Mayor Lee Activates New Pedestrian Safety Measures on Sixth Street
Vision Zero Improvements Include Traffic Signal, Painted Safety Zones & Focused Enforcement on High-Injury Corridor in South of Market Neighborhood
Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined by District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) activated a new traffic signal at Sixth and Minna Streets and highlighted the installation of eight newly-painted safety zones at various Sixth Street intersections in the South of Market neighborhood. The new design measures will also be accompanied by increased SFPD traffic enforcement on Sixth Street as part of the City’s new educational campaign Safe Streets SF, which is aimed at helping all road users understand how to use San Francisco’s streets in a safer manner.
In the past seven years, the City has observed more than 50 pedestrian injuries and two pedestrian fatalities on Sixth Street between Market and Howard streets alone. On average, approximately 100 people are severely injured or killed while walking in San Francisco each year.
“These tragic statistics are simply unacceptable, and we are working towards our new Vision Zero goal: zero traffic fatalities in the next 10 years,” said Mayor Lee. “Building safer, better streets is a critical part in saving lives. Tomorrow, San Francisco voters have the opportunity to approve a $500 million transportation bond that will provide critical infrastructure improvements, including $142 million dedicated to making our streets safer for everyone.”
“This is more than a Vision Zero commitment, it is a testament to the power of neighborhood advocacy,” said Supervisor Kim. “Our families and seniors on Sixth Street know that mid-block crossings, turn restrictions and sidewalk bulbouts can actually save lives. This is just the beginning of the long-term safety improvements the City is committed to implementing along Sixth Street, which has the number one and three highest collision intersections in San Francisco.”
The Sixth Street corridor has some of the highest rates of pedestrian collisions in San Francisco, with the mid-block crossing at Sixth and Minna Streets being a major concern for the community as vehicles would often fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. One of the City’s Vision Zero projects, the new signal installed at Sixth and Minna Streets now provides a safer, more comfortable experience for people crossing the intersection. The signal, which is activated by a push-button for pedestrians, is complimented by more visible continental crosswalk paint, pedestrian countdown signals, and accessible pedestrian signals which will be installed in January 2015.
The high-injury Sixth Street intersections at Market, Mission, and Howard Streets are also the site of eight newly painted and upsized safety zones. The painted safety zones are temporary measures that shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians, increase their visibility and better guide turning vehicles. Originally installed in November 2013, the SFMTA expanded the size of the painted safety zones to wrap around key corners onto side streets and further increased visibility of the measures by installing new plastic posts and durable “StreetBond” paint.
“The SFMTA has undertaken a comprehensive analysis to understand not only where and why people are being injured or killed while walking, but what we can do to prevent these collisions from happening,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “We know that just six percent of our City streets account for 60 percent of severe and fatal pedestrian injuries, and we are implementing proven safety measures at these high-injury locations, such as the new traffic signal and painted safety zones on Sixth Street.”
The SFMTA also recently launched a comprehensive education and high-visibility enforcement campaign in support of pedestrian safety. Safe Streets SF is a new campaign with Muni and radio ads aimed at helping all road users understands how to use San Francisco’s streets in a safer manner. A social media campaign has also been launched over Facebook and Twitter and the San Francisco Police Department will be increasing traffic enforcement on high-injury corridors, including Sixth, Kearny, and Mission Streets and Geary Boulevard.
Total project cost for the traffic signal system was approximately $300,000 and funded by Proposition K local sales tax dollars provided by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. Installation of the painted safety zones cost approximately $60,000 and was funded by add-back dollars from the offices of Mayor Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim. The Safe Streets SF initiative cost approximately $850,000 and is the beginning of a broader suite of educational campaigns in support of Vision Zero.