Scroll to the bottom of this post for updates.
Mayor Ed Lee announced today 57 new "high priority" Vision Zero projects in an effort to address some of the most dangerous stretches of San Francisco streets. This announcement comes just over a week after two cyclists were killed by hit-and-run drivers, and perhaps can be seen as the mayor's response to critics who have faulted him for a perceived lack of action toward meeting Vision Zero's goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024.
According to the Vision Zero map embedded below, at least one of the projects is set to take place at 7th and Howard — the intersection where Kate Slattery was killed after a driver ran a red light and crashed into her.
“Any traffic death or injury is not acceptable, they are preventable,” said Mayor Lee in a press release earlier today. “This is a real public health issue. We are working quickly to build safer, better streets, educate the public about traffic safety and increase enforcement to make our streets safe for everyone — whether they are walking, biking, driving or taking transit.”
The work is set to include 43 capital construction projects, and 14 "non-construction initiatives" that include increased enforcement and education efforts. "Notable projects in the new list include a policy initiative to advance an Automated Speed Enforcement bill in the State Legislature, major streetscape construction projects on Van Ness Avenue, Polk Street, 2nd Street, and Masonic Avenue, and a new anti-speeding education and enforcement campaign," the release explains.
And the upgrades can't come soon enough. Earlier today, shortly before the Vision Zero announcement was made, a traffic enforcement officer was struck by a driver on 8th and Bryant. "Our thoughts remain with the traffic patrol officer who sustained minor injuries while on duty," said Lee. "We wish her well for a speedy recovery."
"This is not acceptable behavior," he continued. "I am livid by the carelessness of the alleged driver who hit our City employee, and we will hold them fully accountable [for] their criminal actions."
Lee is not the only one with the goal of holding criminal drivers accountable. Following a widely viewed video of a motorcyclist smacking a cyclist in the bike lane, SF Weekly reports that District Attorney George Gascón is willing to prosecute the man on the motorcycle. "[When] a case is presented to my office with sufficient evidence we will take action," he tweeted out.
Hopefully everyone, city employees included, will get the message. Either way, these newly announced projects are a much needed step toward reaching the Vision Zero goal.
Update: The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has taken issue with the Mayor's announced claim of "57 new projects," saying that the projects aren't new at all.
"Not a single one of the projects specified in the Mayor's release is new," writes Chris Cassidy, the Bike Coalition communications director, in an email to SFist. "It appears to be a clumsy attempt by his office to make continued inaction following the deaths of two people biking look like something else. Many of the projects, of which I'm happy to send you the complete list, are long-delayed, in fact, and some are already built."
"I've confirmed this with my Advocacy team and off record with City staff who would know," added Cassidy. "Our Executive Director called this out at today's, Vision Zero hearing and Supervisor Kim also condemned the inaccurate release."
Second Update: At least one city official is backtracking this morning on the claim that the projects announced yesterday are, in fact, "new." On KQED this morning, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin admitted that calling them "new" could be considered "problematic."
"This list that we released yesterday, I take full responsibility if the word new is problematic," said Reiskin, as tweeted out by the Bicycle Coalition. "If my use of the word 'new' is problematic, my bad," he then added.