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Transportation activists install unsanctioned safety measures at site of fatal Panhandle crash

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A transportation activist group has installed unsanctioned barriers at Fell and Baker streets, where a man was fatally struck by an SUV on Wednesday evening. (Courtesy photo)
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An activist group that specializes in attempting to modify streets to make them safer — without San Francisco’s permission — has struck again.

This time, SF Transformation installed ten white poles at the intersection of Fell and Baker streets where David Grinberg, 90, was struck and killed Wednesday evening by the driver of an SUV.

“We were saddened to hear about the death of David Grinberg. We took action. Where is the city?” the group tweeted from their Twitter account @SFMTrA on Friday morning.

SEE RELATED: SFPD pushes traffic safety measures as SF sees third pedestrian death in as many weeks

The poles bulb out from a corner on Fell and Baker streets, and from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle across the street. Narrowing the visible area for autos to drive is a proven method city planners use across San Francisco, as it has been shown to cause drivers to reduce their speed and gives pedestrians a shorter distance of exposed street to cross.

Notably, witnesses told the San Francisco Examiner that Grinberg was nearly across the street when he was hit.

In defending the activists’ work, Twitter user @lauren_sailor tweeted, “Posts would have shortened David’s crossing distance. He might’ve cleared the 3rd lane before the distracted driver floored it & hit him.”

The SFMTA told the San Francisco Examiner they will remove the poles.

“Consistent with the vast majority of cases where we see these posts installed, we are obligated to remove them,” said Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson.

He also added that the SFMTA may explore new safety options for the intersection, “to see if there’s anything we can do to further improve safety in the area.”

Grinberg was struck and killed by a 28-year-old driver behind the wheel of an SUV shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. Activists and neighborhood groups quickly pointed out they had asked for various safety measures at the site, which have yet to be installed.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency added some safety measures in 2010, including longer timing for the walk signal and a leading pedestrian interval, which allows walkers time to clear an intersection while drivers are stalled at a longer red right, among other changes.

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