An allegedly drunk driver was arrested for hitting and killing 17-year-old Hanren Chang on Sloat Boulevard near Vale Avenue on Saturday night. According to CBS 5, 29-year-old Keiran Brewer was driving westbound on Sloat at about 11:20 p.m. when he hit Chang, who was crossing the street in the northbound direction, and dragged her “a short distance.” Update: According to ABC 7, Chang was a student at Lowell High School and had just got off a Muni bus on her way home after celebrating her birthday.
Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe said the organization “is saddened to learn of San Francisco’s fourth pedestrian death this past weekend. Hanren Chang was a young girl who lost her life in an awful way, killed and apparently dragged by a car on Sloat Boulevard, one of San Francisco’s most dangerous streets.”
“It’s time for Mayor [Ed] Lee to mobilize city agencies to make our streets safer for everyone, and prevent more needless tragedies,” she added.
Despite some recent safety improvements, Sloat, a state highway run by Caltrans, remains a deadly speedway dividing the Parkside neighborhood. In January 2012, Caltrans put Sloat on a road diet (converting two of six traffic lanes to buffered bike lanes), upgraded some crosswalks with more visible markings, and lowered the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph. However, without further physical traffic calming measures, the lives of residents crossing the street are still at serious risk.
Two pedestrians were injured on Sloat in 2011, and as Streetsblog reported in January 2010, 54-year-old Feng Lian Zhu was killed by a driver on Sloat near Forest View Drive.
“We were encouraged by the recent improvements Caltrans made on Sloat,” said Stampe. “Clearly much more needs to be done, and the city and the state need to work together quickly to add lights and further traffic-calming to fix this deadly road.”
Sloat runs along the border between District 4 and District 7, whose new supervisor, Norman Yee, expects to hold a hearing later this month to review dangerous spots for pedestrians and the status of safety projects. Eileen Barrett was killed by a driver two weeks ago on Lake Merced Boulevard, another high-speed road in Yee’s district.
As of last week, District 4 is represented by newly-appointed Supervisor Katy Tang, who replaced Carmen Chu. On the Board of Supervisors, Chu pushed Caltrans to initiate last year’s safety improvements. Although Tang didn’t initially mention pedestrian safety when asked about her transportation priorities, she followed up with Streetsblog saying she’d like to discuss the issue further. If you have a pedestrian safety question you’d like us to bring to Tang’s attention, let us know in the comments.
Update: Tang told ABC 7 that pedestrian improvements are slated for the intersections of Sloat and Everglade Drive, Forest View Drive, and 23rd Avenue.