Mother Jones Magazine * April 2001

Outlines In Outrage

by Danielle Svetcov

San Franciscans call him "Ped-man." They know his work but not his face. That's how Ken Kelton likes it. In the half-light of morning he climbs into his red pickup and drives to the site of the latest pedestrian fatality in San Francisco, which has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the nation. He finds the addresses in the newspaper. There are plenty of fatality reports to respond to: 25 in 1999, 30 in 2000. At the accident site, he unloads folding barricades, traffic cones, and Louie, his plywood "dead-guy stencil." The whole process takes only a few minutes. But the message he leaves behind - the film-noir-like outline of a spray-painted body - is meant to last. Kelton's message to City Hall and careless drivers: How long can we accept this level of carnage? The streets must be reengineered with pedestrians in mind, he says. Until then, he will continue his painting. After outlining approximately 120 bodies on San Francisco streets, Kelton says, "We must do something about traffic before it kills us all." 

NOTE: The above photograph by Sarah Kehoe reads "Bicyclist run down." Inside the outline reads "Killed here by traffic."  The date spray-painted on the asphalt is "11-17-00."  Although there is no mention of Chris Robertson, or even bicyclist deaths, in the article, this is a photograph of the site of his death. - LaurenJo


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