Last week the SFMTA approved a measure to lower speed limits on Harrison and Bryant Streets from 30 mph to 24 mph, according to a report by streetsblog.org. We think that is a great idea and would like to point out a few impotant bits of information from that report. It turns out that pedestrian crashes are reported to be the most highly concentrated in this area. Last year, 240 people were injured and four were killed on SOMA’s streets-a situation that proves costly to the city. The Department of Public Health reported that the average price of admitting an injured pedestrian to the hospital is nearly $80,000, of which 76% is paid by public funds, and that at least 20 percent of pedestrian crashes go unreported. Hopefully this measure will improve safety in the area without costing the SFMTA too much, as they have less than $1 million in revenue available to them each year for pedestrian improvement projects, which, as they always claim, is their biggest hurdle. Other projects, like the proposed 15 mph school zone pilot, have been on hold as the agency waits for grants to do study and implementation. Lack of proper funding has been such an impediment to safety improvements, as well as good old fashioned bureaucracy, that the agency hopes to create change with the help of community groups and other city agencies, not just government funding, just like what took place for Cesar Chavez Street improvements.
Earlier this year, also according to streetsblog.org, the SFMTA approved a blue print to improve safety project on Cesar Chavez street, a project that had been in the works for five years and was created by the department of Public Works, the Public utilities Commission, and the SFMTA. They all worked together to build the project, and, for the all those who participated, it proved to be a powerfully inspiring example of what can happen when community groups band together. The safety plan includes cost-efficient features, such as bike lanes, a landscaped median, and sidewalk bulb-outs, as well as sewer pipe and lighting projects that have already been planned by the PUC. The changes will no doubt be a welcome sight for cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, and residents alike, as that stretch of road has been dangerous and unsightly for years, and was just becoming worse. Construction on the street portion of the plan is scheduled for the fall. New speed limits along the Embarcadero to 13th street at Harrison and the Embarcadero to 11th street at Bryant are also expected to receive approval from the SFTA in the near future.
With two to three people being hit by cars every day on San Francisco Streets, these changes are likely going to save lives and ease the economic toll from injury accidents. Pedestrian accidents alone have racked up millions of dollars worth of bills for injuries, and, as a consequence, advocates have urged safety measures be taken immediately. Residents can no longer afford to pay the price for living in a district with lacking safety conditions. San Francisco has been celebrated for being a walking city, but how can that be if you are four times more likely to die walking than if you are driving? Hopefully, the upcoming safety projects lower those statistics and help make walking safely in the city a reality for everyone.
If you or a loved on suffered an injury as a pedestrian and would like to speak to an attorney, please contact our firm for a free consultation. Our personal injury attorney has over 10 years experience fighting for the rights of injured pedestrians and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.