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Car injures pedestrian crossing Octavia

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A vehicle struck a 51-year-old man Monday night on Octavia Boulevard at Haight Street — the latest in a rash of accidents near or at the entrance to the Central Highway.

The man, whose identity is not being released by police, was crossing eastbound on Octavia at Haight around 9:40 p.m. Monday when the driver of a Toyota Land Cruiser hit him. Because the man was crossing against the light, police said he was at fault and the driver was not cited. The man was transported to San Francisco General Hospital where he was being treated for life-threatening injuries, police said.

Department of Parking and Traffic spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said two collisions were reported at the intersection of Haight and Octavia between September 2005 and June 2006 — but this is the first to involve a pedestrian.

Monday’s accident comes nearly one month after 28-year-old bicyclist Margaret Timbrell was stuck just about two blocks away at the intersection of Market Street and Octavia while riding her bike to work on Jan. 25. Timbrell suffered 27 broken bones and two punctured lungs after a truck carrying cement bags made an illegal right-hand turn at the intersection.

There were six reported collisions at the Market and Octavia intersection from September 2005 to June 2006 — but many accidents go unreported, Lynch said.

Since Timbrell was hit, advocates have asked that The City reassess the design of the intersection and Octavia Boulevard. Michael Smith, spokesman for WalkSF.org, said he would like to see speed limits reduced to 25 mph throughout The City so that pedestrians have time to react. Octavia Boulevard has a speed limit of 30 mph.

“Injuries would be reduced greatly [by lowering the speed limit] by five miles,” Smith said.

Paul Olsen, member of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, attended the San Francisco Transportation Authority Plans and Programs Committee meeting last week where new proposals for addressing safety concerns in the area — including new signage and greater police enforcement — were presented.

“I think that there is still a lot of traffic engineering around Octavia Boulevard that needs to be done. Design is not as perfect as it could be, and some of the measures discussed last week, like speed bumps, will help throughout the boulevard,” Olsen said.


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