City approves funds for Sloat Boulevard pedestrian safety

Hanren Chang memorial on Sloat Boulevard

Friends and fellow Lowell High School students left flowers, notes and photos at an impromptu memorial for Hanren Chang, who was killed in a traffic collision near Sloat Boulevard and Forest View Drive Saturday night. Photo: Tom Prete / Ocean Beach Bulletin

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved funding Tuesday for project addressing pedestrian safety on Sloat Boulevard, including the intersection where a 17-year-old student was killed Saturday.

The $797,000 grant from Caltrans will pay for most of the Sloat Boulevard Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project, including changes to the Sloat Boulevard intersections with Everglade Drive, Forest View Drive and 23rd Avenue. San Francisco is expected to contribute about $130,000 to the project.

The pedestrian safety project will bring flashing crossing beacons and widened sidewalks at the designated intersections, which Supervisor Norman Yee called “three of the most dangerous intersections on Sloat Boulevard” at Tuesday’s board meeting.

“These three intersections are responsible for almost 20 percent of the collisions on Sloat Boulevard in the past three years,” Yee said.

The project also has the support of the Lakeshore Acres Improvement Club, a neighborhood association for an area primarily between Stern Grove and Lake Merced.

Sloat has been a high-speed road for decades, regardless of the posted speed limit and occasional police enforcement efforts.

Part of the reason is that Sloat is a broad and straight road connecting the western edge of the city to other major roads including Sunset Bouelvard, 19th Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Portola Drive. It’s also part of State Highway 35, which means that City officials can’t just change speed limits or install stop signs without the cooperation of the state. In fact, despite its long path through San Francisco’s residential western neighborhoods, there are few traffic signals and not a single stop sign on the road’s entire length.

The state has made some efforts to slow traffic on Sloat, however. In January Caltrans reduced the speed limit from 40 mph to 35, and removed an auto lane in each direction to install bicycle lanes.

San Francisco police installed a mobile speed-radar trailer near Sloat and Forest View Tuesday.

The safety improvement project supervisors funded Tuesday isn’t expected to be completed for at least two years or as late as 2016, according to documents accompanying the City’s application for the state money.

Traffic tragedy

On Saturday night, San Francisco police say, 17-year-old Hanren Chang was killed crossing Sloat near the Forest View Drive intersection. A man police identified as Kieran Brewer stopped at the scene of the collision and was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI.

Chang was a student at nearby Lowell High School. On Monday and Tuesday, fellow Lowell students brought flowers, notes and photos to an impromptu memorial at the intersection and gathered to remember their friend.

Supervisor Katy Tang of District 4 requested that the Board of Supervisors adjourn Tuesday’s meeting in honor of Chang.

On Thursday morning the Ministry for Victims and Families of Violent Crime, a project of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, will lead a prayer service for Chang at the intersection where she was struck, starting at about 11:15 a.m.

Editor’s Note: This article has been changed to give the correct day for the Ministry for Victims and Families of Violent Crime prayer service.

Read more about the Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project:

Sloat Boulevard pedestrian safety project SFBOS agenda packet 20130305 by Ocean Beach Bulletin

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  1. Crosswalk lights and a wider sidewalk isn’t going to do anything. There needs to be stop signs or preferably stop lights! Every major thoroughfare in the Sunset has stop signs or stop lights: Great Highway, Sunset Blvd, La Playa, and Lincoln. Even the alphabet streets have stop signs. But Sloat Blvd doesn’t have any of that, except at Lakeshore Plaza and where Sloat splits off to Skyline Blvd.

    Considering the amount of foot traffic from Lowell, Stern Grove, SFSU students, people headed to the Zoo or the Beach etc. it’s insane there are no stop lights or stop signs. Not only will this improve pedestrian safety, but overall safety. There are many car wrecks on this street from cars trying to make u-turns in non-turning lanes or cars making left turns through 4 lanes of traffic.

    I live on Sloat and I don’t cross the street until all the cars have passed. I don’t even look like I’m attempting to cross because some cars will stop, but then cars in the other lanes will not stop or cars behind them who are not paying attention will rear-end into the stopped cars (I have seen this happen several times).

  2. I live a couple blocks off of Sloat and have had my fair share of frightening experiences on that street -including seeing two people hit by the traffic. I don’t think “flashing beacons” and widened crosswalks will make much of a difference. Neighbors have long been saying that the best answer is to install some kind of pedestrian overpass every couple of blocks.

    My deepest sympathies to the Chang family.

  3. There is a police car parked on Sloat and Meadowbrook with no police officer inside. Also, the speed radar is not in use. We don’t need a stop sign, we need traffic lights. Cars fly by when they see no one crossing and I almost got hit multiple times. It is really dangerous.

  4. I’ve walked through that crosswalk to get to swimming class for Lowell and it felt extremely dangerous, so I never walked through there again, opting to just run straight up Sloat. If a driver doesn’t see you while you are crossing, you are almost certainly going to be seriously injured or dead with the speed the cars move at.

    I never knew her, but it really sucks for the people around her.

  5. There has been a mobile speed radar trailer sitting (not in use) at the corner of Sloat/Meadowbrook for weeks. Why was this not parked on Sloat in use?? This is just one block down from the intersection where this poor girl was killed.


  1. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog San Francisco
  2. After Death of Hanren Chang, Meager Safety Fixes May Not Come for 2 Years | Streetsblog San Francisco
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