Vision Zero’s a Hero!

It blew me away to learn how common pedestrian deaths and serious injures are in San Francisco. Here’s the very map that made me gasp and reach for my husband’s shoulder in shock.

Pedestrian deaths and high injury corridors - source: sfgov

Pedestrian-Vehicle injuries and high injury corridors – source: sfgov

“What kind of community have we moved into?!” I shrilled in disbelief as I pointed to the concentrated areas of red and skulls right in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

The San Francisco Department of Health report that around 100 people are killed or severely injured in traffic incidents in San Francisco every year. On top of that, at least 800 more people are injured. Judging from the map, it was no surprise to learn that 60% of deaths and severe injuries took place on only 6% of the city’s streets. San Francisco sure has it’s danger hot-spots.

And then the mighty Vision Zero Hero came to save the day!

The Vision Zero policy in San Francisco aims to eliminate all traffic deaths over the next 10 years by fixing known dangerous locations. A concept originally developed in Sweden which holds that:

Transport systems traditionally place responsibility for safety on road users. The Vision Zero Initiative puts this responsibility on system design.

The SF Department of Health have determined that only a small number of factors have contributed to a disproportionately high number of traffic incidents – left turns, failure to yield to pedestrians and speed. So the policy will combine this data with the ‘hot-spot’ data to inform a range of engineering, enforcement and educational strategies which will have a targeted and broad community impact. Yep, the three E’s.

Like any good public health project, Vision Zero is a partnership effort between key organizations including, but definitely not limited to, the SF Department of Public HealthSan Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco.

Phew!

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