DUI Driver Arrested for Killing Man on Potrero Avenue Near Highway 101

The approximate area on Potrero, approaching the Bayshore onramp, where the man was reportedly killed. Photo: Google Maps

Details updated 5:30 p.m.

A man was killed by an allegedly drunk pickup truck driver early Friday morning at 12:39 a.m. near a vehicle ramp connecting southbound Potrero Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard over Cesar Chavez Street, according to SFPD spokesperson Michael Andraychak.

The driver, 25-year-old Caitlin Rea of San Francisco, was arrested for driving under the influence and felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of the unidentified man, who is estimated to be in his thirties, according to police. The victim was reportedly in the road and not in a crosswalk.

Drivers travel fast at the junction of Cesar Chavez and Highway 101, known as “the Hairball,” and it remains notoriously dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s not clear from the report where exactly the victim was killed, but the nearest crosswalks on that stretch of Potrero, at Cesar Chavez and 25th Street, are roughly 1,056 feet apart, judging by Google Maps. A fence was installed there by the Department of Public Works in 2009 to discourage pedestrians from crossing, despite the Municipal Transportation Agency neglecting to add a crosswalk and traffic calming measures called for by residents and pedestrian safety advocates.

“This whole area is incredibly unfriendly and unsafe for walking right now, and local workers and residents have been asking for new crosswalks and other improvements,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk SF.

A revamp of Cesar Chavez west of the Hairball, currently under construction, is expected to be finished next summer. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency also striped bike lanes on eastern Cesar Chavez this spring. However, broader bike and pedestrian improvements on the Hairball and eastern Cesar Chavez being developed by the SF Planning Department aren’t expected to be completed for several years.

The latest pedestrian death “shows how necessary it is to fix the streets here and not delay,” said Stampe. “Delay can cost lives.”

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, whenever I look at the “Hairball,” I see it well past incremental improvements and in need of something altogether more radical – then I have to bear in mind the watershed history running right through there too. http://museumca.org/creeks/1630-RescIslais.html

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I agree with @ZA_SF:disqus that one of the great tragedies of post-WWII urban design was the complete and utter neglect of the natural lay of the land, including
    drainage patterns. Think of how beautiful cities are when they leave streams as they are and put a 50-100 yard buffer (park) on each side and let it do it’s own thing, versus confining it into some horribly ugly concrete aqueduct. It’s a real shame that so man of SF’s creeks were completely buried, and I would love to see some of them above-grounded, but can’t see how they would do that in most places.

    For the Hairball, the only real solution is to underground the freeway or else get rid of it entirely, and I can’t see either of those happening. So barring that, they should raise the height of the freeway where it goes over Cesar Chavez so that Cesar Chavez (and accompanying exit/entry ramps) are all at the same level (rather than sinking down into a sewer-like trough like it does now). Then, they need to make the intersection between Potrero, Cesar Chavez, and Bayshore into a standard 4-way intersection (with bike lanes and sidewalks); not with horrendous freeway ramps, but just a traffic light. this would vastly improve the livability of this area. You would still have this ugly, noisy, and polluting freeway overhead, but it would be a big improvement. Then, they would need to redo all the freeway exit/entry ramps so they drop traffic down onto Bayshore and/or Portero before/after the intersection with Cesar Chavez.

  • Mizshan

    I’m told that the freeway interchange is nearing the end of its useful life – now is the time to make sure it doesn’t get rebuilt in the same awful configuration!

    How about bringing back a smaller version of the traffic circle that used to be there?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/5260381590/in/faves-telstar/

    Til now, I always blamed CalTrans for the mess at Potrero/Bayshore/Cesar Chavez, but just found this site where DPW proudly touts its sole responsibility for the replacement of the Army Street Circle with the hairball of ramps, completed in 1974:
    http://38.106.4.205/index.aspx?page=1402