San Francisco ranks as the most dangerous city in California for pedestrians. This is not a surprise to those residents who regularly leave their cars at home. This unfortunate statistic mars the profile of a city so lovely and accessible: moderate weather, beautiful parks, magnificent views, and an abundance of convenient neighborhood shops and markets — all within a 48-square mile area. However, if traffic hazards have made you wary of walking to where you need to go, don’t simply give up on a healthful alternative to driving. The City and a number of organizations are working to make San Francisco safer — and you can get involved, too:
- Walk San Francisco is an advocacy group that “promotes walking as a safe and sustainable form of transportation.” This organization “seeks to improve San Francisco's walking environment through activism and policy advocacy that educates residents, city agencies, and elected officials regarding the need for more pedestrian-friendly streets.” Visit Walk San Francisco online for activities and membership information, as well as for a range of motivating articles, essays and links. You can also reach them at: Walk San Francisco, 1095 Market Street, #502, SF, CA 94103; phone (415) 431-WALK (431-9255); fax (415) 431-2468.
- The SF Municipal Transit Agency's Department of Parking & Traffic Livable Streets Initiative addresses traffic problems through a variety of projects aimed at making the streets safer for walkers. The Traffic Calming effort, for instance, reins in speeders through the use of special devices, such as speed “humps” and traffic circles; the Pedestrian Program focuses on improvements and additions to crosswalk areas and signage. See our Livable Streets Initiative article for details on the scope of the endeavor and how the project might benefit your own neighborhood.
The SFMTA also offers a printable warning flyer that you can place on cars blocking the sidewalk. Parking on the sidewalk, even only partially, is illegal. To report a blocked sidewalk, call the SFMTA's Enforcement section at (415) 553-1200.