Pedestrian safety advocates want some San Francisco streets 'car-free'

Pedestrian safety advocates brought traffic to a standstill at one San Francisco intersection on Friday.

Those pedestrian advocates taking direct action, blocking the intersection of Leavenworth and Golden Gate in the city's Tenderloin District. Bringing traffic to a halt at an intersection known for deadly and serious crashes. 

"I was witness to the day Janice lost her life right here at this intersection," said San Franciscan Curtis Bradford. "I had the misfortune of witnessing that. And, I was here when the 12-year-old boy was run down Tuesday night."

While that intersection was blocked for about a half-hour, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now looking at the idea of permanently suspending motor vehicle traffic on some streets in the Tenderloin. 

"The SFMTA is committed to safe streets everywhere," said Erica Kato of the SFMTA. "But, particularly in the Tenderloin where every street is on the high injury corridor network."

Matt Haney, supervisor for the Tenderloin and South of Market where a disproportionate amount of collisions have taken place, says it's time to look at the idea of taking cars off of some of the city's streets to save lives. 

"We need to look at new solutions to not just protect people's public safety so they can walk around without getting hit," said Haney. "But also we need more open space in the Tenderloin."

Pedestrian advocacy groups like Walk San Francisco say they support looking at restricting auto traffic. 

"Car-free streets that is the ultimate way to give pedestrians the priority," said Jodi Medeiros from Walk SF. "This is something we have been advocating for at Walk SF for a long time." 

The city has already started the process of restricting vehicle traffic in some parts of the city. Octavia Boulevard between Linden and Hayes streets will be closed to traffic this fall.