SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Mixed reaction from those who walk and bike through the streets of San Francisco as the city begins to consider lowering the speed limit on some streets to just 20-miles-per-hour.
Right now, all neighborhood streets are to be treated as 25-mile per hour zones but many of those roads don’t have posted speed limit signs and this new proposal would change that.
This would still be quite a long way off but the intention is to help lower the number of traffic deaths we see in San Francisco.
According to the city’s Vision Zero report card, there have been 25 traffic deaths so far this year, 15 of those are pedestrians.
Cheryl Blain walks along Pacific Avenue from the ferry building each day.
“I knocked on his hood to make sure he knew hey I was there,” Blain said.
She says she appreciates the city trying to help pedestrians but believes the issue of traffic deaths goes far beyond the speed limit itself.
“I see people going the wrong way. I see people doing illegal u-turns. I don’t think speed is the issue, I think people paying attention is the issue. I think pedestrians need to pay attention and drivers need to pay attention,” Blain said.
“The small roads are the worst, people don’t stop at stop streets,” Vanniekerk said.
Ed Vanniekerk has had his fair share of close calls too.
“I think making a speed limit and getting people to adhere to it are two different things,” Vanniekerk said.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee voted on a resolution to set maximum speeds to 20-miles-per-hour on the smaller, neighborhood streets citywide.
“Any place where you see a speed limit, that won’t change but the streets adjacent to it will go down to 20-miles-per-hour,” Winston said.
Jon Winston agrees enforcement of the law, and better engineering of the streets also needs to be addressed but says studies show speed is what kills.
“If you’re going 20-miles-per-hour, you’re much less likely to kill someone when you hit them than when you’re going 25-miles-per-hour. I think that that’s people’s right to be spaced out on the street once in a while, and the price for not paying total attention all the time should not be death,” Winston said.
Now there are some changes that need to happen at the state level before this can even be considered by the Board of Supervisors.
Right now, there’s a push to try and lower speed limits statewide, but they’re being blocked by the 85th percentile rule, which means the speed at which 85-percent of motorists drive, is how the state determines a speed limit.