Woman Hit By Driver on Park Presidio Remains in Critical Condition

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A woman struck by an SUV driver while crossing Park Presidio Boulevard in the Richmond District Tuesday afternoon remains in critical condition, according to San Francisco Police.

Officer Eric Chiang told Streetsblog the woman was crossing the residential highway westbound along Anza Street when a 92-year-old male driver turning left onto Park Presidio from the same direction crashed into her. The driver “wasn’t paying attention” at the time of the crash, the SFPD told the Examiner. The woman in her 50’s may have incurred life-threatening injuries to her pelvis and head.

The potentially fatal crash is indicative of the dangerous walking conditions caused by the high-speed, high-volume motor traffic traveling on Park Presidio.

“Park Presidio is basically a highway running through a residential area, so it’s a dangerous situation,” said WalkSF executive director Elizabeth Stampe. “It really points to the need by the city to do traffic-calming on its big arterial streets where people get injured the most.”

The one-mile road connects elevated freeways in Golden Gate Park and the Presidio along California’s Highway 1 route, and nearby residents say many drivers there stay stuck in a highway mentality, neglecting to look for pedestrians.

“A lot of drivers, especially there, just look for other drivers while turning onto the street, not realizing there’s somebody still crossing,” said Therese Bataclan, a former resident of the Inner Richmond District who regularly crossed the road to access the 28 bus line. “It’s always pretty tough because there aren’t any countdown timers on a lot of the intersections, so I’d frequently find myself stopping in the middle of the island because the light turns yellow and I’d have to wait. A lot of people have to do that.”

Although initial reports from the SFPD have yet to determine who was at fault in Tuesday’s crash, Stampe pointed out that state law requires drivers to always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Failure to yield remains “the biggest cause of people being hit by cars in the city,” she said.

The SFMTA has said the main obstacle to making pedestrian improvements on Park Presidio is Caltrans, the agency that oversees the state’s highways, and holds jurisdiction. However, inter-agency cooperation has so far brought some upgrades like countdown signals, lower speed limits, and double-fine zones as part of the 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Plan, noted Stampe.

A 2010 drop in vehicle crashes observed in double-fine zones along some of the city’s arterial roads have led some to praise the measures. “It’s better than it used to be, but when you go out there you still see that it’s a wide, fast, dangerous street,” added Stampe.

SFPD records show a driver hit a pedestrian on Park Presidio about one year ago at the Clement intersection just two blocks away. In 2009, two pedestrians were struck along the road.

  • greg

    gee whiz– you mean highways and parks don’t mix!?

  • Ornithorhynchus_anatinus

    First of all, this driver is 92 years old. A lot of drivers turn left in front of oncoming traffic say that if a ped is crossing while oncoming traffic is also approaching, the ped will have to bite the dust to avoid a ghastly vehicular collision and several injuries. As a ped, I have observed this mindset and usually yield to left-turn driver(s) who demand passage. Hence, perhaps this 92-year-old chap developed such a mindset after decades behind the wheel and the ped didn’t feel like walking defensively that day.

  • mushmouth

    What happened to the woman who was in critical condition due to being hit by a bicycle?

  • Walter


    Before we redesign all main highways in the city as a result of this, please note that the driver being 92 is almost certainly a major factor here and, as such, the accident could probably have happened anywhere.

    In much the same way as the recent DUI death of a cyclist says far more about the dangers of driving drunk than it does about the safety of Masonic Avenue.

  • Nick

    Sometikes you just have to say WTF?

    Tonight, on Monterey Blvd there were 2 car accidents withinh a mile of each other. One appeared to involve a pedestrian. The other I am not sure. Both had ambulances on site. Both happened at 7PM in the dark rain. WTF?

  • when driving, ‘rain’ == ‘speed up and try to kill yourself and other people’ — that explains that.

    we need a new law that says whenever there is mist/drizzle/rain occurring, all drivers must stay at least 5 mph below the existing speed limit for the roadway — the ‘safe driving speed’ doesn’t seem to be enforced. even the psychological effect would be worth passing it.

    and/or, we need to start charging drivers for getting into accidents. if they’re causing massive economic losses to the city, not to mention the more direct costs associated with police/fire/rescue/etc., then we need to make sure there is a big disincentive to act like an ahole — rain or no-rain. other cities are already charging for ambulance service, etc. – we need to do the same.

    strict liability would mean that the car always pays when they hit a biker, and bikers always pay when they hit a pedestrian — unless can be proven otherwise.

    and, as mentioned, we need to do something about drivers who shouldn’t be driving. retest every driver every ten years for basic proficiency — regardless of age.

    in other news, The Alameda was allegedly given back to the City of San Jose from the State of Caulifawnia–errrrrr, the State of Democrats-Acting-Like-Republicans–errrr, the State of No-Taxing-The-Rich–errrr, whatever. that means, in theory, we can do with it what we want, so in theory, we might be able to bike on it one day. we need to do the same with this Park Presidio road, 19th, Van Ness, Geary, Potrero, and all roads into, out of, and through SF. Fffffffffffforget BRT — we need protected _bike_ lanes, not protected _bus_ lanes. Every single road in the Bay has to be made so they can be walked and biked in safety and comfort.

  • Joe

    Elizabeth Stampe is right about Park Presidio (and by extension, 19th Ave). It should be a grade-separated freeway.

  • Bob Davis

    Having driven from Pacifica to Marin County via CA 1 on a Sunday afternoon, I would guess that a lot of folks who are “just passin’ thru” wouldn’t mind it a bit if Highway 1 were freeway all the way from Daly City to the US 101 merge, but the likelihood of that happening (I can hear a San Franciscan saying, “Fool! We just got rid of two freeways!”) to rank with the Devil going ice-skating and gasoline going back to 25-cents-a-gallon.
    Also: I have an issue with the term “traffic calming”–in the interests of accuracy, it should be “motor traffic restricting”, which lacks the soothing sound of “calming”, but is really what is needed. (off-topic, but in the same vein, I also don’t like the term Daylight Saving Time; DST does not save one millisecond of daylight–it should be call “Activity Rescheduling Time”)

  • She is fortunate to be alive after all this. after all, she could be taking a dirt nap like lots of other people.

  • Justin

    Come on folks, the comments on this post really read like a bunch of SFGate commenters.

    ‘You see here, this here driver was a 92 year person, so you see? That’s it, I reckon’.

    These are the kinds of comments that SFgate will pull out for their sidebar quote, luckily this is not the case on SB.

    How can you guys be claiming that the infrastructure plays no role here, while at the same time calling for these traffic sewers to become grade-separated freeways? Poorly-designed, free-way like roads like 19 encourage drivers to behave in ways like this driver did–tearing ass through a crosswalk rather than checking for a pedestrian. You can change the infrastructure so this kind of behavior is made impossible/less attractive/shunned etc. Building a grade-separated freeway is not the way to do that.


  • Justin, thank you. The comments on this whole story from the beginning have been pretty tasteless.

    And Walker (who reads like JohnB,Mick,Mack…) makes a good case for changing licensing laws. Driving is a privilege and a responsibility, NOT a right. The age should be raised to 18 (at least) with yearly retesting every year until 30, then maybe go every third year until 65 when it returns to yearly testing.

    And any road through the city needs to be slowed/calmed/whatever catchphrase you want to use. People live here, cars do not deserve to pass through as quickly as possible. We should be narrowing lanes, removing lanes, building bulb outs (I know that isn’t the most popular option but it greatly reduces exposure time), removing parking near intersections (to increase visibility), building raised crosswalks (an inch or two with different style paving to clearly show that caution should be used) and actual enforcement of traffic laws.

  • Joe

    I agree that driving regulations should be much more stringent. At the same time, SF is one part of a mega-region and there need to be efficient ways for people to get across town. As it is, people blow through stop signs in the Richmond, especially on the smaller streets like Anza and Balboa all the time. In fact, I’m much more comfortable crossing the signaled intersections across Park Presidio than walking around on the quieter streets where cars expect pedestrians to yield to them and speed up and down the avenues well above 25. It’s hard to imagine how limiting capacity and throughput on thoroughfares would alleviate these issues.

  • EL

    Since we’re talking about infrastructure, I find it quite misleading that the photograph in the article, and the quote from Therese Bataclan suggest the absence of pedestrian countdown signals at this intersection.

    The FACT is that pedestrian signals and ramps were installed over two years ago. It’s obvious that Aaron never visited the site when writing this article, and simply plucked a very old photograph from Google maps.

    Also, see this Streetsblog article from 2009, where the ramps and new signals were actually discussed.


  • Aaron Bialick

    EL –

    As noted in the article, some countdown signals were installed, but I don’t think it was on all of the intersections and they were what Therese highlighted in her experience with the road. The intention was not to say that was a leading factor in this particular crash, we just wanted to give voice to one resident’s thoughts to give context to the road.

    The embedded street view gives an idea of the environment there, the main point of which is that it’s an uninviting six-lane roadway with dimly marked crosswalks. Also, I was there on Tuesday and have otherwise spent a lot of time catching the 28 on this road.


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