Weeks before deadly crash, SFMTA made changes to Tenderloin intersection to prevent wrecks

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The deadly wreck at Taylor and O'Farrell Streets on Sunday has put the Tenderloin intersection in the spotlight.

Kelsey Cambridge was arrested for allegedly speeding through a red light at the intersection, hitting cars and killing and injuring tourists in a crosswalk.

RELATED: San Francisco officials, advocates work to make city safer for pedestrians after deadly crashes

But just three weeks prior, SFMTA made major changes in the area, reducing Taylor Street from three lanes to two and adding painted white buffer zones, all to prevent exactly the type of crash that happened.

"It's absolutely devastating when you work so hard on a project and what we see immediately is a fatality," said Chava Kronenberg, the program manager for Vision Zero, SFMTA's effort to end traffic deaths. She's pushing for state lawmakers to pass legislation for automated cameras that ticket speeders. "Nationally, it is proven to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities."

RELATED: San Francisco officials, advocates work to make city safer for pedestrians after deadly crashes

On Thursday, Kronenberg and other city staffers spoke with concerned neighbors about traffic safety at a meeting in the Tenderloin.

Earl Tinsley Cousart says SFMTA needs to re-time the walk signals.

"It should be more timing on them, because there are a lot of us TL residents that are disabled and elderly. You know how hard it is to walk in a crosswalk where by the time you get to the middle it's already red? That's not right," he said.

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Since Sunday's wreck, SFMTA has added even more plastic traffic delineators on Taylor Street. The agency also just installed wire tubes in the street to study exactly how fast traffic is moving, now that they've re-engineered parts of Taylor Street.

But some, like Tendernob resident Helen Ferentinos, are concerned SFMTA's plans to reduce traffic will make it harder for people, like herself, who rely on cars.

"I don't think they're hearing enough from people who are older and perhaps physically disabled and not able to hop on a bicycle or a scooter."

In the coming years, MTA has plans to widen Tenderloin sidewalks, which will reduce driving lanes and shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians.
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