Walk SF pedestrian group launches ‘Slow Our Streets’ campaign

A pedestrian safety advocacy group Walk SF is launching a campaign called "Slow Our Roads 2020" to raise awareness about the number of people killed while walking or bicycling in San Francisco this year. 

Walk SF says they'll push for more police traffic enforcement and citations of drivers who break the law, as well as calling for more safety features such as speed humps and lowered speed limits.

"We know that a person hit by a car going 20 miles an hour has a 10% fatality rate. A person being hit by a car going 40 mph has an 80% fatality rate," said Aly Geller, a spokeswoman for Walk SF.

In San Francisco, just walking through town can seem like putting your life on the line for some pedestrians.

"I think you have to have your head on a swivel at all times, because people are driving crazy, they're not paying attention. There's a lot going on," said Joe Golden, a San Francisco native who lives in Martinez.

"Whenever there's a left or right turn and I'm walking, I always get really scared cause cars are so aggressive I feel like I might get hit," said Sajal Rohatgi, a San Francisco resident.

The city has posted signs around town to remind drivers of the city's Vision Zero effort to eliminate all pedestrian and bike fatalities by 2024.

A string of pedestrian deaths prompted the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to declare a state of emergency for traffic safety. 

"We actually had four people killed in just six weeks all who were walking on the streets," said San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney who led the effort.

Haney say he hopes it will prompt Mayor London Breed and SFMTA to devote more funding for safety improvements.

"There are only 12 red light cameras in the entire city of Ssan Francisco right now. It costs more to put more up and we want to see them out there. We want to see more traffic cops out on the streets," said Haney.

Many pedestrians say they are concerned about drivers speeding and running red lights.

"Red light runners for sure. I don't trust. We always stop wait a few seconds and then proceed with caution," said Stacey Golden of Martinez.

"It is not only our safety, it is pedestrians, there's bikers there's skaters," said Candice Johnson of San Jose, who says she comes to the city weekly to volunteer.

Some pedestrians say they hope the city will look at installing better traffic signs, better street lighting and longer signals. 

"Sometimes like, I'll be crossing and the light will all of a sudden turn yellow and you barely have time to get across," said Randy Parker of San Francisco.

Walk SF is planning an event on the steps of city hall next Sunday November 17 at 3p.m. They'll be gathering for the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims.