On a hot, sunny day in San Francisco, few places in The City have a higher concentration of people than Dolores Park.
The crowds often flow through the stone steps at Dolores and 19th streets — a dicey passage that has been a safety and planning headache for years.
Although cars move swiftly down the hilly Dolores Street, until recently the intersection has never had a stop sign or even a crosswalk.
“Nothing drastic has happened there yet, but it seems like every day there is a spate of close calls,” said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes Dolores Park. “There is a major concern that cars are barreling down the hill and pedestrians have kind of a false sense of security crossing there.”
Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages traffic operations in The City, sought to address the problem by adding a traditional crosswalk to the intersection. However, planners didn’t add a stop sign, opting to stay with the yield signs that have always been used on Dolores Street.
SFMTA officials said a stop sign could lead to incomplete stops and increase rear-end collisions. Also, a traffic signal has been ruled out because funding is limited and other intersections are more in need.
Crystal Vann Wallstrom of DoloresPark Works, a local community group that has lobbied for safety upgrades at the intersection, said the new crosswalk seems like a stopgap while the Planning Department continues to develop an overhaul of the Mission district.
That project, called the Mission Streetscape Plan, is still a few years from completion. It calls for special paving at the 19th Street intersection and sidewalk bulb-outs that will decrease the distance pedestrians have to walk to cross the street.