San Francisco

Pedestrians, Drivers Left To Fend For Themselves In 9-Hour Blackout At High-Risk Castro Intersection

If you were a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian in the Castro between the hours of 2pm and 10:30pm yesterday and didn't get into a collision, add a tally mark to your personal "win" column.

Besides leaving 450 local residents and businesses in the dark, a fallen tree at 16th and Church streets cut power at one of the neighborhood's most dangerous intersections: where Noe, 16th and Market streets meet.

Take a look:

Horns were blaring, F-Market streetcar bells were jangling and pedestrians were schooling like fish to avoid getting hit during the nearly nine-hour blackout.

Although police cars were seen driving through the intersection, no officers were sent to assist traffic management.

"There are more pressing issues in the district that we need to respond to," an SFPD dispatcher, who answered our third call to the department, told Hoodline yesterday evening. "We are just playing catch up."

Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline

This morning, a member of SFPD's media relations told us that it is "not the police's duty to direct traffic, it's the meter maids."

"We only [direct traffic] sometimes if there is a need for it—if there was no call, then there is no need for us to respond."

The intersection of Noe, 16th and Market streets has seen its fair share of collisions (such as this pedestrian struck by a car last summer and this motorcycle that hit another vehicle in December). It falls along two of the city's existing high-injury corridors, Market and 16th, and improving the intersection has been included in the Upper Market Street Safety Project. However, no changes have been made yet.

One vehicular collision in the blacked out intersection was reported to us just after 8pm yesterday, with cars reportedly "still whizzing by" after it happened.

The cherry on top?

This morning we learned that a traffic light at the same intersection came down during the wee hours of the morning (power was restored around 10:30pm yesterday evening). The carnage could be seen at the intersection's northeast corner, laying on the sidewalk in front of the Castro Republic.

Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

It is unclear how exactly the pole came down, and we are waiting to hear back from 311. We'll keep you updated.

Thank you to our wonderful tipsters, Chris M. and Daniel L.!

See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll see what we can find: (415) 200-3233.


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