52-year-old Dr. Kevin Mack died yesterday morning, and three others were injured at the intersection of Octavia and Hayes. A big rig carrying cars crashed into a UCSF shuttle transporting employees to work. UCSF still have not made officials had no immediate comment. The big-rig was headed north on Octavia at Oak Street. Mack was ejected in the crash and landed underneath the big-rig. Three other passengers, ranging in age from 58-85 years of age, were taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi aknowleged the crash underscores the sometimes dangerous conditions on Octavia Boulevard. He said: “I am acutely aware of the ongoing concerns generated by traffic and those trying to negotiate in and around Octavia…the area is especially confusing to visitors in San Francisco,” such as out-of-state drivers.”
Our research revealed that Octavia Boulevard was designed to resemble, both form and function, the multi-way boulevards found in many high-density European cities, which began in the age of horse-drawn carriages and foot traffic, and then had to find ways to accommodate cars. The urban planners of Octavia decided that such boulevards were pleasant, functional, and contrary to their reputation in America, not dangerous at all. They rejected the latter idea and made believe that the boulevards are better and less rigid than typical American streets and that they would allow pedestrians and cars to make instinctive, rather than enforced, room for one another. Well, that is nice in theory, but this is not Europe-and although Europhiles would like to believe San Francisco is like Europe-it is not. Over there, the driving situation is organized chaos, and everyone is on the same page. We have yet to catch on to that spirit. What is more, that boulevard carries many out-of-towners into the city, like this truck driver from min, who are not familiar with our hilly streets, nor our street engineering, such as that on Octavia. At the same time, there is no telling if that accident wouldn’t have happened all the same if the truck driver were familiar with our streets. We won’t know until the investigation is over, but the truck driver said he had the right of ways, and so did a witness, who said that the shuttle ran the red light. So maybe this is a straightforward case of driver inattention and has nothing to do with street engineering.
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