Eyes on the Street: Another Driver Jumps the Curb in the Tenderloin

Photo: Cheryl Brinkman

No sidewalk is safe.

Another driver jumped the curb and crashed into a building at Post and Taylor Streets near Union Square on Sunday. Cheryl Brinkman, who sits on the SFMTA Board of Directors, captured this photo of the aftermath and remarked: “I’ve been keeping a mental list of ‘Things we can’t trust car drivers not to do.’ Add ‘drive into buildings’ to that list.”

Drivers careen on to sidewalks more regularly than you might think — often on high-speed streets in dense neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, which is criss-crossed by one-way “arterials.” Two blocks away from the scene of yesterday’s crash, a driver destroyed a Muni shelter at Sutter and Taylor Streets in June 2013.

Miraculously, it appears no one was injured in either of those crashes, but people are not always so fortunate.

In November, a driver crashed onto the sidewalk and struck someone on a bike at McAllister and Leavenworth Streets, where a heavy flow of cars heading north from Seventh Street makes a zig-zag movement to get on to Leavenworth.

It’s not just a problem in the Tenderloin. Just two weeks ago, a driver smashed into Olea restaurant while making an illegal left turn at California and Larkin Streets. In September, another driver barreled into Comstock Saloon on Columbus Avenue in North Beach. According to ABC 7, that driver wasn’t arrested for the crash, but was arrested for an outstanding warrant for drug possession.

It’s typical for drivers to face no legal penalties for jumping curbs and destroying property, despite the threat to public safety and the costs they impose. They may be arrested or cited for driving under the influence, or for another violation that led to the crash, but driving into a restaurant or coffee shop in San Francisco is apparently not a crime.

  • Businesses and indeed cities, should sue for damage related to crashes. Shouldn’t insurance cover this?

    They are lucky nobody was hurt, cell records should be checked.

  • davistrain

    Assuming the driver has insurance coverage, the “property damage” part should cover cases like this

  • Terrifying.

  • murphstahoe
  • Jeffrey Baker

    Can we stop using “jumping the curb”? It sounds cute and harmless but the reality is neither. A good headline for this one might have been “Driver slams car into Tenderloin hotel” or something neutral and accurate. The curb is not there to keep cars in the street. If a driver has done anything other than proceed parallel to the curb, they have committed a major error.

  • Make sure to say “accidents happen” and vehemently defend a car’s rightful place is in a dense urban environment without any hint of irony.

  • yermom72

    Uber issued a statement denying all liability.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    That story leaves me with the impression that the age of the average Sonoma County person is 70.

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