Driver Kills Ai You Zhou, 77, at Clay and Kearny; Christensen Calls for Action

Photo: Parker Day

Yesterday at about 6 p.m., Tim Pak Wong, 59, ran over and killed Ai You Zhou, 77, in the crosswalk at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Clay and Kearny Streets near Chinatown. Safety improvements have been planned for the location, and today Supervisor Julie Christensen called for swifter action on pedestrian safety from the SFMTA and SFPD.

SFPD issued Wong a citation on suspicion of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and misdemeanor manslaughter, reports the SF Chronicle.

Zhou appeared to have the walk signal, according to Parker Day, who witnessed the crash from about a block away as he biked toward the intersection. He said Wong was turning left onto Kearny from Clay.

When Day took the photo of the scene above, Zhou “had just stopped breathing and [Wong] was about to pull her out from under the car.”

“It was a terrible thing to witness,” Day added. “I hope I don’t ever see something like it again.”

D3 Supervisor Christensen held a press conference at the site of the crash today to call on the SFMTA to expedite pedestrian safety improvements and the SFPD “to step up enforcement at our problem intersections along our high injury corridors.”

“Last night’s fatality, in conjunction with several other recent collisions, amplifies the need to act quickly on these projects for the safety of our residents and visitors,” Christensen said in a statement.

During the 45-minute press conference at Clay and Kearny, SFPD officers ticketed at least six drivers at the intersection, according to Christensen’s office.

Yesterday’s crash “took the life of one of our community members [and] never should have happened,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara.

Walk SF has “been working on this intersection for over a year, and trying to build support for changes” with other organizations, said Ferrara.

Chinatown students surveyed the dangerous intersection of Clay and Kearny last summer. Photo: Nicole Ferrara, Walk SF

Last summer, said Ferrara, students in Chinatown conducted a “walk audit” and helped develop plans for “quick, cost effective improvements to that exact intersection.”

The recommended upgrades for the intersection, developed in collaboration with the Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, and the SF County Transportation Authority, include an exclusive pedestrian crossing phase in all directions, a ban on right turns on red from Kearny to Clay, and painted bulb-outs to slow turning drivers.

“The community is behind” the plans, said Ferrara. “We need to see these improvements in the ground without any delay.”

Participants presented their study to city planners last year. Photo: Nicole Ferrara, Walk SF
Photo: Nicole Ferrara, Walk SF
  • murphstahoe

    Until we get the press conferences saying “Hey look, this iintersection totally sucks” despite the fact that nobody has died at the intersection, but simply because the intersection just prima facie sucks – then I remain unimpressed.

  • jd_x

    So sad. My condolences to Zhou’s family and friends. Another selfish motorist unaware of the power at the tips of their feet and hands forces a pedestrian to pay for that selfishness with their life.

    We can’t solve problems like this with the thinking that got us into this mess, which is that we need the City to hold years of community meetings where a vocal minority hijacks what otherwise would be a quick, sensible discussion into an anachronistic denial of our current understanding of the negative impacts on a city built around cars instead of people. The science is clear that we cannot prioritize motorist convenience over pedestrian/bicyclist safety, yet the MTA moves at a snail’s pace. It is so utterly frustrating that there is so much pointless suffering that could literally be solved overnight with no new technology but just a little willpower.


SFMTA Launches a Smarter Safe Streets Ad Campaign

The SFMTA has launched a new ad campaign called “Safe Streets SF” that takes the most thoughtful approach to addressing the causes of pedestrian injuries of any city campaign thus far. The ads have started rolling out on Muni buses. One depicts cars stopped in front of a busy, unmarked crosswalk, with the text, “It […]

Supes, SFPD, SFMTA Stand With Crash Victims and Advocates at City Hall

SFPD officials, transportation department heads, and three supervisors stood outside City Hall this morning alongside safe streets advocates and people whose lives have been affected by traffic violence. The press conference served as a call to action and a memorial for victims of traffic violence in the past year, with participants holding Valentines featuring names of […]