10/03/2012 05:38 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2012

San Francisco's Most Dangerous Intersection Was Paved With Good Intentions

This article comes to us courtesy of The Bay Citizen.

By Zusha Elinson

Hayes Valley was best known for the hooker haven beneath the Central Freeway when Greg Foss moved to the San Francisco neighborhood in 1982.

The area was transformed when the city tore down the 1.2-mile double-deck structure and replaced it with Octavia Boulevard, a ground-level thoroughfare with tree-lined medians, a park and quiet side streets. Designed by noted UC Berkeley urban planning professor Allan Jacobs, it opened in 2005 to wide acclaim.

But the leafy boulevard has brought its own problems. Clogged with cars rushing to get on and off Highway 101, the corner of Octavia Boulevard and Market Street has become the city’s most dangerous intersection.

During the past three years, there have been 30 crashes causing injuries at that corner, more than any other San Francisco intersection, according to a recent report by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. With a heavily used bike lane on Market Street, the intersection also has seen the most bike crashes in the city during that time, according to The Bay Citizen Bike Accident Tracker. Last year, nine of the 13 injury crashes involved cyclists.

On a recent afternoon, Foss, 55, was seated at the Mercury Cafe on Octavia, three blocks up from Market Street. The cafe was filled with the neighborhood’s new residents: young professionals tapping away on MacBooks and smartphones. While the boulevard helped rejuvenate the area, Foss said, it also brought heavy street traffic.

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