SAN FRANCISCO - For pedestrians in San Francisco, 2020 is off to a terrible start.
On just the second day of the year there were three separate pedestrian accidents. Two were life-threatening, and one less serious in the Bayview district.
But changes coming to downtown San Francisco could help curb the problem. At the end of the month, part of Market Street will close to private vehicles.
The change is expected to cut down on the number of accidents, especially those involving vehicles vs. pedestrians.
Around 6 p.m. Thursday at 43rd Ave. and Fulton Ave. in the outer Richmond district, a pedestrian was hit by a car. Witnesses say a young man was trying to cross the street, even though the light was green for cars.
"The driver did the best he could to stop. He had a green light, hit the kid and he flew about 15, 20 feet in the air, like spinning," said witness Booth Carter.
"The victim right now is at SFGH suffering from critical life-threatening injuries. He's a 20-year-old," said SFPD Sgt. Frank Harrell.
Thursday morning, near Ocean and Harold Avenues, a woman was hit. She's also suffering life-threatening injuries, according to Police.
"Unfortunately, crashes in San Francisco are an everyday occurrence," said Jodie Medeiros, Executive Director of WalkSF.
Medeiros tracks the statistics and reports in 2019 there were 18 pedestrian fatalities in the city, compared to 13 the year before.
"It's really tragic and really sad. Every fatality for traffic violence is one that is preventable and one we're definitely trying to eliminate through education and enforcement and engineering."
One change coming to potentially curb the trend, starting on January 29, a 2.2 mile stretch of downtown Market Street will be closed to private vehicles. Only those with commercial plates will be allowed.
That means off-limits, even to ride-share drivers, which may deter some from the city.
"Yeah I have to go around and come back, so I have to drive more," said Amir Izadi, a ride-share driver.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that since 2014 there's been an average of over 100 injury collisions annually on the section of Market St. that will be off-limits to private vehicles.
Some say the new restriction could help drop that number.
"I think private vehicles not being on here will make a difference. I think one of the things I see is a lot of people are very aggressive at yellow and red lights, and a lot of running of red lights," said Ali Gustin, a bicycle commuter.
"We know that Market St. had five of the top ten most dangerous interesectons, so we're going to try to reduce that level of collisions between people and drivers," said Medieros.
In addition to the fatalities each year, WalkSF says several hundred people are injured in crashes, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and everyone else.
It will likely take a few months to see whether the new restrictions along Market St. will make a difference in reducing those numbers.