Death hastens action on street projects

A woman was struck and killed by a bus this week amid continued efforts from City Hall to make the streets safer for pedestrians.

Paulette Goff, 59, of Danville, was struck in a crosswalk near the intersection of Murchison and California drives by a San Mateo County Transit District bus Monday around 7:50 a.m. She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

SamTrans is investigating whether the bus driver, who has been relieved of duty during the investigation, was at fault, spokesman Jonah Weinberg said.

It’s been a tough few years for pedestrians in the city. In 2004, police said there were 10 pedestrian-involved car accidents. A teenager was seriously injured in March crossing El Camino Real at Ludeman Lane — the same intersection that has seen three fatalities since the 1980s.

Now, officials say four projects, including red light cameras, signalized and lighted crosswalks and an expanded Millbrae Avenue overpass, may help the situation.

This week, the City Council reviewed traffic data that showed more than 1,000 red-light runners at the intersection of Millbrae Avenue and Rollins Road in just four hours during peak-time traffic. During separate discussions about nearby Wilson Plaza this week, council members acknowledged that the plaza is difficult for pedestrians to walk around.

The Millbrae Specific Plan, adopted in 1998, sought to turn the BART station area into transit-oriented development, with easy access to the BART/Caltrain hub, mixed-use developments and pedestrian walkways. As part of that project, the city is currently designing a signaled crosswalk across El Camino Real at Victoria Avenue, where there is a median, but no safe way to cross the busy thoroughfare, City Manager Ralph Jaeck said.

The approximately $750,000 project should be completed before 2008, Popp said, noting that it’s difficult to get local traffic improvements along El Camino because it’s regulated by Caltrans.

Popp further expects to have a lighted crosswalk at El Camino Real and Millwood Avenue — the site of two serious accidents — in place before the start of the school year.

“Now, you’ve got to run for your life to get across there,” Jaeck said.

Caltrans and the federal government, however, are expected to kick in funds to widen the Millbrae Avenue overpass, possibly including a bike path and pedestrian walkway.

“It’s a really necessary amenity to get people to the Baylands,” Jaeck said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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