Elderly woman struck by flatbed truck dies in second SF traffic death this week

A 75-year-old woman struck by a flatbed truck in Bernal Heights has died, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Marlene Aron, a San Francisco resident, was struck by the flatbed truck on Cortland Avenue and Ellsworth Street, according to police, who also confirmed the driver remained at the scene to speak with investigators, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.

Aron’s death is the second traffic fatality in San Francisco this week. Earlier this month a cyclist was also killed in the South of Market neighborhood.

Modesto Fergurdo, 61, was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver Tuesday. Fergurdo was a panhandler who lived in SoMa for two decades, according to locals who knew him. On September 13 Russel Franklin, 56, was cycling across Howard and South Van Ness streets when he was struck and killed by a driver.

Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency visited Howard and South Van Ness and redesigned it to make it easier for drivers and cyclists, or pedestrians, to see one another by removing a parking space near the crosswalk.

Cathy DeLuca, policy and program director at advocacy group Walk SF, noted two of the deaths this month occured at a “high-injury corridor,” which The City has identified as 13 percent of citywide streets where 75 percent of severe and fatal traffic collisions take place.

Essentially, they are The City’s most dangerous streets.

“I think we have a crisis in neighborhoods like SoMa and the Tenderloin,” DeLuca said. “In the Tenderloin every street is a high injury corridor, SoMa is a high injury corridor. It’s not a surprise, this is predictable,” and until the streets are engineered to be safer, “this will continue.”

DeLuca added, “It tells we’re not moving quickly enough.”

SFMTA has 72 active pedestrian projects across The City, according to its project map website, which includes projects from the Bayview to Tenderloin neighborhoods, in Golden Gate Park and other portions of San Francisco. The agency is also working on 64 street engineer projects to improve bicycling in The City. San Francisco has a stated mandate called Vision Zero to reduce annual traffic fatalities to zero by 2024.

San Francisco has seen 14 traffic fatalities this year through the end of August, according to the Vision Zero San Francisco monthly report, not counting the three other traffic deaths this month. The San Francisco Department of Public Health tracked three traffic fatalities so far this month, though that data is preliminary.

By comparison there have been 36 homicide deaths in The City this year.

Taylor Ahlgren, a San Francisco resident who counts himself as an avid cyclist, came upon Franklin’s collision last week and tried to save his life, as Franklin bled profusely from his head. This week at an SFMTA Board of Directors meeting, Ahlgren spoke to the directors at public comment, and through tears begged for more engineering treatments to make The City’s streets safer.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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