Driver Kills Woman in Crosswalk on Six-Lane, 40 MPH Sloat Blvd



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A 55-year-old San Francisco woman died early this morning at San Francisco General Hospital nearly ten hours after after she was hit by a driver while crossing Sloat Boulevard at Forest View Drive.

The 6:23 p.m. crash yesterday occurred as the victim attempted to cross six-lane Sloat Boulevard from the south. Using the crosswalk, she made it across the first three lanes to the wide median, but was struck by the driver of a Toyota Corolla heading westbound as she made her way across the final three lanes. The driver remained at the scene, and was not arrested, though Officer Samson Chan of the SFPD said the investigation is open and active. The SF Appeal, which first reported the crash, said the driver was a 68-year-old San Francisco resident.

Crossing Sloat at Forest View Drive is a daunting task for pedestrians: the speed limit on Sloat is 40 miles per hour, and Forest View Drive intersects it directly in the middle of a stretch almost a mile long without a single stoplight or stop sign for cars on Sloat. Pedestrians have little choice but to brave the six-lane boulevard, hoping to beat the cars, which have considerable room to pick up speed as they travel a full mile uninterrupted.

Manish Champsee, President of Walk SF, said that the conditions on Sloat call for traffic calming measures, likely starting with additional traffic lights and a lower speed limit. "If you’re talking about a mile long stretch without a traffic light, you could definitely use a traffic light," he said, warning that lowering the speed limit might be difficult without such a design change. Any changes to the street would require coordination with Caltrans, since Sloat Boulevard is State Route 35 between Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue.

Champsee also advised drivers and pedestrians alike to exercise caution in dark road conditions.

The mile-long stretch of Sloat between Lakeshore Plaza and 19th Avenue lacks a single traffic light, and separates important destinations like Stern Grove and Taraval Street to the north and Lowell High School, San Francisco State University and the Stonestown mall to the south. The street is also lined with residences on both sides.

Though stoplights can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Champsee said this stretch of street clearly deserves attention. "If you’re talking about a 40 mph speed limit," said Champsee, "some resources definitely need to be put in to slow the traffic down."

  • Whether it’s Sloat, Fell and Oak, 19th Avenue, Masonic, Monterey Blvd, and so many other SF streets, a whole lot more than attention and research are required to protect pedestrians. Where is the sustained public demand, the political commitment and the political will to make “Pedestrians First” when it comes to traveling on our streets, crosswalks and sidewalks? No criticism intended for anyone specifically, but when will each of us reach the point of “enough”?

  • Kat

    Sloat Blvd has scared me pretty much my whole life. Used to walk/bus down Sloat when I went to Lowell; now I have to cross it on what is by far the most annoying part of the N-S bike route from the Sunset to SFSU and even riding for two blocks between 19th and 21st terrifies me. It doesn’t surprise me to hear about another pedestrian death there; the drivers consider Sloat to be like another John Daly Blvd, except considering there is a park on one side including a playground, and a neighborhood full of shoppers/students and elderly people on the other side, it’s not the most appropriate place to go 40 mph. (No one goes 40 though. I drive on Sloat sometimes and most people go at least 45 if not 50 between 19th and Lakeshore Plaza.)

  • Not to mention the extremely inhospitable crossing for bikes at 34th Ave./Clearfield, which is in fact bike route 85 – the one I took to SFSU and back for a year. You’d think that a designated bike route would have accommodation at least beyond a green light that lasts no more than for a car to cross it (I could never cross northbound before the yellow hit). And that’s on top of a gigantic intersection with a slanted crossing with ZERO visibility measures for bikes.

    It’s streets like these that make you realize that it seems the only reason sidewalks weren’t completely erased was so drivers would still have a place to walk from their parked cars.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    I’m pretty sure that /is/ the only reason sidewalks weren’t erased.

  • Rich Hameister

    I was on the scene about a minute after it happened. One of the key aspects was that it was unlit and dark. It was at a time when the sun was pretty much down and the lights were just coming on. I am pretty sure that the crosswalk even had one of those new flourescent yellow crossing signs in the median. They had a similar issue on Sunset between Vicente and Sloat. They installed buttons on both sides and the median (I think) that now trigger flashing lights for the crosswalk. I can’t say that this would have averted the accident that night but it sure the hell would have made it a lot more apparent to the driver that someone was in that crosswalk. It has to be cheaper and better to put more of those crosswalk lights in the pavement than to put in more traffic lights. What an absolute tragedy. I am very saddened for her, her family, and the driver (whom I am sure is distraught).

  • BS

    Can someone explain to me why Sloat Blvd has SIX LANES? Given the lack of signalized crossings and excessive speed limit, this is THE MOST DANGEROUS street in SF for a pedestrian. Unfortunately the Outer Sunset seems to lack livable streets advocates, otherwise MTA could easily improve this street. Road diet, bike lanes and traffic signals are an easy start.

  • Aaron: “It’s streets like these that make you realize that it seems the only reason sidewalks weren’t completely erased was so drivers would still have a place to walk from their parked cars.”

    Better yet, to PARK their cars there!

  • With respect to the question of why Sloat has 6 lanes: Caltrans – Designs that kill.

    And a ped actually has to cross 9 lanes there, 2 parking lanes and a turn lane. Rather an epic journey just to get to your neighbors house.

  • Nick

    Sloat is part of Bike Route 50, the same route number as Market Street. If ever there was a chance to demand 2 lanes in each direction it is now. The Outer Sunset never gets attention from the livable streets community.

    I live out here so I know the area very well. Sloat only needs 2 lanes in each direction (west of 19th Avenue). The area where the lady was killed is frequently patrolled by motorcycle cops and just in the last month those electronic 40mph signs were installed. This is like the City acknowledging they have a design problem.

    In addition, the section of Sloat (West Portal to 19th Ave) needs a bike lane as there are bike/car conflicts there every hour. It currently has yellow cross-marks on the LEFT SIDE of the street. Flip it to the right and paint it white, and you have a bike lane. Why this has never been proposed is beyond me.

    I have a long memory and Sloat has had some horrific car crashes including:

    -May 1997: 3 Macateer High students were killed when their speeding car crahsed into a house near Forestview
    -1996-2000: One person a year was hit and killed on Sloat out by 45th-47th Avenues at night.
    -2004: A deranged person speeds down Sloat at 100mph and crashes into the Ocean
    -2008: A City College student is pinned against a street pole and dies at 19th and Sloat by an out of control car. All she was doing was waiting for the light to change so she could cross the street. This tragic accident prompts the drive for the 19th Avenue safety improvements.

  • I was just behind the group of traffic that hit this poor woman, and stopped to try and assist.

    The lighting along Sloat was horrible that night, not sure if the street-lights were functioning at 100% or even on for that matter. Our street-lights next to Lake Merced have been broken for the past week now.

  • I’m sorry to hear about this woman’s death. An unnecessary tragedy.

    I used to drive down this street a fair bit. It would be the perfect candidate for separated bicycle lanes:

    [sidewalk][bicycle][parking][car][car][median].

    It would make the area much more livable.

  • Cieearstrong85

    that is sad why do people have to drink and drive

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