Press Release

Mayor Newsom Signs Pedestrian Safety Executive Directive

Executive Directive Sets Ambitious Targets to Reduce Pedestrian Casualties, Directs Departments to Implement Specific Recommendations

12/20/10- Mayor Gavin Newsom today signed an Executive Directive to both implement short-term priority pedestrian safety actions and to create and implement a longer-term Pedestrian Action Plan to make it safer to walk in San Francisco. The Executive Directive creates targets for the reduction of serious and fatal pedestrian injuries and creates a citywide target of a 25% reduction in serious and fatal pedestrian injuries by 2016 and 50% reduction by 2021. These injury prevention goals should be linked with a complementary citywide goal of increasing walking as a share of trips in the City.

“San Francisco is one of the nation’s most walkable cities, but serious and fatal pedestrian injuries are still too common,” said Mayor Newsom. “This Executive Directive provides a two-prong strategy that includes both short-term steps we can take now to improve pedestrian safety, as well as creating a Pedestrian Safety Task Force that will look at overall long term goals. I would like to thank the staff and directors at the SFMTA, WalkSF and the Department of Public Health for their efforts to develop this comprehensive Executive Directive.”

“This is an important step forward for pedestrians in San Francisco,” said SFMTA Director Cheryl Brinkman. “I’m grateful the Mayor has elevated this issue and instructed City staff to work together on this Pedestrian Action Plan. Only by coordinating between traffic planning, public awareness and infrastructure improvements can we truly address the very real problem of pedestrian fatalities on our City streets.”

San Franciscans experience about 800 pedestrian injures and 22 fatalities every year. Approximately half of traffic collision fatalities are experienced by people walking. The risk of a fatality per walking trip is currently higher than per motor vehicle trip both in San Francisco and nationwide. Seniors and children are particularly vulnerable to severe pedestrian injury. For instance, in 2004-2008 seniors experienced 42% of pedestrian fatalities, but made up only 15% of the San Francisco population. Further, preventing pedestrian injuries will save not only lives, but also taxpayer funds. In 2008, $15 million was spent treating pedestrian injuries at San Francisco General Hospital, 45% of which was charged to Medical and Medicare. Motor vehicle violations such as the failure of drivers to yield to people walking in intersections are also significant contributing factors to pedestrian injury in San Francisco.

This Executive Directive creates the Pedestrian Safety Task Force to coordinate and implement short-term pedestrian safety actions and designates the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and the Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Sustainable Streets Division as the lead agencies coordinating this effort.

Within 12 months, the Pedestrian Safety Task Force will start the creation of a Citywide Pedestrian Action Plan, establishing additional short, medium and long term goals for promoting walking and pedestrian safety in all San Francisco neighborhoods. Working with the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) as the community advisory body charged with providing input to the Plan, the Pedestrian Safety Task Force will summarize San Francisco pedestrian safety programs, policies, initiatives, assessment tools, and research, and create a central repository for data and tools. The Pedestrian Safety Task Force will analyze current City investments and identify future funds in pedestrian safety countermeasures and pedestrian infrastructure and make recommendations to increase and better use investments to achieve the goals of the Pedestrian Action Plan.