SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In the wake of a pedestrian death two months ago, Supervisor Dean Preston has announced changes in speed limits coming to busy Geary Blvd.
On Aug. 11, 50-year-old Mark Berman died after being struck by a vehicle at Geary Boulevard and Gough Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver, later identified as 26-year-old Raja Whitefield, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, speeding, reckless driving and running a red light, police said.
Following Berman’s death, pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco suggested installing red light cameras at busy intersections such
as Gough Street and Geary Boulevard to discourage aggressive driving.
According to Preston, although changes to speed limits require approval at the state level, a rarely used provision in the city’s law allows expedited changes in areas near senior centers.
As a result, Preston was able to work with the SFMTA, residents and community organizations like Walk San Francisco to reduce speed limits along parts of Geary Boulevard from 35 to 25 mph.
The affected portions include Geary between Laguna and Gough streets, Geary between Steiner and Scott streets and Geary between Baker
Street and St. Joseph’s Avenue.
“It shouldn’t take a senseless tragedy to make common sense changes for pedestrian safety,” Preston said in a statement. “But working
with neighbors and the SFMTA, we have quickly moved on potentially life saving reductions in speed in areas where we need it most to protect our senior population.”
“We know that the faster a vehicle is going, the more likely its driver is to cause a traffic crash — and to severely injure or kill the
person who is hit,” Walk SF executive director Jodie Medeiros said. “One of the most powerful things we can do to make everyone safer on our streets is to reduce speeds, and the changes proposed on Geary is a definite step in the right direction.”
According to Preston, other changes on the horizon could include red light cameras, traffic signal timing adjustments, increased signage and crosswalk improvements.