Seniors decry short Third Street signal lights

A group of seniors and disabled residents rallied in San Francisco’s Bayview District Wednesday¬†to call for longer crossing times on the busy Third Street corridor.

The group Senior and Disability Action launched a two-month campaign seeking the longer crossing times to allow slower-moving residents the time to cross the street.

At the busy corner of Third Street and Revere Avenue, within site of a San Francisco Municipal Railway T-Third Street stop, the seniors crossed carefully, demonstrating how the countdown ran out before all of them could make it safely to the other side.

Resident Pi Ra said the group has made similar calls before, in 1996 and in 2011:

“Now we’re bringing it up in 2017. … The difference is that the streets have gotten worse.”

Group member Sandy Alexander said that of the hundreds of pedestrians injured by vehicles each year and the approximately 20 that are killed, the majority are seniors and those with disabilities:

“Every day seniors with disabilities like myself wonder, will I have enough time to cross the street. … In order for the city to meet its goal of zero deaths by 2024 it must at least give us enough time to cross the unsafe streets of San Francisco.”

Bayview Police Capt. Raj Vaswani said the Third Street corridor from the Bayview to the Dogpatch is a focus of enforcement efforts, particularly for red-light violations and speeding.

Many drivers use Third Street as a commute corridor and will take it as an alternate route when the freeways are backed up, Vaswani said.

“What we encourage people to do is to be patient and to respect the community as they drive through here,” he said.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said traffic signals on Third Street are timed the way they are to give light-rail trains priority, allowing transit vehicles and riders to catch more green lights:

“We have heard this group’s concerns and are working to provide more time at each intersection on Third Street, as part of a project that will also further improve transit travel times in the area.”

Ra said the group planned a similar action in the South of Market neighborhood on May 3 at Fifth and Mission streets.