Less than 48 hours after a David Grinberg, 90, was hit and killed in the crosswalk at Fell and Baker streets, anonymous guerrilla group SFMTrA installed safety improvements to the intersection.
SF Weekly received a tip about the activity shortly after 9 a.m. this morning, and the paint was still drying when we showed up to the scene.
On the northwest edge, the intersection now has posts creating a bulbout extension to the sidewalk — meaning that cars turning right onto Fell off of Baker are forced to make a wider loop into their lane, and can’t cut close to the curb. The three posts offer pedestrians an added four feet or so of protection from oncoming vehicles.
On the southwest edge near the Panhandle, the SFMTrA created a similar buffer for cars heading north on Baker Street who turn left on Fell. In addition, a post has been installed to daylight a parking spot on the corner. While there’s a large black truck currently parked there, once it leaves it’ll be difficult for another vehicle to pull in, creating extra visibility for both cars and pedestrians moving through the crosswalk.
But this intersection differs from what the guerrilla safety group has done in the past, in that it features a more permanent addition. “We’ve been experimenting with paint,” an SFMTrA spokesperson told SF Weekly. In a blog post describing their work at the intersection, the group writes that they “got out our prototype materials and created a safety pilot. Ten posts and some spray paint = about $300. We dedicate this installation to the residents at Mercy Plaza at this intersection and we hope that it slows traffic on Fell Street and makes pedestrians in the crosswalk feel safer.”
Fell Street — which has four lanes of traffic running at 30mph in between two lanes of parked cars — has long been considered a trouble area for the many seniors, children, cyclists and pedestrians in the area. Now, for a few hours at least, it’s safer for everyone.
In the meantime, Mayor Ed Lee, District 5 Sup. London Breed, and the SFMTA have yet to make a public statement on Grinberg’s death. In a city where every quote and piece of infrastructure moves at a snail’s pace, it’s a good thing we have the SFMTrA.