90-year-old Panhandle pedestrian killed


A 90-year-old man killed by a vehicle near San Francisco’s Panhandle on Wednesday evening was the third pedestrian killed by a driver in The City in less than three weeks, pedestrian advocates said Thursday.

David Grinberg was struck in a collision reported at 5:22 p.m. in the area of Fell and Baker streets, according to police. He was taken to a hospital but died of his injuries.

A 28-year-old woman who was driving the vehicle stopped at the scene and had not been arrested as of this morning, according to police.

Grinberg’s death was the third involving a pedestrian in less than three weeks, and occurred in an area that the city has previously identified as a “high-injury corridor,” according to pedestrian advocacy group Walk SF and the Vision Zero Coalition. Those corridors include the 13 percent of city streets that account for 75 percent of severe and fatal crashes.

Cathy DeLuca, executive director for Walk SF, said:

“How many more people have to die before we realize that we can put an end to these preventable crashes. … Years of data show which streets are the most dangerous in the city and proven solutions already exist to make them safe.”

The Sept. 22 death of Gus Vardakastanis, 56, a popular grocer who owned three stores — Haight Street Market, Noriega Produce and Gus’s Community Market — also occurred on a high-injury corridor, DeLuca said.

Vardakastanis was struck around 2:15 a.m. at Jerrold Avenue and Toland Street by a driver who fled the scene.

A third pedestrian, 41-year-old Winifred Leshane, died on Sept. 15 after being struck by a vehicle in the South of Market neighborhood, also by a hit-and-run driver. She was found in the area of Dore and Brannan streets around 8:15 a.m.

Police today said they have no arrests or new information to release in the deaths of either Vardakastanis or Leshane.

In 2014, city officials adopted the Vision Zero policy, calling for traffic-related deaths to be reduced to zero by the year 2024.

So far, however, it’s hard to see much of a change, DeLuca said.

The city sees an average of around 30 traffic-related deaths a year, including vehicle collisions, pedestrians and bicyclists.

In 2015, there were 20 pedestrians killed in the city and in 2016 there were 16, DeLuca said. This year there have been nine so far.

DeLuca said:

“Up to the end of August it was only six and we were feeling good. … But then in the past three weeks we’ve added three on, and that’s quite alarming.”

Walk SF is advocating for the city to adopt engineering solutions that can slow traffic and increase pedestrian visibility, such as speed humps, traffic circles and corner sidewalk extensions.

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