Jessica Kwong/The S.f. ExaminerPolice Cmdr. Mikail Ali (far right)

Jessica Kwong/The S.f. ExaminerPolice Cmdr. Mikail Ali (far right)

SF police, city officials carry on latest push to improve pedestrian safety

In a week already packed with pedestrian safety pushes at City Hall, a joint hearing before the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors’ Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee on Thursday convened policy makers and enforcement officials who say they are focused on collaborative solutions rather than finger-pointing.

Police enforcement and investigations on a spate of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities was the crux of what Supervisor David Campos, who called the hearing, hoped would be a “constructive and productive meeting.”

“It’s important to focus on how we move forward instead of pointing fingers,” he said. “We have the best police department in the country. I really believe that we can always look at what we can do better.”

The joint hearing included a presentation given at the Jan. 8 Police Commission meeting highlighting the rise in fatalities juxtaposed with a drop in both officer and citation numbers. Two-thirds of the 21 pedestrian fatalities last year – the most since 2007 – were the driver’s fault, police say.

Referencing comments made at the Police Commission on the need for pedestrians to be less distracted, commission vice president Joe Marshall said, “We’re not here to blame the victim.”

“We don’t want our citizens, pedestrians or bicyclists to feel like there’s a threat when they’re on the streets of San Francisco,” Marshall said.

The solution, according to Supervisor Eric Mar, will entail putting money toward efforts that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco have been working on for years. One such measure, the Pedestrian Strategy, still has no funding attached. The meeting follows a Vision Zero plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities within 10 years, introduced by Supervisors Jane Kim, Norman Yee and John Avalos on Tuesday, as well as a “Be Nice, Look Twice” driver education campaign pitched by Mayor Ed Lee on Wednesday.

Walk San Francisco placed a human face to the issue with a video depicting Jikaiah Stevens, 31, who suffered permanent injury from being hit by a vehicle.

“I find it insult to injury that the person responsible is not paying for the bills,” Stevens said. “What is the incentive to be a safer driver when there are no consequences?”

San Francisco police are not waiting to start issuing more citations as their officer numbers steadily increase, assured Cmdr. Mikail Ali, who works with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Officers issued 55 citations within a two-hour period at two locations on Thursday, he noted.

Before opening the floor to public comment, Police Chief Greg Suhr referenced 6-year-old Sophia Liu, who was hit and killed by a vehicle on New Year’s Eve.

“I think if we can get to this zero fatality goal for this little girl,” he said. “At least she would not have passed in vain.”Bay Area NewsNeighborhood Services and Safety Committeepolice commissionTransittransportationVision Zero

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read