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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Are You Worried About Pedestrian Safety? Go to This Forum.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 2:20 PM

click to enlarge Watch out! - FLICKR/BIKOY
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  • Watch out!

Ever since the invention of cars in the early 20th century, automobiles have victimized pedestrians. In fact, in the 1920s, newspapers began publishing cartoons portraying cars as 'the "modern moloch" -- an Ammonite God in ancient Palestine to whom people sacrificed their children. Well, the modern-day moloch has returned to San Francisco, where pedestrian deaths have reached a new high.

The FDR Democratic Club of San Francisco, an organization that supports seniors and people with disabilities, has said enough is enough -- it's time for pedestrians to take a stand.

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., the FDR Democratic Club of San Francisco will host a forum on pedestrian safety for seniors and people with disabilities at the First Congregational Church of San Francisco. Jonathon Lyens, the president of the Club, says that pedestrian fatalities are "disproportionately affecting seniors and people with disabilities."

The goal is to get everyone together to brainstorm more solutions to the seemingly never-ending spate of pedestrian collisions. In the last two months, five pedestrians were killed in car v. pedestrian collisions; last year, 21 pedestrians were killed.

This summer, city supervisors will vote on a $17 million budget proposal for pedestrian safety over five years. Lyens says that he hopes the forum will let the Board of Supervisors better identify the "priorities of the community" and give pedestrians the voice to say how they'd like that money spent.

Already, members of the group have raised concerns about the timing of stoplights and the brevity of walk signs. Some pedestrians have complained about potholes in the middle of crosswalks and uncontrolled intersections. For instance, Lyens says, in his Richmond District neighborhood there are no stop signs at the intersection of Geary and 22nd Avenue -- a major thoroughfare for both cars and pedestrians. To make matter worse, the proposed Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit will reduce the amount of bus stops, forcing pedestrians to walk further to get to bus stops.

Lyens says the forum -- and all that comes out of it -- will compliment Vision Zero, a city proposal that calls for reducing pedestrian fatalities to zero within 10 years. Supervisor Jane Kim, supported by the community, rolled out this plan last month, asking for a slew of demands to achieve this goal. They included more cops, more citations, prioritize pedestrian projects, and force drivers education on commercial drivers in San Francisco, including taxi drivers.

So if you are interested in pedestrian safety -- or just worried you will get hit by a car -- head down to this forum and speak your mind.

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Melissa Hellmann

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