The San Francisco Examiner and Joe Rodrigeuz report on an unusual protest Friday morning where fifty senior citizens carried out a protest at Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue. This intersection is described as the City’s most dangerous according to the Department of Public Health. One senior carried a sign that read “Don’t Target Me” as she rolled her walker across the crosswalk.
Being able to walk and the ability to get to shops and services is crucial to seniors. These seniors have noted that there is a short pedestrian crossing time at the intersection, meaning that seniors have to go to other intersections in order to cross the street. In response the City Traffic Engineer said that the “pedestrian crossing times for key intersections — in particular, Third Street — would soon gain new walking times to favor a slower pace. For the past years we’ve been changing the 4.0 feet per second clearance times to the newer 3.5 feet per second slower walking rate. We are in the process of upgrading the transit priority and pedestrian signal timing programming to meet the newer 3.5 feet per second guidance.”
There are a few things that are odd here-one is that this is seen as a “slower” instead of a more “median” walking speed when it is clear that the intersection has been ranked problematic for elderly pedestrians.Secondly, the seniors are still not happy, as this proposed pedestrian crossing speed is still not optimum for them. They’ve worked out that their group needs crossing times lowered to 3 feet per second. And they have the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices to back them up. That manual recommends 3 feet per second as the acceptable ratio on high pedestrian traffic areas used by seniors, something that people with disabilities would also like to have implemented.
“During the protest, a motorist driving a Nissan Altima nearly made the point for seniors by careening around a corner…One protester, a senior woman, marched up to the car before it had a chance to cut off the group of seniors. Standing in front of the Nissan, she held aloft a sign that read “Dying to Cross.”