Will another gruesome Muni death stir Nat Ford to action?

The Examiner and the Chronicle both report on a disturbing incident which occurred Wednesday in the Sunset District. A man attempted to board the N-Judah around 9pm when the doors evidently closed on him. The train proceeded to drag him for 2 blocks. Authorities pronounced him dead upon arrival.

Just one day before, Muni Executive Director Nat Ford expressed his desire at MTA’s January 15th meeting to address the dire pedestrian problems facing Muni.

In conjunction with Local 250A we are implementing a proactive comprehensive safety educational program regarding our pedestrians and pedestrian safety throughout the City. We will leverage a host of communication outlets and we are developing specific details that will be finalized in the near future and I’ll keep you apprised as they evolve.

One of the activities which we need to have you place on your calendar is a first ever pedestrian safety summit that will be held Thursday, February 28. We are attempting to provide a forum for stakeholders, members of the community, and industry experts to examine and discuss the status of, one, our pedestrian masterplan, pedestrian safety, and recent safety incidents in and around the City as well as other programs promoting walkability in the City. So we’d like for you to please save that date and additional information on all of our programs to enhance pedestrian safety will be underway.

We have a host of capital projects to improve pedestrian signals, countdown signals that are being installed and enhanced. We have operator training that is occurring with both our bus and LRV operators, and we are coordinating all of these activities with the SFPD and there is more to come so I’ll keep you advised as that program progresses.

Municipal Transportation Agency Meeting, January 15, 2008 [21m:33s]
(Agenda) (Video) (Audio RSS)

Nat Ford is taking a step in the right direction. But, let’s hope these planned meetings will have some teeth. What is teeth?

Teeth would be changing Muni employment contracts so that there is an immediate, financial repercussion for operators involved in pedestrian injury or deaths. For example, a one-week UNPAID leave during an investigation of fault.

Teeth would be creating true transit-only lanes on our City streets so our City transit no longer has to weave in and out of pedestrian and personal vehicle traffic. Bus lanes don’t work. Grade separated lanes with curb boundaries and rumble strips, those used for true BRT implementation, DO work. Transit, pedestrian and vehicle traffic do not mix well. We need to separate them as much as possible.

Mr. Ford is taking a step in the right direction. Keep going.

UPDATE: The N-Judah Chronicles blog has good coverage and discussion as usual.

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4 Responses to Will another gruesome Muni death stir Nat Ford to action?

  1. njudah says:

    hey thanks for the link!

    I am trying to attend said “summit” – these things are a nice start, but how that gets out to the general public and changes behavior is tricky. let’s hope all involved move forward so we don’t have as many accidents like we did the other day!

  2. kfarr says:

    @njudah: I tried to find mention of the pedestrian safety summit on Google but found no success. I’ll try to remember to search again in a week or two, maybe it will appear as an event on some sfgov site.

  3. Bob says:

    I’m sort of afraid to take any public transit whenever I come to visit…

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