strong safety treatments around Bessie Carmichael School at 7th and Howard, near family housing at 6th and Howard and 7th and Howard, by The Arc Community Center at 11th and Howard, close to the SoMa Family Resource Center at Mabini and Folsom, as well as between the Moscone Center and the Yerba Bunea Center for the Arts, which should have a pedestrian scramble
  • Prioritize transit and bicycling access to reduce traffic congestion with Transit-only lanes and boarding islands, and incorporate parking-protected bicycle lanes to significantly improve safety
For the latest Folsom-Howard Streetscape project news and events, sign up today.
Questions or comments? Contact Neighborhood Organizer Josie Ahrens.

Cross-posted at Walk San Francisco’s site.