Ben Margot/2010 AP file photoMayor Ed Lee introduced a “Be Nice

New effort to put SF resources into pedestrian safety

Several city agencies have jointly launched a pedestrian safety program aimed at reducing the high rates of injuries and fatalities in San Francisco.

The program, called WalkFirst, is a collaboration between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Planning Department, Public Health Department and City Controller’s Office. WalkFirst’s goals include reducing fatal pedestrian injuries by 25 percent by 2016 and 50 percent by 2021. Over the next five years, $17 million is expected to be spent on the effort.

“By combining rigorous technical analysis with significant community outreach, we will target our investments in the communities that need them most,” said Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA’s director of transportation.

Half of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco involve pedestrians, making walkers the most vulnerable road users. WalkFirst will try to improve the situation by upgrading streets, giving pedestrians more walking time at 800 intersections, improving safety around schools and senior centers, and placing more police at high-injury intersections.

“This project marks an important milestone towards advancing pedestrian safety in our city,” said Nicole Schneider, executive director of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy group.

WalkFirst will also allow residents to recommend pedestrian safety funding priorities and view the safest and most dangerous intersections for walkers through the website walkfirst.sfplanning.org.

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