uFixIt: Bushes become large pedestrian hazard

August 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
This uFixIt report takes on the challenge of eliminating a hazard on San Francisco's Twin Peaks. A viewer told us about it and the ABC7 news I-Team got the ball rolling.

City officials allowed the wild plants up on Twin Peaks to get too wild. They were overtaking the winding streets, making it hard for drivers to see bicycles and joggers. One viewer was so worried someone might get hurt, he contacted the I-Team.

Twin Peaks Boulevard is a thrill ride -- cars and people race up and down the curving road side by side, taking in the views and taking chances. There are a lot of blind spots along the way.

"If I'm coming down here in a car or on my bike and there is a jogger going up the other direction, I'm not going to be able to see him until the last minute," said Twin Peaks resident Dave Whisman.

Whisman walks or bikes there almost every day. He says the overgrown plants along these sharp bends are out of control.

"I don't want anybody getting hurt, especially if it's me," said Whisman.

We drove it ourselves and saw first-hand how the bushes had grown into the street, blocking lanes and how easily you can have a near miss. Bikers like Peter Tannan are pushed dangerously in to the median.

"One time I was almost sideswiped by one of these big tour buses who I think wasn't paying attention," said Tannan.

When we stopped to talk with Tannan, it was only minutes before we saw another tight squeeze.

"Actually here comes one of these tour buses I was talking about and there's a pedestrian. You can see how close they're going to come. [The bus driver] is going to have to go all the way around. If that pedestrian were just on the other side [of the bushes], he probably wouldn't have seen him and could have hit him," said Tannan.

We called the city to see who's responsible. At first they weren't sure, but after some digging, they found out. It is watershed land that just last year was turned over to the Public Utilities Commission. So with jurisdiction established, the PUC stepped up.

"I went up and took a look myself to see what was up there and you could see it was definitely a hazard to joggers and bicyclists," said PUC manager Don Lampe.

Lampe says this went to the top of his list, he immediately dispatched a crew.

"They went up there and attacked that with everything from hedge trimmers to a back hoe to get all that vegetation off the road. Even though some of them got poison oak, they didn't hesitate to go up there and do what needed to be done," said Lampe.

And we went back too to see the improvements.

"Now it's cut all the way back and you can see all the way up the street now, whereas before it was completely blocked. This is much safer," said Whisman.

"And it just made a big difference. I think it was a win-win for everybody and it opened up that location for all the recreational use and the tourists and everybody else that uses that on a daily basis," said Lampe.

"Good job San Francisco, glad you got it done," said Whisman.

We should also give some credit to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. They also pitched in and cut back some of bushes up there as well.

If you see something that needs fixing or a government service that isn't working, take some video of it and upload it to http://ureport.abc7news.com/. And be sure to include a phone number and email address where we can contact you.


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