Pat Tura wants to change the way pedestrians and cars interact at intersections. And she’s starting in her own neighborhood.
A handful of recent pedestrian deaths in the Duboce Triangle and Upper Market areas of The City prompted Tura to look at what she can do. Her solution: adopting a corner.
The idea seeks to pair residents with the intersections in their neighborhood so they can make observations and eventually put together a plan for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and its livable streets program, to help make San Francisco a safer place to live.
“The MTA is good at applying the science of street design and new concepts,” Tura said. “But it’s impossible for them to know the intimacy of the intersection compared to those who cross an intersection every day.”
Tura said the plan will rely on groups of volunteers just watching what takes place at a given corner at different times of day in different weather. It could be that a crosswalk needs repainting. Perhaps a tree needs to be trimmed to provide cars and pedestrians more visibility.
“Or it could be problems with cars rolling through stops, pedestrians crossing in the middle of streets, or bikes not even stopping,” Tura said. “We want to take all that information and present it in a way that shows what is currently being broken at the intersection.”
Paul Rose, spokesman for the transit agency, which is responsible for surface transportation in The City, said officials are working with the neighbors to address problem corners.
“As a city agency, we use that feedback to make an impact,” he said. “Residents take their community seriously and they often do have ideas to improve the area.”
Tura said two incidents prompted her to start the initiative — the August death of 23-year-old woman after she was hit by a Muni bus after crossing the street at 18th and Hartford, and then a September accident in which a 52-year-old man was struck by an SUV at 14th and Noe.
At 14th and Noe, Tura said the community suggested improved striping and lighting at the corner.
This is the first program of its kind in The City.
Tura said she plans to personally monitor the intersection of 16th, Noe and Market streets meet because of its odd configuration.
“It’s one of the top 15 most dangerous intersections in The City,” she said. “Its patterns are unusual, so we’re trying to dissect the intersection and see how it would add value and improve the overall safety of our streets.”