Liz Heidhues – Blog Post and photo Contributor 5.25.2021
Let’s preserve our Slow Streets for the fast times of San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery.
San Francisco motorists are angry. They plow through intersections where Slow Streets barriers are placed, honk their horns at me when I am walking in Protected Lanes, and careen through the Avenues.
Reckless driving and road rage in America are on the uptick. The National Highway Traffic Safety cited a report showing a 22% increase in the median speed of drivers in 2020.
San Francisco’s not doing any better than the rest of the country.
There are at least 800 people hit every year in San Francisco. In fact, San Francisco has more motor vehicle accident injuries per-mile-driven than any other sizeable city in California.
Traffic fatalities in San Francisco claimed 29 lives in 2020, the same number as 2019, an increase from prior years.
San Francisco is failing abysmally at meeting its goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024, the Target of the Vision Zero SF program.
Since the inception of Vision Zero SF in 2014 more than 200 people died and another 20,000 suffered serious injuries from traffic accidents in the streets of San Francisco.
Slow Streets debuted in 2020 as a therapeutic response to the social isolation, economic upheaval, and online exile of the pandemic. Streets in San Francisco’s neighborhoods were transformed for the use of pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, kids playing, wheelchair users, and urban animals to prowl without winding up as roadkill.
Rancorous drivers believe that San Francisco’s streets are solely for them to drive their cars on. Drivers are enraged to see their entitlement removed.
Motorists will never cede over ownership of residential streets to the rightful heirs. Neighborhood streets were built for people to enjoy and interact with – not for 2-ton vehicles that kill and maim.
The core experience of San Francisco is walkability.
Liz Heidhues is a life long San Francisco resident. Her means of transportation are her bicycle and her feet with an occasional trip on public transit.
Top photo – Road rage crashes into Slow Streets – 40th Avenue and Cabrillo, San Francisco