Why We Do This

I saw this sign at Fell and Broderick on my way to pick up my son, today.  The woman who was killed at this intersection was Melissa Hope.  She was 24.  She died in September but this is the first time I noticed the sign.

This is why Jon and I started this project.  We do not want the next memorial to be on Monterey Blvd.  The chances of it being a memorial for someone we know, someone in our own homes is too high

Friends of Monterey is primarily about  finding ways to improve our street.  More than that, though, we hope that FOM can be a way to help people from all over the City express their desire for a calmer, more sane and livable place.  Everyone of us represents and is represented by our wonderful city.  Every person killed on our streets is someone we should keep in our thoughts and remember for being one of us.

Please.  Slow down.  Work for a better Monterey.  Work for a better San Francisco.  We do not need another roadside memorial.  We have enough.

More on this story at Bike NOPA, and the Examiner.

posted by Adrienne Johnson

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4 responses to “Why We Do This

  1. Thanks for emphasizing safety — and slower speeds — on Monterey and throughout the city. Appreciate the mention of BIKE NOPA also. When I started my blog focused on bicycling and livability in NOPA — just 30 square blocks — I quickly became surprised at how much there was to cover. I look forward to your work on Monterey.

  2. It is my understanding that the pedestrian killed, Melissa Hope Dennison, was jaywalking in the dark across one of the busiest arterial streets in the City.

    The driver has not been cited for speeding. Of course, any time a pedestrian is hurt, the driver may bear some responsibility. We will have to wait for the police report on that.

    What’s missing from your article is any sense that walkers need to exercise good judgment and also obey the law. From first appearances, it appears the victim in this case did neither.

    You weaken your argument about creating safer streets when you reflexively blame speeding or law-breaking by car drivers as the cause of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents.

  3. @ dana. Please see my post of 2/08 about the conclusion of the Dennison case:
    http://ibikenopa.blogspot.com/2010/02/no-criminal-charges-in-fell-street.html .

    From my review of the Police Report, talking with the Hit & Run Inspector who investigated, and talking with the Asst. DA: No witness said, in a statement, that Dennison was jaywalking, just the opposite. (The DA later said he believed the driver thought she was outside the crosswalk). She may have crossed against the light. The driver said he was travelling 35-40 mph in a 30 mph zone, and it was dark. But my purpose to the article was to present what facts are known and what information has been released and place them in a context of other issues of concern in the neighborhood. The public usually does not hear how a case is resolved other than a headline or a paragraph or two. Re: pedestrians: Walkers always need to exercise good judgment and that is always the first comment made when a pedestrian is hit by a motorist. I do not believe speeding is to blame for all ped and bike accidents. But I do think law enforcement needs to be more sensitive to vulnerable users of the road, and they should have the legal means to pursue consequences for all parties who are responsible for a tragedy like the death of Melissa Dennison.

  4. When driving anywhere, one should take their surroundings into account. When driving on a street that is lined by homes, one should assume that there will be people who could walk in front of them at any moment. It is our responsibility under the law to always drive in a manner that allows us time to react to situations exactly like this. Oak and Fell streets are designed to encourage people to drive to fast for the conditions that surround them (crowded, dense, residential)

    I don’t need to remind people to watch themselves in the street, they know that already. But the fact remains, even if Ms. Dennison was “in the wrong”, jaywalking is not a crime that is punishable by death. Stepping off the curb should not endanger your life.

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