MUNI Bullsh*t Results in Tragedy – Injury at Irving and 9th!

This is one of those times where all the “I told you so’s ” suck because it means someone got hurt – and I mean really hurt.

While having a pint at the Blackthorn Tavern, awaiting the begining of pub trivia, Bobby, the owner alerted me to a situation just outside the door. It seems that at 5:41 pm (according to sources on the spot) an outbound N-Judah making the potentially hazardous left turn hit and injured a woman who’d had trouble crossing the street. The combination of slick rails owing to the recent rain, combined with the fact that humans, cars and trains have to share a busy intersection have resulted in a needless tragedy.

Loyal readers will recall that we have tried, with marginal success, to try and improve safety at 9th and Irving, both here and at the Mayor’s “blog” with mixed results. MUNI, in its imitable bureaucratic style, promised to “study” the “issue” and promised to do something.

Problem is, we were promised a “solution” (scramble signals that would give pedestrians their turn to cross the street, then keep them OFF THE ROAD when cars and LRVs and buses were in the intersection) that should have happened sometime in Spring 2007, but of course, after making promises to fix the problem they since have offered nothing but excuses and bullsh*t.

Now someone has been hurt, potentially fatally, and we can expect to pay out another big settlement because Mayor Newsom, the Board of Supervisors and the Esteemed MTA would rather talk and talk than do and do. (Ironic, since common sense would dictate that fixing the big problem would be cheaper in the long run than payouts for incidents like these, but I suppose in today’s San Francsico, the hipper-than-thous can’t be bothered.)

It was especially galling to hear some spokes-droid for MUNI pumping out true bullsh*t to the press about “how they continue to study how to make things safer” when they knew exactly what to do – but offered more BS at the time instead of just getting the job done.

Being right sucks in situations like this, because it means someone got hurt, and it was senseless. MUNI, the MTA, and the city of San Francisco should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t give a good goddamn how cute the Mayor is or how great the scenery is. If we can’t even have the basics of a safe, reliable transit system and a government that gets the things done, none of that means squat.

For shame, City That Once Knew How. For shame.

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19 Responses to MUNI Bullsh*t Results in Tragedy – Injury at Irving and 9th!

  1. doc says:

    I was wondering what all of the sirens were about.
    I can’t count how many times I have sent letters to Ross and Gavin about this intersection and 9th @ Judah. I have personally seen several car accidents and more than 5 pedestrians hit by cars, buses and the good old N. There are countdown signals at 7th and Irving, but not the busier 9th intersection. Typical MUNI.
    Nate Ford has to be the most worthless paper pusher the city has ever hired.

  2. BJ says:

    I live up the street and was sitting at Front Room when it happened. Tell us more about what the solution is, and what the state of affairs re asking Muni to do it is?

  3. Evette Davis says:

    I live in 12th at Irving and find the 9th/Irving intersection really scary. It needs a major overhall to accomodate all of the activity. It would be nice if the trains had their own signal. I still fear it will not be enough though — because the MUNI trains run the lights; cars try to make the turn on the yellow and we have major j-walkers. What a tragedy; I am surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. Count us in to lobby the locals for change.

  4. Jeff H. says:

    I was right there, too, on a train right behind the one involved in the accident. What a treacherous intersection…until the situation improves (?) all I can do is urge everyone to cross 9th Ave. on the north side of Irving, rather than the south side. At least you’re out of the path of the N that way!

  5. T. Crane says:

    This is just awful. I live near there and can’t even count the number of times I’ve witnessed the N blow right through a light, ignoring people who are ALREADY IN THE CROSSWALK (Including people with kids, elderly people, ect), forcing whole crowds of people to stop so that the Streetcar can blaze on by. The number of near-misses is astounding, I’m amazed this hasn’t happened sooner.

  6. Greg says:

    @Jeff: I agree, and I do that myself if there’s a streetcar about.
    I think the thing that bugs me the most is that none of this has to happen – and eveyrone (cars, LRVs and pedestrians) can have a solution that allows EVERYONE to get where they are going, faster and safer, especially when it’s dark and the rails and streets are wet, as they were last night.
    Stopping an LRV is not easy to begin with – I can only imagine how difficult it was when the operator had to stop suddenly after having to start up for the left turn, then stop on wet rails from the storm. That is not a good thing for anyone!
    It’s also kind of disturbing to read some comments at the SFGate site who seem to believe in a sort of fascism that demands that anyone not an able-bodied hipster with lots of cash in their pocket deserves to die in the street. WTF, people? Common sense solutions exist – maybe if we spent less money on executive pay raises, and less money on bureaucracy, and more of that Prop. A money, people like this woman who was hit last night would not be injured, and we’d all have something that benefits everyone – even people who drive a car or a truck.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The ninetyish year old woman who was hit had her leg amputated below the knee late last night. She is a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, and currently cares for her ailing husband who is in his late nineties (with the help of her children).

  8. Nancy says:

    I had lunch with a friend earlier in the day. She’s from out of town and started to carelessly cross the street, trusting that the N Judah would stop as we had the light. I held her back as I’ve seen the N Judah just plow through the intersection on numerous occasions. That’s one of the many places in the city where I’m extremely careful as I do not trust MUNI. And, like you, I was shocked and disgusted by the callous comments at SF Gate.

  9. Gopal says:

    I was in front of Yancy’s when the accident happened, so I couldn’t see the actual collision, but it took all of about 30 seconds for the entire to intersection to go completely haywire. The other problem point is the 9th and Judah intersection, where people dash across the street frantically to catch the N, while cars try and go through the intersection as passengers disembark.

  10. TB says:

    To me, a real simple thing to do would be to put up MUNI only signals at 9th & Irving and up at 9th & Judah.
    No walking. No driving.
    Make them into three way signal intersections.
    Oh, and get a cop out there as well … you run the light red or jaywalk and cut off a car that has the light, you get ticketed.

  11. abanduni says:

    True this is a very dangerous intersection, but it is also the pedestrians who cause a lot of near accidents. I drive by this intersection almost daily and its amazing how many pedestrians ignore the red light…just crossing while talking on their cells and drinking their fricking Starbucks….
    it’s sad about the 90 year old and I hope something can be done…

  12. Greg says:

    @ananduni: agreed – there is plenty of bad behavior amongst bad peds, cars, buses, whatevers. If we at least had some better signaling, then there’d be a reduced chance of these kinds of things and if someone is dumb enough to cross on a red in a (car, crosswalk, bus) then at least there’d be a bit more clarity as to what is going on.
    There’s no reason why this can’t be a win/win/win situation, but San Francisco needs to get past pointing fingers and begin realizing that not every problem is a zero sum game.

  13. thalia goo says:

    I don’t know why ppl assume buses should stop for them.
    I’m not talking about the old woman but normal ppl who think just b/c they are pedestrian they always have the right of way. The MUNI holds like 100 ppl at rush hour.
    Like, hello? We all wanna get home, we don’t have time to wait on you.

  14. Greg Dewar says:

    agreed – everyone needs to employ common sense, esp. when there’s a multi-ton train coming!
    with some common sense, and a better signal, only the truly dumb would cross in front of a train, I think.

  15. Hermis says:

    I just googled to see if there was an update about the woman that was mutilated by MUNI Monday night and I discovered your website!!!
    I was sitting in my car in front of the “On the Run” while this happened right in front of me!!! It is burned in my brain and really hard to stop thinking about the HORROR of this situation! To hear someone’s voice whaling in PAIN, you can’t really imagine how one can forget this moment! Only one news station(Kron 4) mentioned it Tues am and they stated that she was taken to General Hospital and condition unknown!
    WHY? That’s what I want to know? Why would they ship this woman mutilated by MUNI all the way over to GH when UCSF was only a few blocks away???? UCSF, A facility that people come to from around the world for top care and could care for this woman faster and there are more highly skilled doctors on duty, is everything aout $$$$! Why did the MUNI Driver who ran over her, just STAND in THE WINDOW dumb founded and NOT jump out to help the woman as she LAY there in TORMENT. CRAZY…isn’t it?
    During the Chaos…I ran to stop a MUNI Bus North bound on 9th from driving up and possibly cutting off her head. When I stopped him he had an attitude and was just going to barrel through the intersection not even considering what just happened! I asked him: “Can you make that turn with the streetcar parked in that position?” he responded…”No”, so I said “then where do you think you are going?” stop right here!!! He listened to me and stopped and finally all his passengers started to get off the bus
    The people were so rude they pulled there cars out from a parking places and blocked the police cars North Bound on 9th & the Firetruck East Bound on Irving!! A man started yelling at an emergency worker because he waited at a bus stop and the bus did not come(Wow…could you be MORE selfish?) People are so wrapped up in them SELVES only that they don’t even care to be patient while someone is literally going to die under a train in front of them, not to mention the sicko’s taking photos of the woman with their cell phones! I had my professional camera in my vehicle and I would never consider such a disgustiong ACT! What is happening to this CITY and THE PEOPLE?
    These Pedestrian walks should at least have those warning lights in the asphalt alerting that there are people crossing! I have seen these very affective lights in front of the Hayward Courthouse, but I have NOT seen them anywhere in SF. Ok Mayor you just started your new post again Tuesday, so stop talking in form letters & staring in the mirror and start doing something for the city who elected you!

  16. Steve says:

    Just wanted to post a comment about the above post…”why would they ship this woman mutilated by Muni all the way over to GH when UCSF was only a few blocks away”.
    They took her to the trauma unit at General, considered to be the best in SF. General is set up for stuff like this. A friend of mine was in a bike accident in mid Dec and he asked the ambulance crew to take him to Davies where his doctor is (a hospital that takes his insurance). They wouldn’t. He was taken to the trauma unit at General which is the City’s policy.
    Sadly, the woman involved in the 9th and Irving accident had to have her foot amputated which the streetcar had run over.

  17. anna says:

    Totally terrifies me. Thanks for the in-depth expose as I am borrowing heavily from you in my own blog tonight.
    Keep up the fight!

  18. LS says:

    As a person who lives on the CORNER of 9th and judah and can see the intersection PERFECTLY I am hear to tell you that this sort of this is beyond common. As I write this now i just watched muni drivers run 6 red lights and 2 of those pushed FAMILIES aside who were crossing. I blame the muni drivers who’ve i’ve had more than my share of run in’s with.
    As a parent as well, when i’m crossing 9th and judah (and even 9th and irving) muni drivers will often scoot up to the light and try to get those crossing ON A LEGAL GREEN LIGHT to hurry up-just so the muni driver can run the light. i’ve personally had to,on more than one occasion, stop the N and lay into the muni driver about their actions.
    but hell you think the day time is bad? try taking the n owl which I take every morning at 4:30 am. I blame it all on the drivers. My fav are the one’s who will give you crap about leaving your flash pass at home or give you crap for being a quarter short on your fair but these same folks will allow the crack head and drunks etc on the bus without a fight.
    the issues AREN’T with the streets its with the PEOPLE who are driving these machines. Anyone who takes muni regularly has had to deal with the drivers at some point. Hell just this morning as i was going to work-I got on the n owl-the driver takes off trying to beat the light (which was already red) i wasn’t even sitting down, go flying, flew into the glass window and because of her poor decision making skills, my mp3 player goes flying from my hands and i drop it and scratched up the screen something bad….oh did i mention that the driver was fucking 15 min late…again.
    So there I am giving her hell..and her response should have sat down faster…it got ugly after that-I won’t go into it. Alot of names were called and she’s now a marked woman.
    I would have sat down if given the chance.
    its bad enough we have to deal with the homeless, drunks, crack heads and etc, on muni. The last thing we should have to worry about is the DRIVERS.
    they are the problem not the streets.
    But I won’t go blaming all drivers. Alot of the local pedstrians don’t help in the way they walk these streets as well. like I said-I live in a area where I can see both intersections PEFECTLY and I finish this up I just watched TWO people run in front of muni as its moving (legally for once) so they could try to catch it.
    but then again, the driver i’m sure seen them coming and tried to speed up so she could beat the light. Another typical move of these drivers. I’ve also been on the n when a few years back it ran over a person coming out of the tunnel right before cole valley and after duboce park. Believe that was a homeless person trying to kill themseleves on the tracks.
    okay i’ll storp ranting now.
    but the issues aren’t the streets and more lights. its BETTER MUNI DRIVERS. Lights won’t help to stop the muni drivers react better. In case you haven’t noticed, many regular drivers treat those intersections just as bad. i’ve actually KICKED the door in of a person who was driving a benz because he tried to speed up and almost hit my wife and my two kids.

  19. Alex says:

    D4 sup Carmen Chu is proposing a community meeting regarding the state of MUNI towards the end of the month (sez so in her Jan ’08 newsletter). I hope that at least some of you guys show up. If you recognize the driver on the N-Owl, get her badge number and raise hell.
    I live at the other end of the Sunset, in plain view of the L-Terrible. Today wasn’t so bad… just another MUNI driver on his cell phone. I had the distinct pleasure of having a train operator try to run me over a few weeks ago. I, for one, would be more content to put up with the abysmal on-time performance if it at least meant that MUNI wasn’t killing and maiming city denizens.
    Some of this Prop A. money ought to be spent on DPT staff to police the incompetent MUNI drivers. If we’re putting cameras in to track double parkers, and all the vehicles already have GPS units, why not track MUNI employees who run red lights and murder pedestrians. I can’t imagine it would be more expensive than paying to settle the lawsuits from MUNI victims.

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