Van Ness Accidents Triple Over Last Two Years

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Jan 24, 2011  |  Updated 6:00 AM PDT
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Van Ness Accidents Triple Over Last Two Years

Erik Burling

The airbag apparently deployed.

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One of San Francisco's most dangerous streets is just a few steps away from City Hall.

Accidents on Van Ness have spiked recently, with a more than threefold increase in collisions. At times, it's been gory: one driver hit a man and carried him on the hood for two blocks while attempting to escape.

Several factors are to blame, say neighbors. The lights are too short for pedestrians, and don't count down before changing. Lower speed limits and better police enforcement is also needed, according to the Ex.

The riskiest spot is where Van Ness touches Market. It's a complex, challenging intersection, but drivers often speed through despite the lack of direction.

Improvements are planned for the street, but it'll be four years before they're complete. That includes a new Bus Rapid Transit lane that would allow buses to move quickly along the street while slowing cars to a safer speed. As part of the BRT plan, pedestrian crossings would be enlarged and made safer. The project has been in the works since 2006, and faced initial opposition from nearby car dealers.

A similar upgrade is planned for Geary, which will be getting BRT lanes sometime around 2016.

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