Double fine zones proposed for 19th Avenue

February 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A Bay Area lawmaker is launching a new effort to make 19th Avenue in San Francisco safer. The busy corridor has seen a jump in accidents and pedestrian deaths over the past few years.

Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco wants to crack down on bad drivers on 19th Avenue. The bill would double the fines for drivers speeding from Park Presidio and Lake all along 19th Avenue to Juniperro Serra.

Yee says he rededicated himself to this cause after a fatal crash at 19th Avenue and Sloat last October where 21-year-old Sandy Kim of Oakland was killed.

Kim was the seventh pedestrian to be killed along this stretch of road since 2000. Five more have died in traffic accidents. Close to 1,200 people have been injured over that time.

Senator Yee wants to double the fines for speeding, DUI or other serious violations. He has proposed this bill twice before, but this time he thinks it's going to pass.

"The agreement that we have now is that rather than making it a permanent double fine zone, this is a five-year study program, so at least it gives us the opportunity to double the fines, look at its effect and then go back and see if in fact it works," says Yee.

The state has jurisdiction over this stretch of road because it is Highway 1.

The double fine zone would begin at Park Presidio and Lake Street, come over to Golden Gate Park onto 19th Avenue and all the way to Juniperro Serra Blvd.

The governor vetoed this proposal two years ago because he said double fine zones without additional safety measures don't improve the situation.

Now, 10 intersections have been improved with pedestrian countdowns -- stoplights over the roadway instead of on a pole in the median.

The governor says, if the legislature passes it, he will sign it.