Local media and officials from several agencies gathered Friday in Golden Gate Park to watch Mayor Ed Lee help a crew build the last of ten new speed humps fast-tracked after a series of fatal collisions occurred in June.
The humps are located along JFK Drive, starting west of Transverse Drive and continuing to Great Highway. According to SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, the speed humps are expected to reduce the number of speeding vehicles by 73 percent; improvements also include a raised crosswalk.
According to the SFMTA, JFK Drive is part of San Francisco's high-injury network—the 12 percent of streets where 70 percent of the city's serious and fatal collisions occur. The speed hump completed on Friday was near the site of a fatal hit-and-run in June where driver Nicky Garcia struck bicyclist Heather Miller.
As Lee touted the benefits of Vision Zero, an initiative intended to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024, a large flatbed filled with steaming asphalt stood at the ready.
"While we can't control criminal actions, we can certainly do everything we can to makes our streets safer, and that includes slowing down," said Lee, who added that it's "important to the city" that people feel "absolutely safe" while playing and biking in the park and elsewhere.
Wearing a fluorescent vest and a hard hat, the Mayor congratulated Department of Public Works, Rec & Parks and SFMTA for completing the speed humps quickly. In August, Lee issued a directive challenging the agencies to speed up near-term safety improvements, "so I want to thank all of them for getting this done," he said.
As the gate lifted on the back of the truck, photographers and attendees angled away from an acrid cloud of asphalt fumes. Once the truck's bed lifted and the material spilled forth, a DPT worker handed Lee a shovel.
"We're putting these speed bumps in other parts of the city, and find that they're very effective at slowing down traffic," said Reiskin. "Speed is the number-one killer, the number-one cause of severe and fatal collisions in the city, so this is a relative easy solution."
With the latest safety measures on JFK Drive completed, the Mayor said he hoped to do MLK Drive next, in addition to more neighborhood-based improvements. "Let's get Vision Zero really happening in San Francisco," said Lee.
Although Vision Zero became city policy in 2014, data released by the Department of Health in March 2016 indicated that the number of traffic fatalities did not decrease in the years following—despite the SFMTA meeting or exceeding many of its goals. In a meeting of the Muni Citizens' Advisory Council, an MTA senior planner Mari Hunter said, "...it takes a few years to see an actual trend."
To evaluate more long-term road safety improvements, the Rec & Park Department and SFMTA will hold a town hall discussion from 10am to noon Saturday, December 3rd at the County Fair Building (Lincoln Way & 9th Ave).