SF pedestrian deaths prompt hearing

In the course of 4 weeks, and within a mile of each other, two pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles in the southern part of San Francisco.

A hearing was held by District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee on Thursday to discuss pedestrian safety and address possible solutions for the problem.

On March 2, 17-year-old Hanren Chang was struck and killed by an allegedly drunk driver on Sloat Boulevard. Less than a month later, 68-year-old Tania Madfes was killed while crossing West Portal Avenue and Vicente Street on March 21.

Both areas fall within Supervisor Yee’s District 7, who sits on the Board of Supervisor’s Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee, under which the hearing was held. Yee said the deaths were “unacceptable,” and that:

“This is not going to be the last you hear from me on this issue.”

The hearing included presentations by the Municipal Transportation Agency, Department of Public Health and Department of Public Works on strategies to make the city safer for walkers.

One effort in-progress is a $1 million grant to upgrade Sloat Boulevard and the intersection where Chang was killed.

Three of Chang’s friends and fellow Lowell High School classmates attended the hearing to speak about how unsafe they felt Sloat Boulevard is for pedestrians. Sophia Li, 16, said at the hearing:

“I wish (Hanren) didn’t have to die for us to have this discussion. It’s simple, we all want to be safe.”

Another friend of Chang’s, Anyen Cheng, 16, started a petition on Change.org where supporters can urge the city to place a traffic signal at the intersection where her friend was struck. That petition can be viewed here.

The man accused of driving under the influence and killing Chang pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges on Friday.