June 22, 2016 will be a day that many San Franciscans remember for a very long time. Since that night, when two people died biking on our streets, our community has done so much grieving, mourning and rallying for change. And yet, our city leaders who are in positions of power to make change continue to repeat the same, well-intentioned speaking points they have for years. Here is what has — and just as significantly, what hasn’t — happened since June 22.
Before reading, though, please, please call on Mayor Ed Lee to use his powers for good and take immediate action to deliver safe streets.
Subject: Mayor Lee, we need your leadership
Text for your consideration and personalization: In 2016, San Francisco is on pace to set a new all-time high in traffic fatalities. The evening of Wed., June 22 is an unprecedented reminder of how much work is still needed to eliminate traffic deaths.
- Thursday, June 23 & Friday, June 24: Extensive media coverage was solemn and moving. (Incomplete list: KQED, SFist, SF Weekly, KTVU, witness in SoMa, open letter to the Mayor.)
- Friday, June 24 – Monday, June 27: People were moved to action. We’ve now received over 1,300 emails directed to Mayor Lee.
- Tuesday, June 28: 200 people interrupted their morning commutes to write Mayor Lee a postcard.
- Also Tuesday, June 28: SF Bike Party organized a moving vigil ride, with stops at the scenes of both fatal crashes.
- Wednesday, June 29: These preventable deaths drew national media attention with a segment aired nationally on NPR’s Here & Now.
- Thursday, June 30: Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim, Scott Wiener and Norman Yee, as well as members of the SF Bicycle Coalition, Walk SF and youth leaders from Chinatown Community Development Center spoke powerfully about the need for the City to act now to prevent further tragedies befalling people on our streets.
- Friday, July 1: Interim Executive Director Margaret McCarthy called for concrete action from Mayor Ed Lee on KQED’s Forum.
This whole time, the SF Bicycle Coalition has continued to grieve for the two people whose lives were needlessly cut short last week while biking on our streets. We know our pain is nothing compared to those close to both people who are no longer with us. Yet while we continue to mourn, we are working unceasingly to convince Mayor Ed Lee and the agencies who answer to him that specific, concrete actions are necessary to improve the safety of our streets immediately.
Mayor Ed Lee started Thursday, June 23 with a press conference. Joined by senior staff at the SFMTA and SFPD, Mayor Lee offered his “outrage” but his remarks fell far short of specific commitments for how he intends to deliver safe streets.
Despite being the addressee on at least 1,500 letters, Mayor Lee went an entire week without taking any action or saying another word about the unprecedented pair of deaths in one night.
Mayor Lee broke his silence yesterday with a statement about 57 “new” Vision Zero projects. While we were not aware that he would release this list prior to its being made public, the sad truth is that not a single one of these projects is new and even fewer are the high-quality protected bike lanes we need. Some date back to the original Vision Zero project list from 2014, many are long-delayed and a few are even already built. Blatantly missing from this list is JFK Drive, where one of the fatal collisions occurred. SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin apologized for the Mayor’s misuse of the word “new” on KQED’s Forum this morning.
Since two people died biking in San Francisco on June 22, the Mayor has offered nothing more than hollow promises and misinformation. It’s a shameful way to treat the deaths of two people, and the lives of those of us who remain to walk and bike in San Francisco. And it’s completely unacceptable behavior by a public servant with the power to do so, so much more.
Amid 10 days of inaction from Mayor Lee, it’s clear that he needs to hear from you. If you care about the safety of people walking and biking in San Francisco, please write the Mayor today.
The SFPD continues seeking the suspect driving the car who killed a person biking in Golden Gate Park. If you have any information, please call SFPD’s anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444.