Pedestrian and traffic in San Francisco's Financial District. (Mark Andrew Boyer/KQED).
Pedestrian and traffic in San Francisco’s Financial District. (Mark Andrew Boyer/KQED).

San Francisco has recorded its seventh pedestrian fatality of 2014.

Police say a car struck and killed a man near the corner of Van Ness and Golden Gate avenues about 11 p.m. Sunday night. The city’s medical examiner’s office identified the man killed as Il Sun Im, 72.

Im reportedly was crossing Van Ness outside a crosswalk when a northbound driver hit him. Police say the driver remained at the scene, has cooperated with investigators and has not been cited or arrested because there was no evidence of criminal negligence.

The advocacy group Walk San Francisco says Im was the fourth pedestrian to die along Van Ness this year. The group’s executive director, Nicole Schneider, says the mile-and-a-half stretch of Van Ness between Broadway and Mission is very wide, characterized by high-speed traffic, and is a known high-injury corridor for pedestrians.

In an interview Monday with KQED’s Ted Goldberg, Schneider said the ongoing pedestrian toll, which includes an estimated three pedestrian-vehicle accidents every day, shows the need to make the city’s transportation infrastructure safer.

“We have a really old transportation system that unfortunately is failing us in terms of pedestrian injuries and all traffic injuries,” Schneider said.

She went out of her way to praise San Francisco law enforcement agencies for increasing enforcement of traffic laws since the first of the year.

Police “are out on the streets more, they’re targeting the most dangerous streets, they’re targeting the most dangerous behaviors that will lead to fatalities,” Schneider said. “And the D.A.’s office has proposed a vehicular manslaughter unit to address all the at-fault collisions and drivers that have led to fatalities and take them more seriously.”

Mayor Ed Lee, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency and the Board of Supervisors have signed on to a campaign called Vision Zero, which aims to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Francisco over the next decade. It includes plans for safety improvements along dozens of streets, including Van Ness.

But the impact of that commitment to make the streets safer has yet to be felt. Schneider noted that this year’s pedestrian death toll, seven, matches the number recorded by this date last year.

This post includes reporting from Bay City News.

  • You would think that Schneider’s group would be interested in the UC study that found that the city’s method of counting traffic injuries—relying on police reports and not counting injuries treated at SF General—is radically flawed. That means we don’t really know how safe/unsafe our streets are.

  • Sean Karlin

    If the 101 connected all the way to the Golden Gate bridge, much of the traffic passing through the city would never need to hit the streets.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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