Eileen Barrett, 72, Killed in Crosswalk by Muni Driver on Lake Merced Blvd

The intersection of Lake Merced Boulevard and John Muir Drive, where Eileen Barrett was killed in a crosswalk Saturday. Reports indicate that the Muni driver may have been turning left on to Lake Merced when he or she hit Barrett.

A Muni bus driver ran over and killed Eileen Barrett, a 72-year-old woman from Daly City, in a crosswalk on Lake Merced Boulevard at John Muir Drive this Saturday.

Police say the crash is still being investigated, but according to the San Mateo County Times, “a preliminary investigation revealed the bus’ middle half struck the senior as she walked in a crosswalk.” The Muni driver was reportedly on an outbound run on the 18-46th Avenue line, indicating that he or she may have been turning left from John Muir on to northbound Lake Merced when he or she hit Barrett. The crash occurred just before 4:30 p.m., and although Barrett was originally expected to survive her injuries, she later died at SF General Hospital.

Barrett is the third pedestrian killed in San Francisco this year. In 2012, 19 pedestrians were killed on San Francisco streets.

“This is a tragedy,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk SF. “So many people walk around Lake Merced, in spite of the surrounding streets feeling more like speedways than walking paths — some even don’t have sidewalks.”

SF Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose told the SF Examiner that the bus operator will undergo drug and alcohol testing, as part of standard protocol for Muni crashes. There’s no indication as to whether the SF Police Department may seek charges against the driver or issue a citation.

“While this incident is still under investigation, we offer our condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Barrett,” Rose told the Examiner. “Our top priority is the safety of those who utilize San Francisco streets, and we will work with authorities to find the cause of this accident in order to prevent it from happening again.”

The intersection of John Muir and Lake Merced Boulevard, a high-speed motorway, is a perilous place for pedestrians. The crosswalk that traverses Lake Merced Boulevard spans five wide traffic lanes, and other than a small refuge island, there are few measures to protect pedestrians and slow drivers down.

The crash occurred in District 7, whose new Supervisor Norman Yee has pledged to make pedestrian safety a top priority.

“We await more news from SFMTA on how they are dealing with this tragedy and acting to prevent more,” said Stampe, “both by educating drivers and improving street design to protect the many people — especially seniors, like Eileen Barrett — who walk in San Francisco. Walking around a lake shouldn’t be a life-threatening activity.”

Another view of the crosswalk on Lake Merced Boulevard where Eileen Barrett was killed. This angle approximates the Muni driver's likely perspective right before the crash.
  • An infuriating and totally foreseeable tragedy. This roadway is plainly hazardous and it’s a crime that a redesign wasn’t initiated years ago. This could be a beautiful natural area but instead it’s a gross deadly highway. Such a terrible shame.

  • Ggray97

    It’s no wonder many people are killed. I walk a lot almost daily in SF and never miss, I see speeding cars with totally unaware drivers everywhere. And giving peds the right of way at crosswalks is a joke, they’ll whiz by you even if your half across the crosswalk. Some enforcement we have in the city, those crosswalk stings are a waste of money.

  • voltairesmistress

    A traffic incident investigation does not need to be completed in order to see at least one obvious thing from the photos: that road and intersection/crosswalk as currently designed cannot provide adequate protection for pedestrians, for any living thing outside of an automobile.

    Coming on the heels of another road-designed killing — Diana Sullivan’s on King Street, now is the time to start writing letters and signing petitions and showing up at meetings of our politicians to press for redesigning our streets.  Don’t wait for the perfectly worded petition from others.  Write and speak up now.  Express what you think would make a difference.  Your parents’ and children’s lives, and possibly your own life, depend on it.

  • Aaron, thanks as always for putting more context and a human face on this kind of news- much appreciated.

  • Jon Peterson

    Tragic. That crosswalk certainly is not up to par with one like 23rd Ave. @ Geary. Green dayglo pedestrian sign and wider crosswalk stripes needed.

  • jason

    The 38 Geary and 18 linea need rerouting … I.tried to.explain that having the bus.make three left turns instead of 2 rights is dangerous and with.these buss speeding down 33 rd avenue between Geary.and balboa as.if.a runway.at airport , not stopping at the stop signs and turning left into non stopping traffic and pedestrians crossing the street… its.just too bad that at the public hearing the muni sfmta representative.just shooed off any.speaker counter to.the plan. so politically motivated. it wasn’t funny

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