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Pedestrian Safety: Walk San Francisco's Letter to Members

One of the biggest public safety issues in Rincon Hill is the current streetscape that consists of wide, multi-lane roads, blind spots due to street parking, and long, uninterrupted blocks that allow drivers to speed excessively – not to mention their habits of using cell phones and text messaging devices while rounding corners to head to the Bay Bridge ramps. There is a Rincon Hill Streetscape plan, and with your involvement in our neighborhood association (quick plug: next meeting February 11th, 6pm, at One Rincon Hill Sales Center, 511 Harrison) we will motivate City Hall to implement it sooner rather than later.

In the meanwhile, we can help advocate for safer pedestrian conditions for all San Franciscans by supporting Walk San Francisco. Here’s a Letter to Members from Walk San Francisco’s Board that I want to share with my neighbors in Rincon Hill:

Dear WalkSF Supporter:

First, we want to wish everyone a happy and joyous 2008.

2007 was a bad year for pedestrians in San Francisco. When I
first started to write this email to you prior to the
holidays, there had been 27 pedestrian deaths during the year,
twice the number as 2006. However, since that time there were
3 pedestrian deaths in the week of Christmas, bringing the
total this year to 30. The streets are only getting more and
more dangerous, further evidenced by the recent spat of MUNI-
pedestrian collisions this year.

We have an ambitious year ahead of us to make our streets
safer. The Better Streets Plan winds up with a final document
expected within the next few months. We have been engaged in
the process and will continue to advocate for pedestrian-
friendly policies. The Better Streets Plan is a document that
will define how pedestrian friendly our streets will be for
the next 20 years and it is vital that it be a good model.

We also have the 5-year Prop K funding plan up for renewal
this year. Prop K is a half-cent sales tax that was approved
by voters in 2003 which provides one of the few sources of
local money for pedestrian improvements. We need to ensure
that funding is made available to the projects that will
impact pedestrian safety the most.

Walk San Francisco is also actively working with neighbors in
3 separate areas of the city to make pedestrian safety
improvements. These corridors include: 19th Avenue, the
Tenderloin and SOMA. All 3 areas share a common theme – fast
moving traffic of folks who don’t live in the area, but are
merely passing through to get somewhere else. On 19th Ave,
It’s folks wanting to go from Marin to San Mateo; in SOMA it’s
people getting on to and off the highway, and the Tenderloin
gets commuters heading downtown on its dangerous one-way
streets. Lost in the shuffle are the residents of those areas
that have to deal with high rates of pedestrian injuries and
deaths.

Moving forward, we have also set a goal to hire a full time
Executive Director before the end of the year. Clearly, there
are way too many issues and priorities that need the attention
of full-time staff rather than volunteers. Of course, that is
going to take money. To that end, I am pleased to inform you
that David Baker + Partners has generously agreed to hold its
annual party to benefit Walk San Francisco. Last year, this
party raised close to $10,000 for another non-profit and we
hope to duplicate that success. Mark Friday evening, April
18th, on your calendars and stay tuned for more details.

As always, we are floored by our members. One such member is
Leslie Veen. Leslie lives in the Lower Haight and works at a
seminary. Leslie was hit by a car a few years ago.
Fortunately, she only suffered some broken bones. Over
Thanksgiving, she came into some money and donated $1000 to
Walk San Francisco to help our efforts to make our streets
safer.

Over the next few weeks, we will detail some of the things
that we are doing this year to grow the organization as well
as make our streets safer for everyone as well as ways that
you can get involved.

In the mean time, if you are not a WalkSF member, please
Consider joining. You can do so online with a credit card, by
clicking here:

http://www.walksf.org/paybycreditcard.html

All the best in 2008.

Regards,

The Walk San Francisco Board


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