SFPD Park Station’s Most Dangerous Intersections: Not on the Wiggle

The SFPD Park District listed six problematic intersections in its most recent newsletter, and none of them are on the Wiggle.

New SFPD data indicates that the Park District’s most dangerous intersections have nothing to do with the Wiggle, where Captain Greg Corrales has devoted his station’s limited traffic enforcement staff to ticketing bike commuters who roll stop signs.

Park District’s “highest collision location involving bicyclists” has nothing to do with stop signs — it’s Fell and Masonic, where drivers notoriously run the red light during a bicycle/pedestrian crossing phase. Photo: Aaron Bialick

Under SFPD’s “Focus on the Five” campaign, captains have pledged to target the five most dangerous intersections in their districts. The latest Park Station newsletter [PDF] listed five intersections with high numbers of collisions attributed to certain traffic violations. The newsletter also lists the intersection with the “highest collisions involving bicyclists.” None of these locations are on the Wiggle, or even in the Lower Haight, the neighborhood that the bike route runs through.

When I asked Captain Corrales if he still plans to regularly post officers on the Wiggle to ticket bicycle riders who don’t fully stop at stop signs, he said in an email that “we will continue to be responsive to community concerns.”

The list confusingly names two different intersections as having the most crashes caused by red light running and speeding, and there is no time frame given. (Corrales said he would try to find out what period is covered by these stats.)

The most obvious pattern is that nearly all the intersections on the list involve streets designed to carry lots of car traffic at high speeds. These include Geary Boulevard, Masonic Avenue, Divisadero Street, and Lincoln Way.

Oh, and that intersection with the most collisions involving bicyclists? It’s Fell Street and Masonic, which is notorious for drivers violating the left-turn signal while bicycle and pedestrian traffic crosses along the Panhandle, even after the SFMTA installed more visible signal heads because drivers complained that they weren’t obvious enough.

It’s good to see Captain Corrales publishing collision data in his newsletter — it indicates, at least, that he’s aware of it. For the sake of the safety of San Franciscans moving through his district, let’s hope he lets it guide his decisions on where his limited enforcement resources are best put to use.

  • I’m interested in knowing: For the 16 collisions at Fell and Masonic, how many were for vehicle turning left on red arrow violations versus bicyclists crossing against red signal in the path of an incoming vehicle?

  • gneiss

    “we will continue to be responsive to community concerns.” – In other words, if neighbors complain about ‘bikers on the wiggle’, irrespective of data, they will send a couple of police down onto Waller to double park and ticket cyclist for stop sign violations. What I’d rather see is the police targeting the bad behavior – bicyclists violating pedestrian right of way. That would have a much bigger impact than what they are doing currently.

  • Upright Biker

    It really should be a straightforward plan, then, yes? Post officers at those intersections during the few hours when the peak collisions occur, and that should reduce incidents dramatically.

    Think they’re going to do something so obviously straightforward? No. And I don’t want to hear any of that “The police have got better things to do, like saving people’s lives and stopping crimes.”

    Because that’s exactly what they’d be doing.

  • I can see why police officers would still target the Wiggle: pretty safe way to log some hours and fill ticket quotas (assuming those exist).

    You’ve seen the difference between a bike stop and a motor vehicle stop, only one requires cautious approach and stance with body turned to expose the smallest target. (See the People Behaving Badly archive on YouTube if you need a refresher.)

    Which would you rather do: stand to the side of the street waving over cyclists to queue up for their ticket or one-by-one pull over a potential deadly weapon which is also concealment and cover for a person(s) who may have other deadly weapons inside?

  • shamelessly

    I think this comes down to a question of whether we believe that rolling through stop signs, while illegal, is still safe. When I’m cycling through the Wiggle, there’s nothing I want more than to continue on my way instead of stopping every block. But when I’m walking through the Wiggle at certain times of day, I feel like I’m intruding on a bicycle highway, with cyclists veering around me without slowing down, and it doesn’t feel safe.

  • Upright Biker

    Bicyclists should always yield to pedestrians. The problem of course is that some cyclists’ interpretation of “yielding” is calculating how they can continue at speed and confidently swerve to avoid a collision. This of course makes pedestrians feel unsafe, which is why it should be a ticketed behavior.

    Now, ticketing failing to stop completely at an empty intersection? That’s a ridiculous burden on both the bicyclist and the police.

  • ladyfleur

    It doesn’t actually matter, though, does it? Targeted enforcement there will catch all kinds of violations–car, bike, pedestrian–and help move that problem intersection toward the goal of reducing collisions from the present 16 to something reasonable.

  • Greg

    Are you suggesting they ticket everyone that breaks the law at these intersections? Peds, bikers and cars?

  • Upright Biker

    Definitely all cars/trucks, no matter the situation; Bikes and peds with a little more leeway and officer discretion, depending on the situation.

  • Greg

    That is my experience too. I feel very unsafe as a ped crossing places like Polk and Vallejo at busy times from the bikers – more often then from cars. The bikers may very well have it under control but its doesn’t feel like that to me when they wizz by me and my kids in the crosswalk. As a biker, I know I see the peds and know they I am safely passing them.

  • KWillets

    I’m glad that Lower Haight doesn’t have any intersections on the Park Station most dangerous list, but that’s partly because half of LH lies outside of Park District.

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