Case Studies

San Francisco: Improving by Policy

San Francisco has made itself a more walkable community through a variety of policy approaches. The city first passed a Better Streets Policy in 2006 to create a unifed set of standards, guidelines, and implementation strategies for its pedestrian environment.

While agencies coordinated to create the Better Streets Plan, however, residents were still being hurt on the streets. Between 2005 and 2008, San Francisco averaged about 800 pedestrian injuries a year.

In December 2010, the same month the Better Streets Plan was approved, then Mayor Newsom issued an Executive Directive (which was reaffirmed by Mayor Edwin Lee) to channel agency goals toward reducing pedestrian injuries. The directive created a pedestrian safety task force to coordinate agency efforts, and it called for both shortterm safety improvements and the creation of a long-term pedestrian strategic plan.

The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, to be published in 2012, will include measurable performance indicators to help hold agencies accountable to the plan’s goals and ensure that implementation strategies address existing safety challenges.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has also been developing health-impact assessment tools to better examine future pedestrian needs and judge how ongoing and upcoming plans, such as road pricing and the Treasure Island Community Transportation Plan, will affect public health.

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.