Woman Killed on Ocean Avenue by Driver of SF Water Department Truck

IMG_1507.jpgPolice investigate the scene where a woman was struck and killed by a PUC truck on Ocean Avenue today.

A city employee driving a Water Department truck struck and killed a
woman in a crosswalk on Ocean Avenue this afternoon, just minutes before
a Muni bus driver in another part of San Francisco struck a second
pedestrian.

The Water Department driver was turning left onto eastbound Ocean
Avenue from Miramar Avenue when he struck the victim, 63-year-old Xiu Fang Huang, who was attempting
to cross Ocean Avenue, said Tyrone Jue, a spokesperson for the San
Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The San Francisco Police Department wasn’t able to confirm details of
the crash on Tuesday afternoon, but Khalil Judie, an eyewitness at the
scene, reported that the traffic light on Miramar was yellow when the driver
entered the intersection and began his turn.

Judie had just disembarked from the K-Ingleside streetcar when he
witnessed Huang struck and run over by the truck driver. "I ran up
to her right away, and she just lifted her head, looked up at us, and
dropped it," he said.

More details of the crashes and photos after the break. Warning: some of the images are graphic.

IMG_1504.jpgThe victim lies covered as police investigate.

Someone from the truck, either the driver or one of the two
passengers, immediately ran up to Huang and began praying,
evidently aware she was gravely injured, said Judie.

"I just keep imagining if that were my grandma," said Judie.

The crash occurred at 1:38 p.m., and police were continuing to
investigate at the scene later this afternoon. Jue said police took the
driver away for further testing. His two passengers remained at the
scene.

"They had completed a job on Junipero Serra and Holloway replacing a
two-inch irrigation service line," Jue explained. "They came over here,
took a short break, and then they were en route to the other part of the
city, over on Pacific Avenue to do a new installation of a water
service line."

One woman who happened upon the scene after the crash occurred said
she wasn’t surprised someone was killed on Ocean Avenue. "Most the cars
that come through here, they want to bum rush you across the street,"
said Alice Smith, who walks along Ocean Avenue regularly. "If you’re
disabled, older, like I am, I can’t move that fast, and they get right
up on you, practically a foot away from you, to try and make you hurry
up and go across."

The second crash occurred three minutes later when the driver of a
9-San Bruno bus hit a female pedestrian at San Bruno Avenue and Burrows
Street. The Appeal reports that the victim was in critical condition at
San Francisco General Hospital this afternoon.

"Per normal procedure, the Muni Operator (hired in 2000) involved in
the accident has been placed on non-driving status and will be tested
for drugs and alcohol," said MTA spokesperson Judson True.

Both investigations were ongoing as of Tuesday afternoon.

IMG_1514.jpgThe scene of a fatal pedestrian crash at Ocean Avenue and Miramar Avenue.

IMG_1508.jpgPolice remove the victim’s body from the crash scene.
IMG_1521.jpgPolice clean blood from the scene of a fatal crash at Ocean Avenue and Miramar Avenue.

  • Nick

    Sorry to hear about the lady and her family’s loss.

    Ocean Avenue is a dangerous street. The very definition of “cut-thru.” I saw my first dead bicyclist there in the 90’s. I was hit-an-run myself near City College just last year while cycling to work.

    The location of this accident (Ocean at Miramar) is the same as where an LRV ran over a young woman a few years back. The MUNI boarding islands take all kinds of abuse from cars. Look closely at the metal rails. Most of them have a “lean” to them as they have been bent forward by car crashes. In January, a car totaled a “SLOW 10 MPH” sign near an elementaty school. There were skid marks on the raised boarding area.

    There are no bulb-outs to help pedestrians cross. Traffic lights are timed to keep cars moving. The street was repaved and new lighting installed around 2000. I was hoping for a bike lane. We got sharrows instead.

    To help save a life, I’ll pass along this information. Ocean Avenue (at San Fernando) has a problem. There is another traffic light 100 feet away that superimposes it’s image in larger view. At night, about 10% of drivers get confused and run the red. It’s accident rate is so high. If we had elected officials who walked the streets, they would have known about this. Instead they are disconnected and the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves.

  • phillco24

    I feel sad for the lady and her family. This can be a dangerous area for pedestrians and cars need to give pedestrians the right of way. On the other hand, people crossing the street need to wait for the walking signal and not try to run across the street on the last couple seconds of the walking signal.

  • soylatte

    Living in this part of town, I can say that I am completely amazed there are not more fatalities and serious injuries happening. Residential freeways, and highway exits everywhere. People (including Muni and city vehicles, of course) drive like crazy.

  • patrick

    My condolences to her family. I don’t know the area, but it sounds like a very dangerous place. I hope this will result in some safety improvements for the area.

  • Sam zhu

    I am so sorry to konw that. I hope the city hall need to do something
    about the ocean ave. Too many accident here, is no good for everybody
    who living here. God!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Laura Vitkavage

    I happened to be driving past the scene of this accident immediately after it happened. I was horrified. I’m so full of grief tonight. I called 911 when I saw the driver – or some other witness – struggling to compose themselves at the scene. I pulled off the road and watched as firetrucks and other rescuers fled to the scene, but I knew in my heart that the woman was already dead. It was a horrible scene. My heart goes out to the driver and his passenger, as well as the family of the woman who died. I’m very sorry. This was just such a tragic accident.

  • mike k

    condolences to the victims family and the victim, but as well as the driver… i saw it happen in front of my eyes, i wanted to cry but i felt nothing… i hope this incident shows all men and women around that you should ever take your chances in this city or get to comfortable

  • Jim

    Yesterday I was almost struck in a crosswalk right up the street on Ocean by some knucklehead. I live 1 block from where this happened. I cross there all the time and we need to do something about these drivers that don’t respect the law. I almost got hit and them walking home 1 hour later I see this. Poor lady. The KCBS reporter I talked to said that the 2 men in the crosswalk behind her said they definately had the right of way. If that’s true then I hope the guy does some jail time and never drives again.

  • Stan

    Nick’s comments are absolutely right. The traffic engineers working for the City view this neighborhood street as a funnel to slingshot traffic between I280 and 19th Ave. They’ve even proposed changing the 2 four way stop signs to traffic lights to further expedite the traffic flow. The traffic lights they have installed recently don’t even give priority to pedestrians – you have to get push there in time to get a signal that authorizes you to cross the street. Why can’t there always be a walk signal on a green light?

    The intersection at San Fernando is scary – I often cross there to get my daughter to Commodore Sloat Elementary school across the street. The brave crossing guard does her best, but a large number of drivers ignore their surroundings – they just barrel through there, or else block the crosswalks with the vehicles as they wait for the light at Junipero Serra.

    This is our transit first City. I wish there was someone who stood up for pedestrian safety.

  • Whoever installed those traffic lights needs to be made aware of Policy 25.4 of the Transportation Element of the General Plan: “Maintain a presumption against the use of demand-activated traffic signals on any well-used pedestrian street, and particularly those streets in the Citywide Pedestrian and Neighborhood Networks.”

    Ocean from Geneva to 19th is part of the Neighborhood Pedestrian Network so any demand-triggered lights that require pedestrian actuation there are an obvious violation of city policy.

  • rich

    I was walking down Miramar when this tragic accident happened. This incident was very intense and sad while everybody looked helpless at the poor victim lying face down on the pavement. Apparently she was breathing when I got there, but right when the ambulance came and flipped her over and cut open her shirt to check for vitals it was too late. It took less than two minutes to figure out there was nothing to do because she was already dead, then they covered her body. Please everybody watch where your driving and be more aware of your surroundings or something tragic like this may happen when it could have been prevented. My condolences to Xiu Fang Huang family, friends and loved ones. Sorry for your lose in a loved one in your family.

  • I simply dont get the logic of demand activated buttons that do nothing more than make the walk sign appear during a regular phase. Im in Fresno, and EVERY intersection is demand activated, it’s a pain in the ass. Pushing the button doesnt alter the length of time of the signals, or prevent turns, it just lights up the walking man*.

    There should be a statewide initiative to require the walking signal to always appear when traffic gets the green light.

    *After midnight all the city traffic lights turn red, and become controlled by senors, so the buttons are necessary. But why require them during the day?

  • The previous “car first” policy of the City traffic engineers is the direct cause of much injury, death, and sorrow. The focus has changed (though not in the very comprehensive way Sweden, for example, has approached pedestrian safety engineering) in recent years with some attention to pedestrian safety but there is a lot of “increase the speed of cars first” engineering here that needs to be undone, and it will take a very long time at this rate.

  • Sandie

    I was 2 cars behind the truck involved in the accident on Ocean minutes before the accident. It was turning left onto Faxon (by the Walgreen parking lot). Apparently it just made a loop and exited back onto Ocean by turning left from Mirama. What was it doing taking a ride around narrow streets with such a big truck & trailer?

  • Floris

    this is reallly sad this lady is my best friend’s grandma when she went to school today she was crying when she saw me. because i didnt know her grandma died until she started cryin and we didnt know why she started crying but we finally figured it out.it was because i was wearing all black today

  • i seen the part of the 2nd pic and my friend said the lady was her neighbor.

  • KMFL

    People drive like shit in the city. I commute to CCSF on bike everyday and often times drivers are freakin blind and inconsiderate. It’s everyone for themselves out there. I got into a bike accident before near the Walgreens. While laying in the middle of the street, drivers just sat there watching me. Nobody got out of their car to help. Some even just drove around me.

    I avoid Ocean Ave now and I take Holloway which is not that much better – less cars yes, but people like to run those stop signs. I’m always on an edge now. You cant be to careful though.

    People need to learn to respect each other on the road, whether youre a driver, biker, pedestrian, whatever. I’m always seeing drivers run lights way after they’ve turned red. You know who you are, and yes, you people are assholes.

  • Stan

    Thank you Eric for pointing out Policy 25.4 – I was not aware of it, and apparently our City government is not aware of it as well. There are pedestrian activated walk signs at the intersections of Ocean and San Fernando, Aptos, Brighton and Howth.

    I believe the Traffic department intends to install two more at the intersections of Ocean and Capitol and Ocean and Ashton. Then there will be no more stop signs on Ocean Avenue, and the traffic will be better flushed through our neighborhood. I sent an email months ago concerning this proposal, but of course I received no reply to these concerns.

    How do we get the City to follow City policy?

  • Filamino

    My condolences to the family. Tragic, because it looks like someone wasn’t paying attention more than anything. It’s a reminder that drivers need to pay attention (especially those on taxpayer’s payroll).

    I recently moved out after being a 20 year resident of the Ingleside. I walked/drove/rode the bus/biked Ocean Avenue virtually everyday, and there seems to be a lot of misinformation here.

    Nick, you don’t live here do you? There are LOTS of bulbouts all along Ocean Avenue. They were not part of the Streetscape Project back in 2000, but we neighborhood walkers fought for them and they were installed. I think they’re great and have helped make many of the crossings better. As for the bike lane, it was either remove some parking for bulb-outs, or remove all the parking for a bike lane. Merchants were against large amount of parking removal, so bulb-outs went in.

    I wish there was some way to make the islands more crash-proof too. One time I saw a driver run over the entire length of an island! Luckily, no one was standing on them, but it scares me to think about it. Still, it’s better than Taraval where there are no islands…

    Stan, I very much disagree with your stop sign assessment. Those stop signs on Ocean are the WORST thing that the nutcases at City Hall has done to the street. The problem is that stopping a wide street like Ocean at a narrow street makes it hard to see whose turn it is to go next. As a driver/pedestrian/bicyclist, I encounter this all the time. Everyone is looking at each other like “Who goes next?”. A typical scenario is: I start crossing, then a driver 1 in one direction moves because he didn’t see me so driver 1 stop, then the cross street driver 2 moves due to driver 1 stopped, then driver 2 doesn’t see pedestrian 2 crossing the other crosswalk almost hitting ped 2, etc. I have seen too many close calls and accidents caused by this confusion over the years. Contrary to some people here who say confusion slows traffic, it clearly has not worked here. I feel much safer crossing at the signals because it fixes this confusion. I avoid those stops signs whenever I can. If you think it’s hard crossing at San Fernando, try crossing at Capitol or Ashton.

    Another thing I notice is that after cars stop (or barely stop) at these stop signs, they speed up again. Police have issued tickets, but it doesn’t help because the stop signs are a design flaw in the street design. Police can’t fix that.

    As a daily K line rider, these stop signs add more delay to my ride anywhere. Anyone who takes the streetcar knows how much time it takes for these things to stop and accelerate. Those stop signs only add to the delay and danger from cars trying to get around the streetcars.

    That goes for the signals with pedestrian push buttons too. If Eric would have included all the text instead of just the part he wants you to see, you will read “Where (pedestrian push buttons) occur, the signal must be triggered to secure enough time to cross…and should not be used on streets except where there is no significant pedestrian traffic.” It’s those last 7 words that stick out. In all my years here, Ocean/San Fernando does NOT have significant pedestrian traffic, nor is there a bus stop here. Why should the sluggish K stop for zero cross traffic all day and night? That signal was put in to help pedestrians/children cross the street, and you only demonize it? That signal replaced a stop sign which had the same problem as the Ocean/Capitol/Ashton stop signs – confusion. If you don’t like pushing buttons, cross at Ocean/San Leandro instead since you have to pass by it on the way to the school.

    I will be very happy when those damn stop signs are removed. They will clearly do not work, and help clear up confusion. I think the signals can be properly timed so that drivers don’t speed up and maybe there is a timing scheme that can be made so that the streetcar can get a green whenever they close their doors. Can’t do that with stop signs.

  • Nick

    I mean there were no bulb-outs at Miramar to help pedestrians cross. And if anyone doesn’t think fast traffic is a problem on Ocean (buoyed by traffic signals btw), take a close look at the MUNI boarding island at Miramar and get back to me.

  • Stan

    Filamino, I reject the premise that the streets of city belong less to pedestrians than they do to people in motorized vehicles. That’s not how I see the world–we just may have to disagree about that.

    At present the traffic signals at Ocean and San Fernando turn red for Ocean Avenue traffic with alarming regularity – they cycle through green and red continually all day long. But pedestrians only have the right of way to cross at these green lights once a button has been pressed, even after the light has already turned green. A pedestrian safely and legally crossing the street will be no greater inconvenience to you at non-push button signal.

    Capitol and Ocean is a much easier intersection to navigate as a pedestrian than San Fernando and Ocean. Cars breeze through red lights at the latter all of the time. When traffic is bottled up at Junipero Serra, cars and trucks block off the crosswalks. Having a green light and walk signal gives one a very unrealistic sense of security there.

    The 4-way stop signs actually perform a very important traffic function on Ocean Avenue. The most common traffic bottleneck for the K-Ingleside are vehicles making left hand turns from Ocean Avenue. The two 4-way stop intersections at Ocean and Capitol Avenue and Ocean and Ashton Avenue (they are actually 3-way stops) allow motorists to make their left turn in an orderly manner that does not unduly block the Light Rail Vehicles that follow them. I would argue that we need more 4-way stops. At a 4-way stop the pedestrian always has the right of way.

    I was intrigued by this earlier posting on the Streetsblog San Francisco.

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/05/04/experimenting-with-the-elimination-of-traffic-lights/

  • Filamino

    I think the islands are getting hit more in the middle of the night when there is no one around. When that happens, people just assume they can go faster and end up not paying attention to the island. Maybe we need sand barrels or something?

    I disagree about Ocean/Capitol being easier to cross for pedestrians. Drivers run through the stop signs all the time because they just stopped again at Miramar or Faxon. Drivers then rush to beat the next signal light. It doesn’t matter if pedestrians have the right of way if drivers don’t obey it. If we had a signal here, the traffic flow would be smoother so drivers would not be pressured to beat the next light and actually stop at the red light. I find drivers stopping for red lights more often than coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. This is along Ocean and the City in general.

    I see what you are talking about on Ocean/San Fernando. You obviously cross the intersection in the morning/afternoon when school lets out. Yeah, I notice traffic increases quite a bit at those times (which also means it gets crazier too!). That’s probably why you see the lights cycle through since there are parents coming down San Fernando triggering the green light for that street. However, during other times of the day, this isn’t the case.

    I disagree about the left turns backing up the LRVs. The signals allow the left turners to turn one after the other which means the LRV only stops once. Once the left turners are gone the LRV can accelerate once and go. At stop signs, the LRV has to stop, go, stop, go just like a car. Cars may not have a problem with that, but LRVs are harder to stop and go which slows down the ride much more. What a nightmare that will be if more stop signs are added to Ocean Ave.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Pedestrian Struck By Cab Driver at Market and 5th

|
Onlookers on Market after a crash between a cab and a pedestrian. Photo: Ted Goldberg A pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by the driver of a cab near the intersection of Market and 5th Street this afternoon. Large numbers of onlookers gathered on Market Street following the crash, just after noon today. According to […]