Third streetcar accident in a month snarls Market St.

The Public Press
 — Aug 11 2009 - 5:59pm

A streetcar on Market Street struck a woman Tuesday afternoon, marking the third significant Muni accident in less than a month.

The woman, whose injuries were not life-threatening, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, said Judson True, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. on Market Street close to where it intersects Ninth, Hayes and Larking streets. The southwest-bound streetcar was approaching the passenger island slowly when, True said, the woman apparently stepped off the platform and was struck by the vehicle. She was not pinned under the vehicle.

The accident is the third in a recent series of Muni accidents. On Aug. 3, six people were injured when a streetcar struck a sport-utility vehicle on Market Street in the Castro, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A July 18 accident involving a westbound train crashing into a train parked at West Portal Station injured 48 people.

“We do believe that overall the Muni system is safe,” True said, noting praise for Muni from the California Public Utilities Commission for recent improvements.

Based on initial reports, it appeared that the streetcar was not speeding, True said.

The driver was placed on non-driving status pending the investigation and drug and alcohol testing, True said.

An hour after the accident, Municipal Transportation Agency and police inspectors were investigating the accident scene and controlled access to the area by diverting traffic. Five streetcars, including the F-Market car involved in the accident, remained parked on the block of Market Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. Police permitted Muni buses to pass through the block, but rerouted other vehicles.

Geneva Davis, 29, who lives in the nearby Chase Hotel, was walking home when she came upon the accident scene, where she saw a woman lying between the streetcar and the raised sidewalk where Muni passengers board and disembark.

“I didn’t see it happen, but I walked up and saw her bleeding,” Davis said. “I hope she’s OK.”

The injured woman had blonde hair and appeared to be in her late 30s or early 40s, Davis said. Bystanders helped move the woman away from the streetcar before emergency responders arrived, she said.