Attempt Made to Improve Pedestrian Safety on 19th Avenue
August 28, 2006 11:21 PM
A bill that aims to make 19th Avenue safer for pedestrians has been introduced to state lawmakers, again.
Proposed by Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/Daly City, AB 2398 is essentially the same bill that was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate and Assembly last year, but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If passed, the state will make 19th Avenue a double-fine zone for major driving violations such as speeding and drunken driving.
For SF State students who regularly use the crosswalk at the corner of Holloway and 19th Avenue, the bill may mean a less hazardous walk to school, as the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco ranks it as the fourth most dangerous intersection in the city.
Joined by bicycling activists and family members of victims of automobile accidents, Yee announced the reintroduction of the bill on Friday, Aug. 25 in front of the Scottish Rite Masonic Center on the corner of Sloat Boulevard and 19th Avenue.
“The loss of human life and suffering caused by the staggering number of accidents along 19th Avenue clearly warrants this legislation,” Yee said.
According to Yee, over the past eight years there have been 1,676 motor vehicle accidents on the stretch of road, including 15 deaths, nine of which were pedestrians. In 2003, Srijaya Dalton, 22, was killed in a hit and run incident while crossing 19th Avenue a day after graduating from SF State.
The large number of SF State students who walk and ride bikes along 19th Avenue and frequent the crosswalk is just another major justification for the legislation said Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Yee.
“They are especially vulnerable,” Keigwin said. “We basically have a thoroughfare through the university. Hopefully the bill will save some lives.”
Because 19th Avenue, which begins at Junipero Serra Boulevard and runs through Park Presidio to Lake Street, is essentially a segment of Highway 1, the state has jurisdiction over the stretch of road, not the city of San Francisco. As a result, any new laws or rules pertaining to the thoroughfare need to be approved by the state Assembly and Senate.
If approved, the double-fine law would apply to the stretch of 19th Avenue beginning at Junipero Serra Boulevard through Park Presidio to Lake Street.
The double-fine law would mean, for example, that a normal reckless driving ticket at $145 would automatically be doubled to $290.
On Sept. 7 of last year, Schwarzenegger based his veto of Yee’s first bill, AB 452, on a California Department of Traffic study that said double fine zones are not effective alone, and that they must be accompanied with stricter law enforcement, public awareness campaigns, and tougher safety regulations.
But this time around, Yee said he hopes recently approved Caltrans funding for 19 intersection upgrades, including safety lighting, pedestrian signals, vehicle detectors and crosswalk striping for the stretch of road will convince Schwarzenegger and push the bill through to law.
“We are going to see what happens,” Keigwin said.
The bill is likely to be approved by state lawmakers. Last time legislators approved the bill: 24-13 in the Senate and 55-21 in the Assembly. If the bill is approved, Schwarzenegger will have until Sept. 30 to veto it or it will automatically become law.
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