Mayor Ed Lee yesterday issued an executive directive designed to both spur safety improvements to the city's streets and increase the speed at which San Francisco meets its Vision Zero goal. KQED reports that the announcement was met with guarded approval by the Bicycle Coalition — the same of which could not be said for previous mayoral actions.
"The one thing that stands out to me about this directive is its breadth, SF Bicycle Coalition Communications Director Chris Cassidy told SFist. "We're looking at considerable safety improvements not just at the sites of two fatalities on June 22, but across San Francisco. This may be the strongest demonstration of Mayor Lee's commitment to safe streets that we've seen during his tenure in office."
Cassidy, of course, is referring to the deaths of 41-year-old Heather Miller and 26-year-old Kate Slattery — both killed by hit-and-run drivers while riding their bikes. These deaths were obviously on the mind of Lee as well.
“Recently, we have had tragedies on our streets as a result of criminal behavior on behalf of motorists,” said Mayor Lee in a press release announcing the directive. “While we cannot control the criminal behavior of a few, we can make our streets safer through engineering, education and enforcement. I am directing City departments to accelerate our Vision Zero goal immediately.”
According to the release, the directive takes effect immediately and includes:
- SFMTA to deliver near-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months;
- The SF Recreation and Parks Department (SF Rec and Park) and SFMTA to deliver near-term safety improvements to reduce speeds and vehicular through traffic on JFK Drive in the next six months;
- The SF Rec and Park and the SFMTA to initiate study of expanded traffic calming and traffic restrictions in Golden Gate Park within the next three months;
- Commit to continue advocacy to win Automated Speed Enforcement legislation at the state level.
- The San Francisco Police Department to meet its Focus on the Five goals and continue quarterly public reports and presentations at the Police Commission;
- The SFMTA to begin implementing a comprehensive Vision Zero awareness campaign within the next 30 days to ensure the widespread public knowledge and significant increased awareness of Vision Zero;
- Implement proven safety features on the City fleet and contracted vehicles, including the installation of telematics on all authorized City vehicles by January 2017.
- City departments will be responsible to track and report progress on the above actions, with reports to be submitted quarterly to the Mayor’s office through the SFMTA. They will be shared publicly at regular meetings of the Vision Zero Task Force, SFMTA Board of Directors, and SF County Transportation Authority’s Vision Zero Committee meetings.
And while the new commitment to safety is to be lauded, Cassidy reminds us pressure needs to be kept up if the mayor and city officials are going to deliver.
"It's important to realize that, while this is a substantial commitment by City leaders, nothing has changed on the ground yet," he explained. "There is a culture of plodding and delays when it comes to improving San Francisco's streets, and we'll be watching closely to see that these deadlines are met."
Previously: Mayor Announces 57 (Not So) New 'High Priority' Vision Zero Projects