In a neighborhood full of traffic hazards, the intersection of 19th and Dolores Streets holds a special place in Mission residents’ anxieties.
It’s the single most complained-about crossing at See Click Fix, a website that allows residents to post and then vote on the importance of neighborhood complaints.
“Twice in two weeks cars have been rear-ended here as one stopped for a pedestrian,” writes a user named Jefferson. “The speed cars come through this section of Dolores is ridiculous. They are practically encouraged to speed past the most popular and most used park in SF.”
In a post to his blog, Uptown Almanac, titled “LET’S GET SOME [expletive] STOP SIGNS FOR 19TH AND DOLORES YALL,” Kevin Montgomery gives a less reserved analysis. “I… was crossing Dolores to go to Valencia and this total [expletive] of a lady barrels through the intersection in her stupid green Prius honking at me and not slowing down even though I’m in the middle of the road. She came within 18 inches of hitting me… close enough for me to spit on her car, scream “you crazy [expletive]” and give her rear bumper a little love tap with my bike.”
“We don’t think it’s safe at all,” said Crystal Vann Wallstrom of the nonprofit park improvement organization Dolores Park Works.
Lindsay Kefauver, a longtime neighborhood resident, agrees. Just last week she saw a red sports car that was being filmed for a commercial nearly collide with two cyclists, who swerved and fell off their bikes.
Even those who haven’t had close calls endorse making changes. “I would support a stop sign,” said Simone Lance as she walked her dog to the park. “It wouldn’t hurt.”
But Supervisor Bevan Dufty argued the opposite, saying that according to research done by the SFMTA, a stop sign at this intersection would give pedestrians a “false sense of security” — and possibly cause more accidents.
An attempt to get a stop sign installed was spearheaded in 2006 by members of SafeCleanGreen Mission Dolores. Instead, in 2009 the city installed yield line triangles known as shark teeth and “yield to pedestrian here” signs on both sides of the street.
A year later, the popularity of Dolores Park continues to increase — and so do complaints about the intersection.
On a recent windy Tuesday afternoon, cars sped through the intersection when there were no pedestrians present. Almost all slowed down when they saw pedestrians. Some drove around the pedestrians without stopping.
Some residents hope that a set of proposals to improve Mission streets, known as the Mission Streetscape Plan, will increase safety.
The plan, which has not yet been adopted, calls for the city to install special paving at the 19th and Dolores crosswalks. A median strip with bollards and extended curbs (often called bulb-outs) would further slow traffic. The project’s managers could not be reached for comment.
To Crystal Vann Wallstrom, the plan is a sound one. “It looks like these bulb-outs and the emphasized crosswalks will slow down traffic, and pedestrians will be better seen by motorists. It seems like it could be a good solution, if stop signs are out of the question.”