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San Francisco Mayor, Police Chief Seek Ways To Curb Pedestrian Deaths

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Accident Scene in Tenderloin

A young girl died and two other people were injured in San Francisco after they were hit by a car while crossing the street on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013. (CBS)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Since New Year’s Eve, three pedestrians have been fatally struck by vehicles on San Francisco streets. The rise in deaths has prompted the mayor and police chief to take action to make streets safer.

The latest fatality occurred Tuesday evening when a 38-year-old man dashed across busy Van Ness Avenue next to City Hall on a red light and was hit by a motorist. It was the sixth pedestrian death in less than a month.

Mayor Ed Lee said the problem has his full attention. “I’ve got no less than three proposals on my desk right now that I’m reviewing this afternoon [Wednesday] with the police chief and the fire chief on culturally competent campaigns that we can do right now,” he said.

Meanwhile, police Chief Greg Suhr said traffic enforcement will increase as 300 new officers hit the streets. Suhr said he wants the public to understand that there will be consequences for those who ignore traffic laws.

“All the captains again were told at the end of last year that enforcement is a priority because we cannot have the perception in San Francisco that there’s an absence or a lack of enforcement,” Suhr told KCBS.

KCBS, KPIX 5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said Suhr has already sat down with his captains and would like to see officers dressed in plain clothes on intersections and crossing streets, but he also wants to see police issuing tickets for those who break the rules.

“That’s the education effort that works,” Matier said, but that it won’t necessarily get publicized.

In addition to increased enforcement, new education campaigns will focus on the importance of going slow and paying attention, for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

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