SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — As the toll of traffic injuries and deaths adds up in San Francisco, activists blocked one of the Tenderloin’s most dangerous intersections to demand drastic action.
At the intersection of Golden Gate and Leavenworth lies a collection of chalk outlines on the asphalt–one for each pedestrian killed in the Tenderloin thus far in 2019.
Neighbors have a list of demands that they say will keep pedestrians safer. Chief among them are longer crosswalk signals and more traffic enforcement from San Francisco police.
“When was the last time you saw somebody get pulled over for speeding or making an illegal turn or anything of that kind in the Tenderloin?” asked Curtis Bradford of the Tenderloin People’s Congress. Also high on the list of demands are speed bumps so drivers are forced to slow down.
Another possibility to keep the streets and crosswalks of San Francisco safer is banning private cars from some streets in the Tenderloin, leaving the traffic lanes open to only public transit and commercial vehicles.
“We like the idea of car free spaces, we’d also like to see two-waying the fast moving Tenderloin streets. Also, the same thing in SoMa,” Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk San Francisco, told KPIX 5.
District 6 supervisor Matt Haney says the proposition could actually help businesses.
“The reality is that when you have slower traffic, people are more likely to stop and more likely to park, more likely to come out into the neighborhood. That’s what we want,” said Haney.
We want people to come to our neighborhood. We don’t people to use this neighborhood as a thoroughfare for people to just zoom through. It’s not helpful to businesses here who want people to visit them to have fast moving traffic 40-50 miles per hour.”
Residents say any relief from the daily terror of entering the crosswalk would help.
“I’ve been living in the neighborhood for seven years and I learned to be patient and really watch before I cross, ‘cuz there’s been so many times that I was touched by a car,” said Tenderloin resident Luis Castillo, who is wheelchair bound.