Proposition Q - Pedestrian Safety Fund

Voter Guide
November 1, 2000
This measure appeared on the November 2000 San Francisco ballot.
 

What it does

Proposition Q is a non-binding statement of policy that encourages San Francisco to create a Pedestrian Safety Fund that would at a minimum include the baseline funding provided in the city’s 2000-01 budget for the “Livable Streets” program. The measure also asks that the city divert a portion of fees and fines collected from violations related to pedestrians into the fund. The fees would be spent to promote the “health and safety of pedestrians.”

Why it is on the ballot

As planners often point out, the issue of pedestrian safety gets right to the heart of what makes San Francisco a great city. The quality of our streets, not merely as places to pass through, but as places to be—as the largest and most important network of public space in the city—helps give the city its urban character. When the streets are dangerous to pedestrians, the city cannot function.

After decades of policies that have compromised pedestrian safety (often going back to New Deal-era narrowing of sidewalks to accommodate increased car traffic from the new bridges), the city is starting to wake up to the primacy of the pedestrian. A host of measures have been proposed, which range from public education to physically redesigning streets so that they control traffic speeds and protect people on foot.

The city, as had been noted, has already dedicated $2.4 million to issues related to pedestrian safety. The problem, well acknowledged by all, is that it takes the city a good deal of time to complete tasks as seemingly mundane as placing a stop sign and that there is not nearly enough funding in the city budget to do most larger projects. This is the context from which Prop. Q emerges.

Pros

Those who support this measure state:

  • This is a serious issue that warrants a voter “wake up call” to city leaders to stimulate them to do something substantial.

Cons

Those who oppose this measure state:

  • Prop. Q is a non-binding statement of policy that would be better managed through the normal budget and administrative functions of city government. The Mayor or the Board could create this fund—or simply, for instance, triple the money in Livable Streets program so that real work can be done to fix this problem.
  • The amount generated from fines will be tiny, meaning that very little would be added to the fund.

SPUR's analysis

This is a non-binding statement of policy that encourages San Francisco to create a Pedestrian Safety Fund, which would be funded by the current baseline funding from the city’s Livable Streets program ($2.4 million) and from fines collected from violations of approximately 10 sections of the California Vehicle Code that relate to pedestrians, such as failing to yield the right-of-way in a crosswalk or jay-walking. Additional funds generated from these fines are somewhere between $150,000 to $500,000 annually, for a total if $2.5 to $3 million per year.

While Prop. Q is so weak that the Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco don’t even have a position on it, SPUR supports it as a small gesture towards the seriousness of the issue of pedestrian safety.

SPUR recommends a "Yes" vote on Proposition Q.