Safety worries prompt action at intersection 

The complicated intersection where Great Highway and La Playa Street meet Judah Street in the Outer Sunset district could get safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars if efforts by local groups to address the problems are recognized.

Steve Ward, a resident of the Outer Sunset and advocate for changes to the area, said the problems are several decades old, but the main concern remains safety.

“Right now, the best thing is to reduce the time that the doubles [two-car trains] park there,” Ward said. “It wasn’t built for two. And it’s something that can be done now.”

The N-Judah light-rail line ends at La Playa and Judah streets. When operators are on breaks, the train sits at a turnaround that significantly reduces visibility for drivers and pedestrians on Judah and La Playa streets and Great Highway, which has entry and exit points at this location.

Supervisor Carmen Chu, who represents the neighborhood, said many solutions have been discussed — including relocating the terminus a few blocks east and improved crosswalks — but each solution has its challenges.

Federal regulations prevent the entire terminus from being moved because the ramp for disability access cannot be moved unless a new environmental study is conducted.

Representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency could not be reached for comment.

Chu, though, said like many city agencies, the SFMTA is strapped for cash, therefore finding a cost-effective solution will be a challenge. She said she will continue to work with transportation officials and neighbors to find solutions.

Buffy McGuire, who owns Java Beach Cafe at La Playa and Judah streets, said she has lived in the area for nearly 15 years and though you get used to the noises and maneuvering the intersection, something could be done to improve it.

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