The Powell and Market cable car moves up Powell from the Market Street turnaround Friday, July 10, 2015. San Francisco cable car operators feel their safety is more compromised now than ever, and part of the reason is traffic congestion. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

SF cable car safety troubles discussed by District 3 candidates

In the wake of recent injuries to two cable car operators who were on the job in North Beach and Chinatown, two candidates for supervisor of those neighborhoods are ringing bells over their Muni safety-credentials.

At a Friday press conference in Chinatown, District 3 supervisor-candidate Aaron Peskin was quick to highlight a need for more safety for cable car operators.
“We need a media campaign around vehicle code 21756,” he said, which is a law prohibiting drivers from passing streetcars while they unload passengers. “We need [motorcycle police] to enforce these laws.”

Peskin offered words of support to Reynaldo Morante’s family, a cable car operator who was hit by a motorcyclist, slipped into a coma and is expected to be taken off life support soon. He also expressed remorse for injuries of Santiago Montoya, a cable car operator who was hit by a car and dragged 30 feet down Powell Street, near Jackson Street.

Montoya broke 20 bones in the collision and is recovering in a Concord hospital.
Maureen Erwin, a spokeswoman for District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen, said the supervisor has “a number of significant safety improvements [that] are in the works, especially near senior centers, schools and the high-injury Kearny [Street] corridor.”

Erwin said that while serving as vice chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s Plans and Programs Committee, “Christensen asked for a review of 19 different projects “scattered all over the district.”

One of those was of a Muni Forward project to remove and relocate stops along the 30-Stockton line, a vital and oft-full bus serving Chinatown.

Peskin also thinks the SFMTA needs to go back to the drawing board on those stop eliminations.

Irwin Lum, former president of the Transit Workers Union local 250-A, said he supports Peskin’s position because in Chinatown “you’ve got a lot of seniors and people with disabilities who can’t walk a few more blocks [to the next stop].”

Lum and former San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board Director Wilbert Din both announced endorsements of Peskin at the press conference.

Aaron PeskinCable CarsChinatownDistrict 3Julie ChristensenSFMTATransitVision Zero

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