Slowdown sought for treacherous stretch of 19th Avenue 

Drivers looking to whiz through The City on 19th Avenue may soon find themselves slowing down for a 2½-mile stretch.

Caltrans recently completed a study that suggests the speed limit on 19th Avenue between Lincoln Way and Eucalyptus Drive — which is part of state Highway 1 — be lowered from 35 mph to 30 mph, Caltrans spokeswoman Brigetta Smith said.

That stretch of 19th Avenue runs though the Sunset district, which makes for a dangerous combination of high speeds and frequent pedestrian activity, said Manish Champsee, president of Walk SF.

"Anytime you have a freeway going through a neighborhood, there will be problems," Champsee said. "But the reduced speed limit will definitely help abate those problems."

In 2007, four pedestrians, three of whom were older than 65, were killed on 19th Avenue between Eucalyptus and Lincoln, according to a San Francisco Police Department traffic study.

From 2000 to 2005, there were 1,205 injuries and 12 deaths as the result of 786 collisions on the entire seven-mile stretch of Highway 1 that flows through San Francisco city limits, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Judson True said.

On Tuesday, the MTA board of directors will host the first public hearing on the reduced speed limit proposal, True said. When the new limit could be implemented is still unknown, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd will introduce a resolution at the Board of Supervisors meeting urging Muni officials to support Caltrans’ speed limit recommendations, a motion the SFMTA will embrace, according to True.

"We look forward to continued efforts to make 19th Avenue safer," True said. He said that Muni has been engaged in discussion for quite some time with Caltrans about examining a lower speed limit.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the group that administers The City’s transportation tax, has been working with Caltrans on a three-phase traffic signal upgrade for 19th Avenue which recently got under way, SFCTA planning director Tilly Chang said. The reduced speed limit recommended by Caltrans would bolster the safety measures of the single upgrade project, Chang said.

wreisman@examiner.com

State senator tries again with double-fine bill

Amid suggestions about lowering the speed limit on a portion of 19th Avenue, state Sen. Leland Yee’s resolution to double finesfor traffic violators on a portion of Highway 1 will go before the state’s Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

The bill, which has failed in three previous incarnations, would double a citation’s base fine, which makes up only a portion of a ticket’s overall cost. For example, a speeder traveling 16 mph to 25 mph over the speed limit would currently face a $50 base fine, plus $125 in additional state, county and court costs, adding up to a total of $175. With Yee’s double-fine legislation, that amount would increase to $225.

Legislative aide Adam Keigwin said Yee was confident this version of the bill would be approved by state lawmakers.

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Will Reisman

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