A pair of stop signs were installed last week at the Marina district intersection where two 12-year-old boys suffered severe injuries earlier this month when they were struck by a suspected drunken driver.
The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency turned the intersection of Bay and Buchanan streets into an all-way stop last Friday, adding signs on each side of Buchanan Street less than a week after the Board of Directors approved the changes.
The transit agency twice delayed safety improvements to the section of Bay Street before the Marina Middle School students were struck Nov. 4. After Julian Melendez and Peter Nguyen were sent to the hospital with severe injuries, the SFMTA seems to have streamlined the process.
“Following the incident, we took another look at the collision history and determined that an all-way stop at Bay and Buchanan would be an appropriate recommendation,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said.
“They’re about two weeks too late for Peter and Julian,” said Craig Peters, attorney for the boys. “I don’t understand why they couldn’t have done that in 2013, when they were aware of the problem.”
The safety measures were designed to slow cars driving down Bay Street with speed bumps and a slimmed roadway.
“That intersection has always been a problem and it’s been a problem because you have cars that go too fast down the street,” Peters said.
Kirsten Andereck, the alleged drunken driver, is accused of striking the boys when a box truck stopped for them in the outermost lane of Bay Street, creating a blind spot, Peters said. Reducing the number of lanes to one each way on Bay Street, part of the delayed SFMTA plan, could have curbed the chances of the accident from happening.
The boys were headed back to Marina Middle School from Safeway when they were hit and sent to the hospital with head trauma and fractured hips, Peters said. Melendez also has a broken leg.
Nguyen’s brain trauma was more serious than Melendez’s and he was kept at the hospital until Monday. Melendez was sent home about a week and a half ago, Peters said.
Peters has not filed a lawsuit against the SFMTA and said he is still in the early phase of an investigation into the incident. “We’re considering all of our options, including whether The City shares in some responsibility,” he said.
Andereck has since pleaded not guilty to two charges related to driving under the influence and two counts of child endangerment.