Fatally struck pedestrian to be honored as safety measures sought in Chinatown 

click to enlarge Pedestrians
  • Juan Pardo/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • Pedestrians cross the street in Chinatown.
At the first Board of Supervisors meeting of the year Tuesday, board President David Chiu will honor an 84-year-old activist who was fatally struck by a car late last year in Chinatown, which, according to the San Francisco Pedestrian Strategy, is part of the district with the highest rate of pedestrian injuries since 2006.

Isabel Huie, who last worked with Friends of Educational Opportunities to support the Chinatown/North Beach City College of San Francisco campus, was hit Dec. 19 by another senior who lost control of a vehicle on Jackson Street between Powell and Stockton streets, said the Huie family’s lawyer, Mark Fong.

“It really does seem like almost an epidemic with the number of especially elderly, Asian pedestrians getting hit and killed,” said Fong, of Minami Tamaki LLP. “My firm represents many Asian folks and put out a lot of pedestrian safety seminars to try to address that.”

In Chinatown, one of the densest neighborhoods in the country, about 85 percent of community members do not own cars, said Chinatown Community Development Center Executive Director Norman Fong. The seniors that lived in the neighborhood a couple of decades ago are now an older, slower population, and with a growing number of people, drivers must slow down, he said.

“It’s serious. Now that we’ve lost people like Isabel, it should be a wake-up call to The City to create a master plan or something for pedestrian safety,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”

The City’s pedestrian strategy does not have funds attached. Released in April 2013 — a year with 20 pedestrian fatalities citywide and the most in five years — it reported that District 3, including Chinatown, had an average of 23 severe or fatal injuries per 100 miles annually from 2006 to 2010. That was followed by 20 in District 6, which includes the South of Market and mid-Market Street areas.

Broadway, Kearny and Stockton streets and Columbus Avenue in Chinatown are among high-injury corridors that represent 6 percent of San Francisco’s 70 street miles but 60 percent of severe and fatal injuries, according to WalkFirst, a data-driven project that prioritizes five years of capital improvements to meet the pedestrian strategy goals.

This month, WalkFirst is expected to draft a list of pedestrian safety projects ranked on collision data and factors like social equity, which involves investing in communities of color and low-income residents.

“Social equity is where projects in Chinatown will be supported even more,” said Walk San Francisco Executive Director Nicole Schneider.

A memorial service for Huie will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown. The family appreciates the honor at City Hall, her daughter Jeanette Huie said.

“I’m hearing from many people that she was like a mentor to them,” she said. “And so her legacy will live on in the lives of the people she touched.”

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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