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San Francisco pedestrian plan could include safety outreach, lower speeds

Two weeks after safety advocates questioned the slow pace of The City’s pedestrian action plan, the mayor on Wednesday announced details of a proposal that’s being drafted.

The plan, which is expected to be finalized and implemented in early 2013, is one step toward a city goal to reduce serious or fatal pedestrian accidents by 25 percent in 2016 and by 50 percent five years later, Mayor Ed Lee said.

In December 2010, in one of his last acts before leaving office, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom issued the executive directive to improve pedestrian safety conditions. He ordered the creation of a Pedestrian Safety Task Force, which would detail how to accomplish those goals.

But until Wednesday, the final plan had not been publicly unveiled.

It calls for reducing speed limits on certain streets and making improvements to various intersections, along with using data to increase enforcement and education about particular danger zones, Lee said.

“We’re going to remind people these are spots where there’s going to be a lot more attention,” he said.

Deputy Chief Denise Schmitt said the Police Department has launched the Focus on the 5 program, using data gathered by San Francisco, to provide each district station with a list of the five most accident-prone intersections in the area.

Many accidents occur on busy thoroughfares such as Market Street, Van Ness Avenue and 19th Avenue, or intersections that serve as off-ramps for highway traffic, Schmitt said.

Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF, said she is happy with The City’s efforts. The group and its members “look forward to a strong and effective strategy,” she said.

Stampe said nearly 900 pedestrians were struck and injured in The City in 2011, and that 18 have been killed so far in 2012.

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