SF supervisors concerned about pedestrian crossing system on Sloat Blvd

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Earlier this week, another pedestrian was killed on Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco's Outer Sunset District. The irony is that there was a HAWK crossing system at the site.

Supervisors are now calling for more awareness around pedestrian safety.

There have been six pedestrian deaths in the past 10 years on Sloat Boulevard.

This week, a 69-year-old man was crossing at Sloat and 36th Avenue when a car hit him. The HAWK beacon crossing system was in place.

It's a safety design made to protect pedestrians, but most agree because it's new, it can be confusing.

"People really didn't get it. What am I supposed to do, is it flashing yellow, is it flashing red, is it red," asks San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who represents the district where the man died.

Here's how it works: The pedestrian presses the crossing button. That activates the yellow lights that tell the driver someone is ready to cross. A few seconds later, red lights start flashing, then the signal turns solid red. Drivers must stop.

While most did, a few impatient ones drove off even when it was red.

We also saw pedestrians -- children in this case -- crossing without using the HAWK system.

Once the pedestrian is done crossing, the signal goes to flashing red, which means they can proceed with caution. But some drivers didn't know what to do.

San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang posted on her Facebook page that she wants pedestrians and drivers to become more familiar with the Hawk Beacon.

Because Sloat Boulevard is technically State Highway 35, it's maintained by Caltrans. The agency says the HAWK crossing system works.

"They've been very effective so we're trying to get the word out about how they work exactly," said Vince Jacala with Caltrans.

In the meantime, Supervisor Yee is calling for hearings next week at city hall, to find ways to make Sloat Boulevard and other streets safer, especially for senior citizens.
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