Tonight: Public Meeting On Hayes Valley Traffic Safety

Tonight: Public Meeting On Hayes Valley Traffic SafetyPhoto: David Stevenson / KTVU
Nuala Sawyer
Published on June 01, 2015

Anyone who lives or works in Hayes Valley will at some point have come across a traffic violation. Whether it's blocking the box at Oak and Octavia, running red lights or, in extreme cases, allegedly attempting to run over a traffic enforcement officer, Hayes Valley sees its fair share of traffic snafus.

As a result, this evening the community is coming together to address the public safety needs of traffic enforcement in the neighborhood. The event, coordinated with the help of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, will ask such questions as: "What role does the Traffic Division play in public safety in our area? What are some of the laws that they are enforcing? How do they work with other divisions in the police department? What can community members do to help the Traffic Division?"

In attendance at the meeting will be Commander Ann Mannix, a former Northern Station police captain who now heads up the Traffic Company of the SFPD. She'll help explain current city policies and listen to local issues from residents.

In the past year Hayes Valley has been the scene of a number of serious car accidents. In April a car chase that started in Oakland ended on Market and Gough streets, with at least six cars being hit in the process. In March of this year a cyclist was seriously injured after a collision with a car on Gough Street. Last October a stolen Jeep crashed on Octavia between Lily and Page streets. Less than a week later a drunk driver drove his car into a corner store on Hayes and Fillmore. And the same day (October 23rd was a bad one), a pedestrian was killed by a tour bus in front of City Hall. 

Big accidents aside, even the small annoyances of unenforced traffic laws, such as blocking a crosswalk, can take a toll on the overall tone of neighborhood safety. In addition, more and more people are moving in to the area. "As housing development and condos continue being built in Hayes Valley the traffic is increasing," pointed out a board member of the HVNA at a meeting on Thursday evening. 

A 2012 study of traffic collision data caused SFPD to launch the "Focus on Five" campaign, after identifying five key factors that result in traffic collisions. They are driving at an unsafe speed, red light violations, failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, failure to yield while making a left or u-turn, and failure to stop at a stop sign. 

In an attempt to stifle these behaviors SFPD set an expectation that every police district should have these five violations make up 50% of its total traffic citations. Thus far only one station has gotten close to that goal: Richmond. 

In an interview with Streetsblog earlier this year Mannix voiced apprehension about the asking officers to meet traffic violation quotas. "it’s a very fine line between issuing a quota to police officers to do something — they observe a violation and cite it. I cannot, by law, make them go out and issue a citation," she said. 

The meeting will be held at 7pm tonight at the Korean American Center, located at 745 Buchanan St.