Broadway and Mason streets, the site of a September 2008 cable car collision that left an 80-year-old woman dead, continues to be the topic of upheaval amongst community groups, pedestrian advocacy groups, and transit representatives, says the Examiner.
The victim, Jin Xi Yu Lin, was a resident of the Lady Shaw Senior Center, which along with Jean Parker Elementary school, is inconveniently located right at this intersection. Because cable cars tend to stop in the middle of the intersection, after the stop sign instead of before it, the flow of traffic is often confusing.
The intersection’s steep location at the top of the hill on Mason, also makes visibility difficult. With children and the elderly surrounding the area, safety upgrades seem essential. “The elderly and children are the people who are most often crossing this intersection,” Deland Chan, of the Chinatown Community Development Center, said. “And they are the most vulnerable pedestrian populations in The City.”
Elizabeth Stampe, Executive Director of pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF, also blames the lack of “no-parking” zones at the intersection, for the low visibility levels, since pedestrians have trouble seeing through the parked vehicles to see approaching motorists.
The 2008 cable car fatality unfortunately, was not an isolated incident. In 2006, Joyce Yuet Wah Lam was killed in a cable car accident at Mason and Filbert. It took three years of lobbying by Chan and the Chinatown Center, to successfully get four-way traffic lights installed at that intersection.
These four-way traffic lights at Broadway and Mason seem to be the best safety solution for the intersection’s current issues. The struggle for the upgrade ensues, with requests from the Self Help for the Elderly, who manages the Lady Shaw Senior Center, meeting much resistance from the City.
According to Josephine Ma, the fund development director for the group, the City cites a lack of funding for their inability to move forward with the safety upgrades.
In the meantime, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency had changed the location of a cable car boarding sign so it isn’t blocking the stop sign at the intersection, according to Paul Rose, department spokesperson.
Traffic and pedestrians will seemingly continue this dangerous dance of co-existence until the City caves to the community’s requests.