Elderly woman hit, killed by Muni bus

The 83-year-old woman who was killed by a Muni bus while crossing a notoriously dangerous San Francisco street was the fourth pedestrian to be killed by a Muni vehicle this year.

San Francisco resident Marina Vafiadis died at the scene of Balboa Street and Park Presidio after she was hit by a northbound 28-19th Avenue bus at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Police have not yet determined whether she had the green light.

Vafiadis is the second pedestrian over the age of 65 to be killed by a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus this year. She is also the second senior citizen to be killed in a crosswalk this year on the notoriously busy and dangerous Highway 1 corridor. In June, 86-year-old Alice Wallace was hit and killed at 19th Avenue and Noriega Street.

San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Steve Mannina said Vafiadis was crossing the north side of Balboa Street and was struck in the northeastern corner of the intersection by a northbound bus in the far right lane. The intersection does not have pedestrian signals.

In March, The Examiner reported that most of the 31 crosswalks on 19th Avenue and Park Presidio — the crosstown route of California Highway 1 — between Holloway Avenue in the south and Lake Street to the north, lack pedestrian signals.

The California Department of Transportation, which administers 19th Avenue and Park Presidio because they are part of a state highway, had plans to install pedestrian signals this year, but bids for those projects came in over-budget and were not approved.

On Wednesday, Caltrans spokeswoman Valerie Royo said a new round of projects, with a total budget of $11.5 million in state money and $8.4 million in city money, would go up for bids in October. The first stage would install pedestrian signals at 10 intersections along 19th Avenue. The second stage, which would go up for bids in 2008, would install 16 signals on Park Presidio and 19th Avenue, including the intersection of Park Presidio and Balboa Street, where Tuesday’s collision happened.

So far this year, Muni vehicles have been involved in 27 collisions with pedestrians, according to agency spokeswoman Maggie Lynch. Of those, four resulted in deaths and seven resulted in injuries that required a trip to the hospital. In total, Muni vehicles have been involved in 904 collisions this year, but Lynch pointed out that that includes everything from fatal collisions to nicked mirrors in the bus yard.

Last year, Muni vehicles were involved in a total of 1,682 collisions. Of those, 49 involved pedestrians, resulting in 46 injuries and four deaths, according to the transit agency.

amartin@examiner.com

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