A collision between a Jaguar sedan and a Toyota pickup truck at South Van Ness and 14th Streets left two pedestrians and the sedan driver seriously injured Saturday evening, according to initial reports by KGO. A neighbor said this morning that when he returned to his home late Saturday night he saw the truck almost on top of the smaller car, with its front right tire sitting on the driver’s side door of the sedan. Police have not yet provided an update on the victims’ conditions.
The entire South Van Ness corridor has been repeatedly identified as one of the most dangerous corridors in San Francisco, where 55 times more injuries took place than on any other street in San Francisco in 2013.
“I see a lot of people blowing by very quickly. Everyone’s in a hurry,” said Peter Bauer, a sales manger at one of the car dealerships on that intersection. Bauer also said the construction of another dealership building, on the southwest corner of the intersection, might be making it more difficult to navigate there, along with the general congestion and popularity of the area.
“This intersection is dangerous,” agreed another sales person, Lorenzo Au, who said he assumes that’s why there are red light cameras set up there.
Across the street at the Volvo dealership another salesperson, who wished to be identified only as Paul, said South Van Ness sees a lot of dangerous behavior, including cyclists and pedestrians who don’t follow the rules.
This morning, according to those who live and work there, the intersection appeared to be the subject of a police crackdown.
Jose Olmedo, a regular at Doña Mago cafe on that intersection, said he saw three or four officers on motorcycles stopping people for traffic violations around 10 a.m. this morning – an unusual sight for that intersection, he said.
Au and Paul, the sales representatives, also reported a significant police presence this morning.
“There were cops everywhere here, the highest concentration of motorcycle cops I’ve ever seen, trying to get red light runners,” Paul said.
A witness to Saturday’s accident told KGO it may have been due to the sedan driver running a red light.
Nicole Schneider, executive director of Walk San Francisco, said her organization is working with the city to implement transit improvements as quickly as possible now that funding has been allotted as a result of propositions A and B. But Schneider also noted that the biggest problem is how fast drivers can go along South Van Ness because of its multiple-lane construction, lack of medians, and the current timing of signals.
“Speeding is probably the most dangerous behavior, because it increases the severity of injury exponentially,” she said.
Updated signals planned for the street will be timed to slow down drivers. They are expected to be installed from 14th to 21st streets by the end of 2016, and from 22nd to 26th streets by the end of 2017. The SFMTA installed pedestrian countdown signals last year on the intersections of South Van Ness and 21st and 24th streets.
Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the MTA, said he didn’t have the data necessary to say definitively if those signals had reduced accidents, but that the MTA and the city are doing their best to improve safety.
Rose said he didn’t have the exact details of Saturday’s accident, but that the MTA is “working closely with the San Francisco Police Department to gather the details and to learn what we can do to improve safety in this area going forward.”
Mission Local will update this story when additional details become available from SFPD.