A procession of city officials walked through some of San Francisco's most traffic-congested areas Thursday morning to promote pedestrian safety and walkability on city streets.
The annual Walk to Work Day event, led by Walk San Francisco, began this morning at Howard and Russ streets, where city officials activated a new mid-block traffic signal to allow pedestrians to cross the busy roadway safely.
Afterward, the procession, which included Mayor Mark Farrell, Board of Supervisors president London Breed and supervisors Jane Kim, Hillary Ronen, Norman Yee, Sandra Lee Fewer, Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin, among others, marched to City Hall.
"When you walk to work, you don't only feel great, but you discover new things about San Francisco and I think that's one of the great things of this city, how walkable it is," Farrell said on the steps of City Hall.
"Last year we had the lowest number of accidents in the city of San Francisco in 100 years on our streets, which is awesome, but we need to do more," Farrell said.
"Any death on our roads is unacceptable and whether it's a motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, people who use public transportation or people who do everything, we need to make our roads safer and I will just say that as mayor of this city you have my commitment to do so," he said.
"When I grew up in San Francisco, we used to walk together to school as kids and when we saw a senior crossing the street, we would often times take them by hand and walk them across the street. We looked out for one another," Breed said.
"As the city changes, as we increase in population, there is so much work to do with our infrastructure to make sure that the people who are walking in our streets, especially our seniors, are safe," she said.
In 2014, city officials with the help of then-Mayor Ed Lee, adopted the Vision Zero policy which aims to have zero traffic-related deaths in San Francisco by 2024 and also hopes to set an example for other major U.S. cities.
"Back in 2014, during Mayor Lee's Administration, we came together as a city and decided that we're no longer going to accept that people are being seriously hurt or killed as they're just trying to get around our city," San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation Ed Reiskin said.
"And we did it the Ed Lee way. It was folks working together. You don't often see supervisors agreeing on something, but they agree on this," Reiskin said.
"Vision Zero is about a vision," police Chief Bill Scott said. "It's also about respect. Safety on the roadway is about respecting everyone else; respecting pedestrians when you're a motorist; respecting bicyclists when you're a pedestrian; respecting each other and that is up to us."
As part of the day, organizers set up Walk to Work Day "hubs" around the city this morning that featured free coffee, treats and special tote bags.
Today's event was made possible through a partnership with Walk SF and Walkup, Melodia, Kelly and Schoenberger, a San Francisco-based law firm that represents injured pedestrians and bicyclists in the Bay Area, Walk SF officials said.