S.F. bike group seeks new lights at Fell, Masonic

For Peter Borkon, it was his first time revisiting the intersection of Fell and Masonic streets since he was broadsided by a Chevy Suburban while riding his bike only a month ago.

Recovering from a fractured hip, a broken nose and abrasions from head to toe, Borkon is now healthy enough to ride his bike, but the scars remind him of the terror of crossing the “notorious” intersection.

“I don’t ride my bike in the city anymore,” he said.

Borkon isn’t the only victim recently struck by vehicles at the busy intersection. Four people crossing the intersection in the last two months have been hit by vehicles, said Rachel Kraai, project manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Kraai said the intersection is dangerous because of the large-radius left turns vehicles make from Fell Street onto Masonic. The wide turns, along with busy traffic, make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the intersection.

But members of the community have taken action to find a temporary solution to the ongoing problem. Volunteer crossing guards have been regulating the crosswalk area along the Panhandle path — mainly during commute hours, when the intersection is at its busiest.

At a news conference held at the intersection Tuesday, community members pointed out how many near misses occur there and put forth possible solutions to the problem.

One measure the SFBC and its colleagues hope to implement is to separate the crossing light into two phases — one for pedestrians and bicyclists and one for vehicles.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the district where the intersection exists, introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday urging the Municipal Transportation Agency to create the crossing-light system.

Volunteer crossing guard Sam Sapoznick said he sees one or two near-hits during noncommute hours. During commute hours, however, that number rises to between five and 10 near-hits. The crossing guard program is only a temporary solution, however, and will end this week.


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