Phil Matier: San Francisco Struggles With Spate Of Pedestrian Fatalities

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The latest in a series of pedestrian accidents in San Francisco is adding to a grim toll.  A hit-and-run collision between a vehicle and pedestrian near San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday morning left one man with life threatening injuries. This after a fatal collision on Tuesday in the Sunset District.

In 2013, 21 people were killed while walking, the most since 2007.

Although city and transportation leaders have adopted the Vision Zero policy, aimed at eliminating pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in San Francisco within a decade, many officials and residents have expressed concerns that many other projects and proposals are wasting away in political gridlock.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener tells the San Francisco Chronicle he’s frustrated by “the desire for consensus before changes are made.” He said that hurts the cause because it takes too long to implement proposals, and oftentimes, when they are put into place, they end up being watered down.

But there are some significant improvements that have already been implemented in San Francisco, including just last week in the Mission District.

And San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has made a pledge to crack down on traffic violations, with officers doling out 43 percent more tickets in January than during the previous year.

“You can’t be everywhere at once, but based on the number of calls I’m getting, people have noticed that there’s a significantly larger amount of tickets being issued,” he said. “And the numbers are going to continue to rise until people get it that they have to slow down.”

Suhr said that with the enormous amount of congestion in the city right now, people, whether walking, on bikes, or in cars have to slow down, pay attention and be aware of their surroundings.

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