‘Slow Street’ crash destroys San Francisco sushi restaurant grounds

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Witnesses watched Friday night as a car speeding west on 20th Street crashed into another heading north on San Carlos Street and rammed it into Yoji Sushi House Park.

The high-speed car accelerated towards Valencia Street, witnesses said.

This all happened after 10 p.m. on the so-called 20th Street Slow Street that spans most of the Mission District. The restaurant was closed and no one was eating in the small park at the time of the accident.

This was the second parklet in the Mission to be hit by a car accident in the past year. The first happened in October at Bender’s parklet on South Van Ness.

Witnesses at the scene said the passengers in the car that was hit were uninjured and remained at the scene when firefighters and police arrived.

Lamont Bransford-Young, who runs Fingersnaps Media Arts on this corner, said he was leaving for the night when he heard cars screeching and speeding.

“I heard it before I saw it,” said Bransford-Young, who had reached the Mission Street intersection when the accident happened. “I saw the red Honda spin a few times.” The other car, he said, took off immediately.

The car crashed into a parklet at 20th and San Carlos streets. Photo by William McLeod

According to Brandsford-Young, police located a license plate that was dislodged from the car that caused the accident.

A Yoji Sushi House employee said on Saturday that part of the restaurant’s parklet had been destroyed, but employees had gone home for the night and did not witness the incident.

Bransford-Young said he watched the intersection through the large windows of his corner business and saw near misses every day. “It’s like watching Hollywood movies all day,” he laughed. “Friday and Saturday are on a different level of carelessness.”

Twentieth Street is one of the city’s “slow streets” and has signs to discourage driving and promote other forms of transportation. But residents and business owners fear it will have the opposite effect on the streets.

The car crashed into a parklet at 20th and San Carlos streets. Photo by Lamont Bransford-Young

“All they do is wreak havoc because people bypass them,” Bransford-Young said. He said that instead of conducting polls, the SFMTA should come and sit in his studio with him for a day. “You wouldn’t believe what’s happening on this little block.”

“Twentieth is a bit debatable,” said nearby resident Bill McLeod, who arrived at the scene Friday night. McLeod said he’s been advocating for decades for small changes to slow traffic on the residential streets he lives on in the Mission, like adding speed bumps or lowering speed limits.

While some “slow streets” like Shotwell and Sanchez remain quiet, and people walk or even jog down Lake Street in Richmond, 20th Street is different, McLeod said. He noted that the obstructions on 20 cause people to steer towards oncoming traffic and said he was not convinced they had any impact on slowing traffic.

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