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Pedestrian Safety

Driver Kills Woman in Crosswalk on Six-Lane, 40 MPH Sloat Blvd

5:34 PM PST on January 7, 2010

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A 55-year-old San Francisco woman died early this morning at San Francisco General Hospital nearly ten hours after after she was hit by a driver while crossing Sloat Boulevard at Forest View Drive.

The 6:23 p.m. crash yesterday occurred as the victim attempted to cross six-lane Sloat Boulevard from the south. Using the crosswalk, she made it across the first three lanes to the wide median, but was struck by the driver of a Toyota Corolla heading westbound as she made her way across the final three lanes. The driver remained at the scene, and was not arrested, though Officer Samson Chan of the SFPD said the investigation is open and active. The SF Appeal, which first reported the crash, said the driver was a 68-year-old San Francisco resident.

Crossing Sloat at Forest View Drive is a daunting task for pedestrians: the speed limit on Sloat is 40 miles per hour, and Forest View Drive intersects it directly in the middle of a stretch almost a mile long without a single stoplight or stop sign for cars on Sloat. Pedestrians have little choice but to brave the six-lane boulevard, hoping to beat the cars, which have considerable room to pick up speed as they travel a full mile uninterrupted.

Manish Champsee, President of Walk SF, said that the conditions on Sloat call for traffic calming measures, likely starting with additional traffic lights and a lower speed limit. "If you're talking about a mile long stretch without a traffic light, you could definitely use a traffic light," he said, warning that lowering the speed limit might be difficult without such a design change. Any changes to the street would require coordination with Caltrans, since Sloat Boulevard is State Route 35 between Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue.

Champsee also advised drivers and pedestrians alike to exercise caution in dark road conditions.

The mile-long stretch of Sloat between Lakeshore Plaza and 19th Avenue lacks a single traffic light, and separates important destinations like Stern Grove and Taraval Street to the north and Lowell High School, San Francisco State University and the Stonestown mall to the south. The street is also lined with residences on both sides.

Though stoplights can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Champsee said this stretch of street clearly deserves attention. "If you're talking about a 40 mph speed limit," said Champsee, "some resources definitely need to be put in to slow the traffic down."

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