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Another Fortnight, Another Death

Walk San Francisco’s Marta Lindsey at a vigil for a man killed in the Tenderloin in 2019. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Saturday night a man crossing the street was killed by a Golden Gate Transit driver who was turning his bus at the corner of Hyde and Golden Gate. "We lost a 66-year-old man after he was hit here," said Walk San Francisco's Marta Lindsey, during a vigil held on the same corner Monday evening. "That man is the tenth person killed while walking or biking this year already."

She paused for a moment to let the horror sink in. "Let me say that again. Tenth person."

It's unclear exactly what happened, although the San Francisco Examiner reports that the collision occurred around 7:30 and they quote a Golden Gate Transit spokeswoman saying that the decedent “hit his head on the bus and then on the ground.” A survey done by Streetsblog discovered a security camera overlooking the intersection, so it seems likely police investigators have video of the crash.

But one thing is clear: street conditions on this corner, and throughout the Tenderloin, are certainly a factor.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the district and attended the vigil, tweeted this the morning after the crash:

Haney is referring to the "scramble" intersection of Golden Gate and Leavenworth, where pedestrians have their own signal phase--cars are banned from turning during that phase. While it segregates cars from crossing pedestrians, it's not a true scramble, at least in the traditional sense, because there are no diagonal crosswalks. Streetsblog has an inquiry out to SFMTA to find out if their intent is to add them later.

Meanwhile, Cole Brennan, also with Walk S.F., is critical of what she sees as weak safety treatments at Hyde and Golden Gate. Only one corner has a bulbout, and it doesn't jut out enough to truly slow turning cars (as those who attended the vigil witnessed as right-turning cars whipped past). In addition, the khaki zone on Hyde (a no-parking area to preserve sight-lines for turning motorist and pedestrians) "...doesn't extend to the corner." It's also protected only by lightweight "safe hit" posts that won't damage a car that runs into them and therefore do nothing to stop a determined scofflaw motorist.

Names of victims and questions were displayed on a string during the vigil
Names of victims and questions were displayed on a string during the vigil
Names of victims and questions were displayed on a string during the vigil

Brennan added that that the Tenderloin's one-way streets need to be converted to two-way. And that space needs to be turned back over to pedestrians. "I counted 30 people midday crossing here," she said of the intersection where the man was killed. "But only 15 cars per cycle." And yet, sidewalks are narrow and crowded while the vast majority of the space, some 50 feet in places, is dedicated to motorists.

"How many more people have to die--there are three lanes up and down, like a freeway," said Curtis Bradford, a local advocate who attended the vigil. "This is a residential neighborhood!"

"Every single intersection in the Tenderloin is part of the 'high injury network,'" said Lindsey. "Yet the city continues to be re-active rather than pro-active... we have three people hit every day in San Francisco."

The protesters also painted "ghost feet" on the pavement where the man, who is still not identified, was killed [UPDATE: The Examiner is reporting the victim's name was Mark Swink].

Protesters at last night's vigil painting "ghost feet" where a man was run down by a bus Saturday evening
Protesters at a vigil held in May, painting "ghost feet" where a man was run down by a bus in the Tenderloin. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

With a death every two weeks on average this year, the city is backsliding severely on its Vision Zero goals. At the protest, Lindsey read out the names of the ten killed walking or biking this year: "Lucy Morales. Nancy Ng. Zhao Guan. Jose Manuel. Haros Carrasco. Janice Higashi. Madlen Koteva. Pablo Ramirez. Galina Alterman. Tess Rothstein. And of course the man who was hit here."

Note: tomorrow/Wednesday is the annual 'Ride of Silence' to commemorate cyclists killed in San Francisco, 5:30-8:30 p.m., starting at the Sports Basement, 1590 Bryant Street

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