A stroll through the bustling Mission this morning revealed some scary scenes. A pedestrian texted while crossing at Valencia and 24th streets, oblivious to the cars turning in his direction. A few places north, a bicyclist brazenly weaved in and out of traffic. Over on Mission and 19th, a car sped up, barely make it through the red light, thereby endangering a mother pushing a baby stroller.
These scenes are played out daily in tightly packed San Francisco, with a population density of 17,246.4 per square mile according to the 2013 American Census Survey (second only to New York City). San Francisco is definitely a city where one needs to be careful when heading from Point A to Point B, whether on foot or on wheels.
The numbers are stark: 800 pedestrians were struck by cars in San Francisco last year, with 21 suffering fatal injuries. This is one of the worst records in the nation.
Starting the year off on the wrong note, six-year-old Sophia Liu was fatally run down in a crosswalk at Polk and Ellis streets in the Tenderloin. Her mother and four-year-old brother survived their physical injuries, but were left to deal with the emotional pain of a young girl’s life cut short.
Then there was the case of Priscilla Moreto in late October. The 68-year-old employee of the City Controller’s office was run down by a tour bus in a clearly delineated crosswalk on Polk Street, just outside the steps leading to City Hall. Ironically, city officials had held an event nearby just moments earlier, touting safety upgrades in the Civic Center.
To combat this problem, MEDA/Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) just received funding, through the San Francisco Department of Public Health, to conduct outreach on pedestrian safety.
The first step will be a grassroots Mission District education campaign done via the MPN’s promotoras/es, community outreach workers.
The goal is to obtain 500 safety pledges by the end of March, as follows:
- I pledge to slow down and look around, especially at intersections
- I pledge to know the rules of the road (e.g., pedestrians have the right of way)
- I pledge to be alert when traveling on city streets
- I pledge to share this pledge with family and friends
States Avni Desai, MPN Community Health and Safety Program Manager, “Education is a step in the right direction. Our aim is to start a downward trend in pedestrian injuries and deaths in San Francisco. Now is the time to start.”
Please help the community and take the pledge today.