One of San Francisco’s most dangerous intersections has finally got the attention of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SF MTA). The intersection at Harrison Street and Main Street is getting a “safety face lift” of sorts to address what has been a treacherous intersection for pedestrians. In its current condition, this intersection and many of the surrounding intersections is a perfect storm for putting pedestrians at risk. Harrison Street acts as one of the many arteries that lead to the freeways, and this causes congestion and blocked intersections, especially during rush hour. Additionally, pedestrian traffic has continued to increase as the neighborhood has become a popular place to call home. Because AT&T Park is not too far away, many Giants fans are also walking the streets in this neighborhood during game day as well.
What does the SF MTA plan to do? According to sf.streetsblog.org, they will first give pedestrians more time to cross the intersection. There will be a 4-second head start before any vehicles get a green light. Second, the flashing red hand warning countdown will also be increased from 9-seconds to 15-seconds. Third, SF MTA will repaint the crosswalks with a “ladder design” that makes it more visible to motorists than the traditional crosswalk design. Lastly, the SF MTA will pursue legislation for prohibiting U-turns at this intersection that motorists typically use as a shortcut into the queue of cars trying to get onto the freeway during rush hour.
While the City is commended for taking notice of and implementing safety changes at this intersection, it is a sobering reminder that we cannot blindly rely on the safety measures the City has in place at this and other intersections around the City. There are many other streets that serve as arteries to freeways during rush hour, and not all intersections will have these new safety measures in place. It’s always a good reminder that the best way to prevent an accident as a pedestrian is to be alert, diligent, and aware of the ever-changing conditions that you encounter.