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SF crews to make improvements to 4th & King intersection after 4-year-old killed

Mission Bay residents say intersection where 4-year-old girl was killed is a constant danger for ped
SF Mission Bay residents say intersection where 4-year-old girl was killed is unsafe 04:30

SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor London Breed announced improvements would be made to the intersection of 4th and King in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood after a 4-year-old girl was hit and killed by a driver last week.

According to the mayor's office, Breed has directed the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make immediate improvements to the intersection, which is located near the Caltrain station and Oracle Park.

"This is a heartbreaking incident that took the life of an innocent child, leaving a family changed forever and our community deeply saddened," Breed said. "Our streets and roads in San Francisco should be safe for everyone to enjoy without feeling their lives are in danger, which is why I have directed the SFMTA to take immediate action to prevent this from happening again."

Shortly after 5 p.m. on August 15, the girl was being pushed in a stroller by her father when the driver struck them in the crosswalk. The girl succumbed to her injuries at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital while her father was treated for life-threatening injuries.

Police arrested the driver, identified as 71-year-old Karen Cartagena, on suspicion of failure to yield to pedestrians and vehicular manslaughter.

Following the collision, the SFMTA convened a "Rapid Response" team with the city's Department of Public Health and San Francisco police to review the crash and to identify changes to the intersection.

In response, the SFMTA said they would remove one of the two southbound right-turn lanes from 4th Street onto King Street, aimed at reducing the number of conflicts between cars and people in the crosswalk. Crews would also change the traffic signal for the right turn lane to add a yellow arrow instead of a green light to warn drivers to yield to pedestrians.

Breed also directed the SFMTA to assess dozens of similar intersections with double turn lanes across the city.  

"This tragedy reminds us of the urgency needed to accelerate safety investments to this intersection and critical streets across the City," said SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin.

Residents told KPIX following the fatal collision that 4th and King is often difficult and dangerous to cross. It's where Safeway customers, Caltrain commuters, Muni riders, residents, and often pedestrians heading to and from Giants games converge.  

"You just feel like you're taking your life in your hands," said longtime resident Bettina, who added she goes out of her way to avoid the intersection altogether. 

In addition, the agency has been directed to prioritize safety improvements on the city's "High Injury Network", which consists of 12% percent of the city's streets but where 68% of the city's severe and fatal collisions occur. The 4th and King intersection was added to the network last year.

"We will continue to invest in and prioritize improvements to help prevent anyone, especially our children, from being hit, injured, or killed by a driver," Breed said.

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