Cyclists Protest Dangerous Intersection
Jan. 26 - KGO (KGO) -- San Francisco is taking immediate steps to improve safety at a busy intersection after dozens of cyclists hit the street and demonstrated against illegal turns at an onramp to the Central freeway.
The cause is definitely getting attention. Some quick fixes popped up this morning including cones to let drivers they cannot make a right turn at the intersection. But there are some bigger ideas out there that will be a little tough to execute.
It's the only way they know how to stop the cars from turning. A group of cyclists literally formed a human shield this morning to keep cars from turning right on Octavia from Market Street. Drivers do it to get on Highway 101, but it's illegal and puts them on a collision course with cyclists.
Razzu Engen, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: "It's not necessarily their fault if the intersection is badly planned. They need to fix the intersection and make it better."
The demonstrators are here for 28-year-old Margaret Timbrell who was hit by a truck on Monday morning. Supervisor Bevan Dufty visited her in the hospital yesterday.
Bevan Dufty, San Francisco supervisor: "It meant a lot to her that her injury and her life matter to us and we're going to do something."
The brainstorming over what to do is heating up, but permanent resolutions are still a ways off. Dufty would like to install cameras to take pictures of drivers who turn right but state legislation must be passed before that can happen.
Cyclists would like to see signs guiding drivers on what to do.
Andy Thornley, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: "If you're sitting at this intersection and visiting from Iowa you might reasonably say, 'hmm, I should get on here.' The city should at least put up a sign that says don't enter here, enter at Gough."
They did put up a temporary sign this morning. It will likely stay there until a permanent solution is found. Police would like to see city planners rethink the intersection.
Sgt. Bob Guinan, San Francisco Police Department: "Engineers have decided to make it a no right turn. We may want to go back to the drawing board and see what other methods we can deploy engineering-wise."
And finally, cyclists also suggest painting the bike lane green so it's more visible. But city officials say they have to complete an environmental impact study before they can do that, which will take about 2 years.
Andy Thornley, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition: " If they use an untested traffic control device, green pavement for instance, someone might sue the city. Well, I think we've got a liability question already so it's time for the city to get some courage and do the right thing."
Everyone agrees that there is a problem and that something needs to change. One activist sat at the intersection for an hour and he says he saw 17 illegal turns in that hour -- that's one every three minutes. You can bet cyclists will stay active on this issue until they see permanent changes that work put in place.
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