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SF Launches Pedestrian Safety Campaign To Combat Surge of Fatal Crashes

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Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk through the Union Square shopping district San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Pedestrians carry shopping bags as they walk through the Union Square shopping district San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The 21 pedestrian deaths in 2013 in San Francisco has spurred a new focus in City Hall on how to make the city’s streets safer for those on foot.

The mayor and police chief touted a campaign Thursday that is education, part traffic enforcement and millions of dollars in street improvements.

The crackdown portion of the Walk First campaign involves police handing out citations to both drivers and pedestrians at the five most dangerous intersections in each district, said Police Chief Greg Suhr.

“Year to date, we’ve had more people killed on the streets of San Francisco in vehicle collisions than we have by homicide. It is a problem,” he said.

Suhr said traffic citations were already up 50 percent for the first part of 2014.

The city has also come to recognize that not only motorists, but pedestrians too need to be reminded about safe behavior on the street, said Mayor Ed Lee.

“We need to slow everybody down. We need to promote people looking both ways before they cross the street,” he said.

Lee said $17 million would be poured into redesigning intersections and streets where small changes could make a big difference in pedestrian safety.

There have been four pedestrian deaths in San Francisco so far this year. One of those fatalities happened at an intersection on Sunset Boulevard where just two weeks later a teenager was also injured trying to negotiate the same crosswalk.

“People are getting killed and seriously injured on our streets, and that shouldn’t be happening,” said Ed Reiskin, director of the Municipal Transportation Agency.

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