Aging San Francisco light pole crashes onto car

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - There are concerns about aging light poles in San Francisco after one came crashing down onto a car, just missing a driver.

Without warning a lamp post three stories high snapped at the base. It toppled onto a car. The incident occurred Monday around 6:30 p.m. on the Corner of Pine and Taylor.

It narrowly missed a man inside of a car.

Wren Coe has lived across the street for 16 years. “It could have been me,” she said.

Coe says there was no storm and no wind when the light with a traffic signal attached to it went into a freefall.

“The base or the bottom of the pole was rusted out and that contributed to the pole falling down,” said Charles Sheehan with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The pole is made of extremely thin metal. The pole is not only old and has been exposed to the elements – it’s also a popular bathroom spot for neighborhood dogs.

Neighbors say pets urinating on the pole is a problem that led to the corrosion of the pole. “There are a lot of dogs that hit that corner and definitely that's a problem,” said neighbor Greg Misakian.

The city agrees that’s part of the problem.

Charles Sheehan with the Public Utilities commission says the city of San Francisco launched an assessment program a few months ago, visually inspecting light posts every day for the next year.

“If it needs to be replaced, we will replace it,” he said.

Over the past two years, three city light poles have fallen for virtually no reason - one on Greenwich, two on Guerrero.

Crews ended up having to replace 160 poles on Guerrero Street as a result.

“It's a little concerning obviously if you've got street poles like that that are in the city that are spaced out and aged, any of them could topple at any moment,” said Misakian.

Neighbors say they hope the city's assessment program can catch all of the faulty poles in case next time, someone isn't so lucky.