Memorial Walk to mark road traffic deaths in San Francisco

Byby Juan Carlos Guerrero via KGO logo
Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Volunteers have posted signs all over San Francisco to mark the spots where people have been seriously injured or killed by motorists.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The sign says it all. It reads, "A 57-year-old person walking died after getting hit here."

Here is the corner of Ellis and Jones Street. Similar signs have been going up all week around San Francisco.

"We are putting up signs around the city to honor people killed in 2018," said Cathy DeLuca from Walk San Francisco.

The people mentioned in the signs were killed or seriously injured while walking across a street or riding a bicycle.

DeLuca put up another sign on Howard Street in memory of Russell Franklin, a 56-year-old cyclist who was killed on September 13 by a car as he crossed the street on his bicycle.

"No one should have to die in our streets. We act like these deaths are a normal part of getting around our city. They are not," said DeLuca. "It wasn't an accident. I was a predictable crash."

Predictable in that the corner of Howard Street and South Van Ness Avenue had been identified by the city as a high-injury corridor. After Franklin's death, the city installed a yield signs and painted the crosswalk.

San Francisco has initiated similar projects under Vision Zero, a 10 year plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the city by 2024.

Three years ago, San Francisco's Department of Public Health created a map of all the serious traffic-related injuries and deaths. It found that nearly 75 percent of all the crashes took place in about 13 percent of the city's streets.

This October the law firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger teamed up with 1Point21 Interactive to identify the most dangerous areas for cyclists in San Francisco. The most dangerous is along Market Street near Union Square. There were 225 crashes in a five-block area between 2013 and 2017. Other dangerous zones include Market Street near Hayes Valley, Polk Street in the Tenderloin area and a stretch of Valencia between 16th and 20th Street.


Since Vision Zero began 2014, San Francisco has undertaken hundreds of traffic safety projects. They include the installation of speed humps, protected bike lanes and extending crosswalks with white plastic paddles.

The goal has been to slow motorists down. And it seems to be working.

Last year, there were 20 traffic deaths in the city. That's the lowest total in San Francisco history, and a 50% drop since 2015, when there were 31 traffic deaths.

Amanda Lamb was almost the 32nd death that year.

"I was going to cross this street and I didn't make it home," said Lamb as she stood on the corner of Webster and McAllister Streets.

Amanda was crossing Webster when a car making a left turn crashed into her.

"I summersaulted through the air 30 feet until I eventually landed in the bike lane. I was knocked unconscious upon impact," said Lamb, who has since become a member of San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets.

SF's Market Street tops the Bay Area's list of riskiest pedestrian crossings

She finds it difficult to come back to the intersection. But she came back this week to post a sign with her name marking the crash.

"To see that I am one of the people who survived, it makes me think of the others who did not put up their own sign," said Lamb, who still suffers PTSD from the crash.

The signs are being put up in anticipation of the United Nation's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. A memorial vigil will be held Sunday begining at 3:00 p.m. at Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library. The walk has been canceled because of the bad air quality.

Click here for more information on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.