Pedestrian ‘scramble’ debuts at Kearny and Clay


Pedestrians at the very busy intersection of Kearny and Clay streets are now able to cross the street diagonally with traffic coming to standstill thanks to the addition of a pedestrian “scramble.”

Chinatown community leaders and Supervisor Aaron Peskin have pushed the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to install a full pedestrian scramble since the death of 77-year-old Ai You Zhou, who was struck and killed in the summer of 2015 at the intersection.

The SFMTA installed a partial pedestrian scramble, but Chinatown community members wanted to see a full scramble at the busy intersection where drivers are entering the Portsmouth Square Plaza Garage.

Last November, Peskin, who represents The City’s Chinatown neighborhood, joined many of the community organizations protesting for a full pedestrian scramble. Protestors formed their own human scramble at the intersection.

The SFMTA got the message. On Wednesday, community groups including the Chinatown Community Development Center and the Chinatown Transportation Research and Improvement Project, joined Peskin in celebrating the fully functioning pedestrian scramble at Kearny and Clay streets.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin celebrates with the Chinatown community of a newly installed pedestrian scramble at the intersection of Kearny and Clay streets.

Peskin said:

“We have a real live scramble. These were pioneered both downtown and on Stockton Street and it is the way San Francisco [is] going to continue to evolve as we reach our vision of Vision Zero.”

SFMTA’s Director of Sustainable Streets Tom Maguire said the most important part of how a pedestrian scramble works is that vehicle traffic is required to stop in all directions as pedestrians cross the street from and to any corner.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

San Francisco police Capt. David Lazar of the Central Station says officers will continue to enforce traffic and red light rules the intersection of Kearny and Clay streets.

San Francisco police Capt. David Lazar of the Central Station said police officers will continue enforce the traffic laws at the intersection:

“My commitment is to continue enforcement out here. You will see police officers issuing citations so we can change behavior.”

A most recent enforcement operation conducted less than two weeks ago at Kearny and Clay streets, saw officers issue 45 citations, said Lazar.

Malcolm Yeung, deputy director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, said that the pedestrians deaths were an epidemic to the community:

“These deaths are entirely preventable. This epidemic is curable and we’re stating right here today.”

Yeung chanted with everyone who attended the event:

“Slow down for Chinatown.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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