We all instinctively know that it’s far worse to be hit by a vehicle going 40 miles per hour than 20 miles per hour, but the data makes this even clearer. On February 5, Supervisor Mar led an important hearing highlighting the public health, environmental, safety and sustainability impacts of lowering speed limits in San Francisco.
At the hearing, Supervisor Mar released an important report highlighting the impacts of reducing speed in San Francisco, and the policy and enforcement options to reduce speed. Tom Maguire, the Director of Livable Streets; Megan Weir of the Department of Public Health; Commander Ann Mannix of the San Francisco Police Department; and Ricardo Olea, Senior Engineer at the SFMTA, all spoke to highlight the positive benefits that come with slower streets.
Reducing speed is a critical part of Vision Zero, the City’s goal to eliminate all traffic traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024, because implementing lower speeds is one of the most effective ways to reduce both the rate and the severity of collisions. As members of the Vision Zero Coalition, we look forward to working with our City partners and other community-based organizations to encourage San Francisco to build roads that reduce speeding and encourage all of us to pay more attention.
But beyond building roads that encourage people to drive at safer speeds, we need to make sure that people are following the speed limits that already exist. That means more enforcement from the San Francisco Police Department, but it also means policy changes at the state level to allow for measures such as automated safety enforcement, which will help ensure that people are following the law when it comes to speed limits.
In other cities across the country, automated speed enforcement has been shown to reduce traffic deaths by as much as 60%. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the rest of our Vision Zero partners are excited to announce that we’ll be working with the SFMTA in Sacramento this year to change state law to allow for the use of automated safety enforcement as part of the City’s Vision Zero initiative.
We are excited to support Supervisor Mar’s efforts in highlighting the impact reduced speeds can have in San Francisco, and we appreciate his leadership and the comments of his colleagues in the room. We look forward to working with him and the rest of our City champions to find ways to build slower and safer streets, to implement stronger and more efficient enforcement strategies, and to change current policies to prioritize slower speeds.