Accident Highlights Market Street Challenges
June 11, 2012
A man was trapped under an F-line streetcar (PCC No. 1074) on Friday, as reported by ABC7 News as it happened:
SFGate.com reported that after being freed by firefighters, the man’s injuries were fortunately found to be minor. The article continues, “The man, who was about 50 years old, may have been trying to get into the back door when the trolley pulled away from the station, said Paul Rose, a transit spokesman. But Sierra Burns, 25, said she saw the man lying down on the platform in the fetal position before the incident.”
It should be noted that the streetcar has a door interlock that should have prevented it from moving while the doors were still opened. It may be that Muni spokesman Rose was speculating on the cause and that the eyewitness account is more accurate, suggesting that the man wasn’t trying to board but was lying on the island and could have rolled under the car. An investigation is under way, so we won’t speculate further. Glad the man’s apparently all right.
However, this incident highlights the reality that all Muni operators face on Market Street: people who are disoriented or distracted in one way or another as they move into the path of their vehicles. You don’t have to spend long on the street to see people wandering in front of and around streetcars and buses at any point in the block, seemingly oblivious to the potential danger of these large vehicles. Whether it’s chemical effects, earbuds, or cellphones, people are taking their lives in their hands here — and there’s only so much the vehicle operators can see or do. As we’ve said before, it’s a tough job!
This is why Market Street Railway is joining with SFMTA, Muni’s parent, the departments of City Planning and Public Works, and numerous groups, including the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, in working on the Better Market Street Project, which will lead to changes in the way transit, bicycles, and pedestrians interact when Market Street is repaved about 2015. MSR Director Bruce Agid is leading our involvement. We are focused on finding ways to help F-line streetcars and all Muni vehicles operate more efficiently and safely on the street, while improving safety and efficiency for bicyclists and enhancing the environment for pedestrians as well.
You’ll be reading more about our point of view on Market Street in this space in the months to come.