Pedestrian Safety Double Fine Zones Coming to San Francisco Next Week

Here’s the problem – lots of drivers are blowing through San Francisco County going either from San Mateo County to Marin County or vice versa. This rush to and from the Golden Gate Bridge means danger to pedestrians on busy roads such as Van Ness, Lombard, 19th Avenue (yes “avenue” and not “street”) and Park Presidio.

So guess what – as of January 1, 2009, all or most of these roads will be designated Double Fine Zones thanks to Senate Bill 1149, authored by Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D. This was the scene this morning when he and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano explained it all at Van Ness and McAllister: 


Click to expand

So, who else supported making this change? Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the Board of Supervisors, WALK San Francisco, the Senior Action Network, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC), the MTA, the Chronicle, the Examiner, and on and on.

Hurray! At long last, hurray!

More deets after the jump.

Yee highlights driving safety for the holidays as double fine zones finally take effect

SAN FRANCISCO – Over four years ago, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) and other community members began an ambitious effort to help protect pedestrians along San Francisco’s deadly 19th Avenue, a major corridor connecting San Mateo and Marin counties. 

Through the years, several improvements have been delivered including pedestrian countdown signals, improved lighting, curb ramps, advance stop bar striping, more visible crosswalks, better timing of traffic signals, enhanced access to bus stops, new signage, speed limit reductions, and public awareness campaigns.  Despite the many improvements, pedestrian related accidents continue to plague the corridor, including five deaths in 2007.

Today, Yee and other pedestrian safety advocates unveiled signs designating the corridor a double fine zone, which the Senator believes is “the missing piece to the puzzle.” 

The signs are the result of a new law authored by Yee which takes effect January 1 and declares 19th Avenue (Highway 1 between the intersection of 19th Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard and the intersection of Highway 1 at Lake Street) as a Safety Enhancement-Double Fine Zone for a period of five years.  The law also creates a double fine zone on another dangerous San Francisco corridor – US Route 101 (Van Ness Avenue at Golden Gate Avenue to Lombard Street at Lyon Street).

“Finally, we now have the missing piece to the puzzle and can hopefully put an end to the loss of innocent lives, including students and elders, because of these high speed avenues,” said Yee.  “This new law is the result of hundreds of committed residents not giving up and fighting to make their neighborhood safer.”

Yee has been working to create a double fine zone along 19thAvenue since 2004 when he was in the Assembly, with one bill that was vetoed by the Governor and two that stalled in committee. 

“We praise Senator Yee for his persistence in pursuing a double fine zone for 19th Ave,” said Manish Champsee, President of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian safety advocacy organization. “Studies have shown that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the more likely and more deadly a crash with a pedestrian will be.”

Under the new law, base fines for unlawful passing and overtaking, excessive speed, reckless driving, drunken driving, and other similar serious moving violations will be doubled.  Current base fines range from $25.00 (for speeding up to 15 mph over the limit) to $500 (for reckless driving causing great bodily injury).  Adding local and state assessments and the new double fine, tickets will range from $137.50 (for speeding over the limit up to 15 mph) to $2,750.00 (for reckless driving causing great bodily injury).

The law also allows the Department of Transportation to collect data to establish permanent statewide criteria for pedestrian safety-double fine zones.

From 2003 through 2007, there were more than 589 collisions, including 64 involving pedestrians, along 19th Avenue.  These accidents resulted in 669 injuries and 10 pedestrian deaths.  Along Van Ness Avenue, there were more than 527 collisions of which 71 involved pedestrians, resulting in 590 injuries and 5 pedestrian deaths.

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One Response to “Pedestrian Safety Double Fine Zones Coming to San Francisco Next Week”

  1. Akbar Pansaki says:

    I’m sick of nearly getting hit by idiots on these streets and glad we’re doing something about it. I saw someone on Van Ness last week brazenly run a red light and get completely pwned by a red-light camera. I’m sure he’ll whine when he gets the ticket in the mail. Is there a way we can report the license plates of these morons if they don’t get tickets another way?