Street safety bill inches along

While The City’s pedestrian death toll hovers at an average rate of more than two per month, an ordinance to heighten pedestrian safety has languished in committee for almost two years.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor Fiona Ma in July 2004, would require The City to install countdown signals at lighted intersections citywide and to make curb cuts to provide access for the disabled, among other improvements.

At least 13 pedestrians have died after being hit by cars in San Francisco in the past six months, according to statistics compiled by the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco. The problem made headlines in January when 76-year-old Joyce Lam, mother of San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam, was hit by a cable car in Chinatown and killed.

Ma’s ordinance was debated and continued in the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday.

The bill has been slow to gain approval by the board’s Budget and Finance and Land Use committees because of its expense, Ma said Monday. “This is the watered-down version with the big priorities,” Ma said of the ordinance’s current version.

In addition to countdown signals and curb cuts, the bill calls for more striped crosswalks, the installation of bulbouts-sidewalk extensions at corners which reduce the distance pedestrians have to walk across the street, and the installation of 100 signs per year in the next three years listing prohibited sidewalk activities.

A report by the board’s budget analyst Harvey Rose has estimated the ordinance’s total one-time costs at $226,442,045. The bill identifies no funding source.

Ma’s spokesman Bill Barnes said Monday that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2006-07 budget includes $5.4 million for curb cuts. In addition, he said, the Municipal Transportation Administration, which administers revenue generated by a sales tax approved by voters in 2003, could authorize funds if the ordinance passed.

Walk San Francisco Executive Director Emily Drennan said Monday that the legislation is “a good place to start” for improving pedestrian safety, but that “if it's not funded, then it will just sit on the books and not make much of a difference.”

amartin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read