Supervisorial Candidates Debate Streets, Parks, and Public Space at Upcoming Forums and Town Hall Meetings

Walk San Francisco, the San Francisco Parks Alliance, and Friends of the Urban Forest are pleased to announce a series of  Supervisorial Candidate Forums and Town Halls focusing exclusively on the topic of the city’s public space: streets and parks.  Our goal is to ensure that strong voices for a greener, more walkable city are elected across the city’s districts.


For the first time, Supervisorial town halls and candidate forums in all odd-numbered SF districts will focus on issues of public space from streets to parks.

Residents are invited to submit their questions on pedestrian safety, sustainable transportation, trees and urban forestry, parks, recreation, open space, and greening.


Wednesday, October 17, 7 – 8 p.m.
District 9 Town Hall with Supervisor David Campos
Moderated by Elizabeth Stampe, Executive Director, Walk San Francisco
Mission Recreation Center, 2450 Harrison St. at 20th

Thursday, October 18, 7 – 8 p.m.
District 11 (Excelsior) Town Hall with Supervisor Avalos
Moderated by Elizabeth Stampe, Executive Director, Walk San Francisco
Minnie Lovie Ward Recreation CenterMontana between Plymouth & Capitol

Thursday, October 25, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
District 3 (Chinatown/North Beach) Forum with Candidates Marc Bruno, Joseph Butler, David Chiu, and Wilma Pang
Moderated by Matthew O’Grady, Executive Director, San Francisco Parks Alliance
Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center, 1199 Mason St. at Washington St.

Tuesday, October 30, 6 – 8 p.m.
District 7 (Sunnyside) Forum with Candidates Francis Xavier Crowley, Joel Engardio, Michael Garcia, Julian Lagos, and Norman Yee
Moderated by Dan Flanagan, Executive Director, Friends of the Urban Forest
San Francisco Zoo’s Great Hall, Sloat Blvd. and 47th Ave.

Thursday, November 1, 6 – 8 p.m.
District 5 (Hayes Valley/Haight) Forum with Candidates London Breed, Julian Davis, Christina Olague, and Andrew Resignato
Moderated by Matthew O’Grady, Executive Director, San Francisco Parks Alliance
Hamilton Recreation Center, Geary Blvd. at Steiner


Walk San Francisco ( and its members are making San Francisco a more welcoming place for everyone to walk. Walk SF speaks up for the safety and priority of pedestrians, and works to reclaim streets as shared public space.


San Francisco Parks Alliance’s ( mission is to inspire and promote civic engagement and philanthropy to protect, sustain and enrich San Francisco parks and green open spaces.


Friends of the Urban Forest’s ( mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy.

Walk SF Has a New Director- Shaana A. Rahman!

Shaana has been appointed to Walk SF’s Board of Directors. This wonderful organization works to make San Francisco a “more livable, walkable city and reclaiming our streets as shared public space for everyone to enjoy.”

Walk SF has been working since 1998 to make San Francisco the most walkable city in the United States and they have made some great strides (pun definitely intended), including:

•     Making San Francisco the first big city in the state with citywide 15-mph school zones, making streets safer around 181 schools!
•     Securing funds to make the streets better for walking, including $50 million in the 2011 Streets Bond.
•     Watch-dogging the police and District Attorney to make sure they enforce laws that keep you safe when you walk.
•     Helping to launch car-free Sunday Streets and supporting parklets and plazas to reclaim streets as shared public space.
•     Improving safety on the city’s most dangerous streets, including 19th Ave, Masonic, and Cesar Chavez.
•     Making developers pay the real cost of car traffic and its impacts on pedestrians.
•     Raising fines on cars blocking sidewalks.
•     Winning media and decision-maker attention to the perspective of people who walk!

 Be sure to check out their website to find out more about their current campaigns and their upcoming events.
Congratulations Shaana!

Unidentified Man Killed near Potrero by Drunk Driver

Streetsblog has reported a crash near a vehicle ramp southbound Potrero Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard over Cesar Chavez Street in which a drunk driver killed a pedestrian. The junction of Cesar Chavez and Highway 101 is known as “the hairball” for its dangerous intersections, and the particular danger for pedestrains and cyclists who venture into the mix. “This whole area is incredibly unfriendly and unsafe for walking right now, and local workers and residents have been asking for new crosswalks and other improvements,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk SF. It is no suprise that the victim was reportedly in the road and not in a crosswalk, since, according to Streetsblog the “nearest crosswalks on that stretch of Potrero, at Cesar Chavez and 25th Street, are roughly 1,056 feet apart”.

The driver, a 25 year old San Francisco native, was arrested for driving under the influence and felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of the unidentified man.



Photo Credit:



Pedestrian Peril in San Francisco

With its dense shops and restaurants, beautiful vistas and diverse neighborhoods San Francisco is a city in which walking is often the most desirable mode of transport. However, a recent poll by Bay Citizen shows that many pedestrians do not feel safe walking in the city.

The Bay Citizen’s nonscientific poll found that nearly half of the 98 respondents said “they wanted the San Francisco Police Department to ticket more drivers or cyclists for disobeying traffic laws. Several said they’d like to see the city ban right turns at red lights, while others suggested lowering speed limits.”

Recently, the City has been working to make some improvements to pedestrian safety.  An updated federal guideline has forced the City to extend crosswalk times in many intersections, including along Market Street. In addition, Police are focusing their efforts in corridors where there have been serious or fatal collisions. In June, the city lowered the speed limits on four South of Market streets – Howard, Folsom, Harrison and Bryant – from 30 to 25 mph.

Areas that went on a “road-diet”, where sidewalks and medians were extended, lanes were decreased and other measures were taken to reduce traffic and increase pedestrain activity, seem safer. “The bike lanes, expanded sidewalks, parklets and bulbouts make the street and traffic seem calmer” one respondent wrote.

Yet, many people feel that the City has just not done enough. A SoMa resident who responded to the survey suggested that pedestrians who still do not feel safe, and people who feel like the city has not done enough, should bring their complaints to community meetings. Another respondent suggested that everyone stop pointing fingers and laying blame, and instead acknowledge that pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike have responsibilities when they share the road. It is when these groups work together that San Francisco’s streets will become safer.

A map detailing the intersections that the survey respondents identified as the most dangerous in San Francisco for pedestrians can be seen by clicking on the link below.

If you ever need a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.


Pedestrian Killed in Collision with CHP Officer

Earlier this month, a woman was killed when she allegedly ran in front of a CHP Officer driving a motorcycle on West MacArthur Boulevard near the intersection of San Pablo in West Oakland. The collision ocurred August 10th at 1opm.

According to a CHP spokesperson, “the 47-year-old Hayward woman stepped off the north sidewalk and began running across the street, directly into the path of the oncoming motorcycle”. The woman’s identity was witheld, but the Officer was identified as Sgt. Roberto Barrera. Sgt. Barrera sustained moderate injuries when he was thrown from his bike during the collision.

Not much more information has been released as of this time. There is an ongoing investigation by both the Oakland PD and the CHP.

If you ever need a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.


The Blame Game

Recently, SF District Attorney George Gascón stated that the reason so few drivers are prosecuted in pedestrian collisions is that pedestrians are at fault “in the majority of cases”.

This is simply not true and it reflects the pro-auto attitude in a city with a cycling population that has increased 71% in the last 5 years. This tendency to favor automobiles is illustrated in the DA’s office history of persecuting only those fatalities and injuries which involve a DUI or a hit-and-run. Drivers, even those who are deemed at fault, often avoid any criminal prosecution. DA Gascón has broken this tradition by prosecuting three drivers and a cyclist with lethal negligence, a misdeamanor, in pedestrian fatalies. His recent statement, however, shows a dismissive attitude towards the safety and security of pedestrians and cyclists in San Francisco.

WalkSF is an organization fighting for pedestrian safety in San Francisco. Join them in their campaign to bring justice to pedestrians killed by negligent drivers. Email them at and they will forward your email onto the DA’s office to let them know that the pedestrians-at-fault stance is not an acceptable attitude.

As WalkSF argues “the District Attorney and our police should be keeping us safe on the street and making it clear that injuring people has consequences. Instead, they’re blaming the victim.”

Sources: SfStreetsblog1 and SfStreetsblog2

Rising Rate of Pedestrian Accidents Caused by Headphone Use

“Injuries to pedestrians wearing headphones have more than tripled in six years, say researchers from the University of Maryland.”

On the average day, we see dozens of people walking across the street with headphones plugged into their ears. And as city-dwellers, we are practically allergic to silence. So it’s not difficult to feel a bit scared when we read statistics that say, out of the times where headphone-wearing pedestrians have been deaf to train whistles and car horns, 3/4ths of them end in fatalities.
According to a Care2 article, “Distraction and sensory deprivation while using electronic devices is called ‘inattentional blindness’.” Case reports published by associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland, Dr. Lichenstein, and his associates listed the following statistics regarding injured pedestrians who were wearing headphones at the time of their accidents:
  • 68% of victims were males.
  • 67% of victims were under 30 years old.
  • Over 50% of accidents involved trains
  • 29% of vehicles involved reported sounding a warning prior to the accident

While pedestrians have no control over reckless drivers, they can help their odds at least a little by keeping their ears open. So try to keep both unplugged and aware of your surroundings out there.

If you ever need a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.

Shaana Rahman and S.F. StreetsBlog on Criminal Charges for Drivers Who Kill Pedestrians

In Tuesday’s StreetsBlog Post, “Will DA Gascón Reform the Double Standard for Drivers Who Kill?“, our very own Shaana Rahman was interviewed for her thoughts and experience on the matter of charging drivers and bicyclists who kill pedestrians as criminal offenders:

Shaana Rahman, a lawyer who represents victims of traffic crashes in civil court, explained that injuring or killing a pedestrian due to negligence has traditionally been categorized as a civil offense rather than a criminal offense, which requires “intent to harm.”
“What I have seen in my practice is unless there’s an issue where a driver or cyclist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving recklessly and willfully, such as drag racing or something of that nature, by and large there are no criminal charges filed against folks who injure other people in those situations,” she said. Regarding the criminal charges against Ang, she added, “In this situation, with this particular bicyclist where you don’t have those aggravating circumstances, it seemed unusual to me.”
This recent decision to charge bicyclist Randolph Ang for the death of pedestrian Dionette Cherney has been met with both support and criticism. Support for breaking from the established tradition of DA inaction against pedestrian deaths by drivers and criticism for beginning this tide change with this year’s one bicyclist-caused death betwixt 12 driver-caused deaths.
But the most important question to consider is the one raised by Streetsblog: “Is Gascón getting serious about driver recklessness and negligence?” As quoted in the article, Ms. Rahman believes this could indicate “a fundamental shift in the punishment aspect of drivers who, in all other circumstances, would be seen as negligent drivers.”

“Criminal charges are important to deter certain behavior,” she said, and with so many cases of negligent drivers who kill or injure other people, “he’s going to have his hands full.”

If you ever need a pedestrian accident attorney in San Francisco, Paso Robles, or the surrounding Central California Coast area, contact us for a free consultation.

The People Plan

In preparation for the 2013 America’s Cup yacht race taking place on our city’s waterfront, Mayor Ed Lee is working towards improving Embarcadero’s pedestrian, bike, and transit congestion.

The People Plan lays out the possible changes city officials can make. According to SF Streetsblog, these changes include:
  • Extending the F-line to Fort Mason
  • Implementing a bike share program with safe parking systems
  • New wayfinding signs on biking and walking routes
  • Prioritizing Bike Plan projects and adding more bike lanes

These changes can really make a big difference to the waterfront, not just for the event, but permanently. If there are any changes you want to see, this is the time to suggest them. And hopefully, after the tourists have all gone home, they’ll leave behind a more commuter-friendly Embarcadero.

MTA Calls Slow Street Safety Improvement “Paralysis by Analysis”

The Confusion

A meeting at City Hall on Tuesday discussed the climbing political pressure to bring about a quick fix to pedestrian danger. The problem has long been established and addressed, so what’s taking so long to solve it?

Well, according to MTA’s Board of Supervisors David Chiu, “We are experiencing a little bit of paralysis by analysis.” With so many different agencies conducting studies and presenting plans and statistics, Chiu claims that it is the bureaucracy that is preventing any real action.
Deputy Director of Planning for the SFCTA (San Francisco County Transportation Authority) Tilly Chang calls this problem a problem of “fragmented responsibility.” And it is unsurprising that responsibility is so difficult to delegate because, in the SFCTA’s “Update on Citywide Pedestrian Safety Efforts“, the Authority is listed as “one of 12 agencies currently participating in the City’s newly-established Pedestrian Safety Task Force.” Despite the confusion, Chang says that the responsibility falls mostly on the MTA because they are “arguably” the lead agency on pedestrian safety.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Stampe of Walk SF doesn’t think it’s that simple, saying, “In some ways having the MTA be the agency where it’s centered makes sense, but in some ways the work that the other agencies are doing gets translated into real action on the streets faster and in a way that satisfies people more.”
But while everyone is trying to figure out who’s running the show, reps from all agencies agree that immediate action needs to be taken–if not because it’s been long overdue, then because the political pressure is getting to be too much.
A Few Results
From the meeting’s confusion arose a few key ideas for improvement:
  1. Data integration.
  2. Better enforcement efforts by the SFPD.
  3. Reducing the speed of automobiles. According to Rajiv Bhatia of the SF Department of Public Health, “We’ve calculated that serious injuries could be reduced by over 50 percent from a 5 mile an hour reduction in the travelling speed.” However, he also noted that traffic laws might impede the realization of the plan. And I think it’s safe to say that we don’t need anything else impeding real action.