Witnesses watched late Friday as a car speeding west on 20th Street crashed into another car heading north on San Carlos Street and slammed it into the Yoji Sushi House parklet.
The speeding car raced off toward Valencia Street, witnesses said.
This all happened after 10 p.m. on the so-called Slow Street of 20th Street that spans most of the Mission District. Police said the 20-year-old driver of the second car was uninjured, and the restaurant was closed, so no one was eating in the parklet when the collision occurred.
This was the second parklet in the Mission to be impacted by a car accident within the past year. The first happened in October at the Bender’s parklet on South Van Ness Avenue.
Witnesses on the scene Friday said the passenger from the car that was hit remained on the scene with her friends as the fire and police departments arrived.
Lamont Bransford-Young, who runs Fingersnaps Media Arts on that corner, said he was just leaving for the night when he heard the screeching and speeding cars.
“I heard it before I saw it,” said Bransford-Young, who had reached the Mission Street intersection when the crash happened. “I saw the red Honda spin a couple times.” The other car, he said, took off immediately.
According to Brandsford-Young, the police located a license plate that was believed to have dislodged from the car that caused the crash.
An employee at Yoji Sushi House said Saturday that part of the restaurant’s parklet was destroyed, but that employees had gone home for the night and hadn’t witnessed the incident.
Bransford-Young said that he watches the intersection through the big windows of his corner business, and sees near-accidents every day. “It’s like watching the Hollywood movies all day long,” he chuckled. “On Friday and Saturday,, it’s on a different level of recklessness.”
Twentieth Street is one of the city’s designated “Slow Streets” and has signage to discourage driving and promote other forms of transportation. But residents and business owners worry that it’s having the opposite effect on the street.
“All they do is cause havoc because people swerve around them,” said Bransford-Young. He said that, instead of conducting surveys, the SFMTA should come sit in his studio with him for a day. “One would not believe what happens on that little block.”
“Twentieth is kind of questionable,” said nearby resident Bill McLeod, who happened upon the scene on Friday night. McLeod said he has advocated for decades for small changes to slow traffic on the residential streets he’s lived on in the Mission, such as adding speed humps or lowering the speed limits.
While some “Slow Streets” like Shotwell and Sanchez stay quiet, and people even walk or jog in the street on Lake Street in the Richmond District, 20th Street is different, McLeod said. He noted that the obstructions on 20th make people veer into oncoming traffic, and said he wasn’t convinced that they had any effect on slowing traffic.
Update: this story was updated to include information provided by the SFPD about the victim.