Outrage over proposed SFMTA traffic safety plan in SF's West Portal after family killed

J.R. Stone Image
Thursday, April 25, 2024
Outrage over proposed traffic plan in SF's West Portal after crash
There was outrage among residents and business owners over proposed traffic changes in San Francisco's West Portal after a family was killed.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There was outrage on Wednesday among residents and business owners over proposed traffic changes in the West Portal neighborhood of San Francisco.

Around a hundred people rallied outside an SFMTA feedback session. The agency is proposing the changes after a recent crash killed an entire family.

"I'm sick to my stomach about it!" said Lavive Kiely.

VIDEO: SFMTA announces traffic safety proposal after family of 4 killed in West Portal

After a family of four was killed at a bus stop in San Francisco's West Portal, the SFMTA is announcing a proposal for traffic safety changes.

Lifelong San Francisco residents and business owners sounded off in this West Portal neighborhood about an SFMTA plan to change traffic laws at and around the intersection of W. Portal Avenue & Ulloa Street.

"There are so many merchants here who have already battled COVID in a business way and now they are going to have to battle something new? This is going to be the nails in the coffin for some of them!" said resident Maureen Kelly.

She says the changes will hurt business.

MORE: Infant's organs donated to save other children in need after entire family dies in SF crash

"Where are the people going to go? They are just going to avoid the West Portal and go somewhere else," said Pankaj Shah, owner of Roti Indian Bistro.

The proposal would do away with left-hand turns in this area and make nearby Lenox Street a one-way road. Changes after an entire family was killed when a 78-year-old driver went off the road and hit them at a bus stop last month.

"This tragic, tragic accident should not be utilized opportunistically to try to slam this thing through and that's what is happening," said resident Pat Dunbar. "That is a block and a half away from what they are talking about redesigning that's just not right."

The SFMTA wouldn't comment on this matter publicly Wednesday but released video of an interview done last week about the matter.

"We're hopeful that the changes, by restricting the left turns in the intersection, will dramatically help reduce the conflicts, improve the pedestrian experience, while also at the same time supporting access to the West Portal district," said SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin.

VIDEO: Hundreds attend vigil for family killed in SF West Portal crash

Hundreds on Monday night attended a vigil for parents and a toddler killed in San Francisco's West Portal crash over the weekend.

However, multiple business owners pointed to SFMTA's recent redesign work on Valencia Street in the Mission District, putting bike lanes in the middle of the road for safety reasons. Business owners there say business has been down dramatically since the changes. There are now worries of the same problems happening in West Portal.

"This was a knee-jerk reaction to a terrible tragedy. It needs a little more thought," said Kelly.

"This is a really dramatic change and they put it out and said, 'There is 10 days of comment.' That's really inappropriate," said Dunbar.

"How does that prevent someone from speeding or going up on a sidewalk?" said resident Elisa Smith. "So even though they want to change the street, it wouldn't prevent anyone from doing exactly what the lady who crashed into that family of four did so I don't see the connection."

Those with the SFMTA say on the direction of Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Myrna Melgar they are moving quickly on this plan and will work closely with merchants to make sure their needs are met.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live