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Advocates, Leaders Push to Keep Pedestrians, Bicyclists Safe in San Francisco

Following two pedestrian deaths in four days in San Francisco, Supervisor Matt Haney will introduce a resolution to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that would declare a state of emergency for traffic safety in the city and take immediate measures to rectify it.

Several organizations and city officials gathered Tuesday morning for a rally on the steps of City Hall to speak out against traffic violence and to urge the city to declare the emergency.

Michael Evans, 54, of San Francisco, died Thursday when he was struck by a vehicle at Fifth and Market streets. Oscar Matus, 65, of Lathrop has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to police.

Benjamin Dean, 39, of Clovis, died Sunday when he was struck by a vehicle at Taylor and O'Farrell streets. Kelsey Mariah Cambridge, 21, of Vallejo, has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and running a red light.

Haney said that hopefully the state of emergency would cause the city to respond in a proactive, urgent and sweeping way, and that the way it is currently treating traffic safety is too slow and reactive.

"It's not reflecting the crisis that's on our streets," he said.

Some of the possible measures to increase safety would be immediate increased traffic enforcement, speed safety cameras, lower speed limits and additional red light cameras.

Walk San Francisco, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Haney were joined at Tuesday's rally by interim San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation Tom Maguire, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and a representative for Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, among others.

Maguire said that he has heard the call to get safety improvements on the street faster.

"The only acceptable number of fatalities on our streets is zero," he said.

Wiener said that the city isn't making the progress that it needs to make quickly enough.

"It's time to take traffic enforcement so much more seriously in this city," he said. "It's like the Wild West out there."

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