Major changes to SF's West Portal neighborhood after crash that killed family of 4

Major changes are coming to the area around San Francisco's West Portal Muni station. 

City leaders say safety improvements are much needed now following the crash that killed a family of four.

Merchants say city leaders should have gotten their input. Everyone agrees there needs to be safety improvements. The disagreement is over whether the proposed changes will work. 

Muni trains, buses, vehicles and people create a chaotic scene.

On Thursday, SFMTA provided details about its safety improvement plan.  

"I would love to see it.  We walk by here all the time. We see a lot of near misses, a lot of dangerous things happening, people making bad moves in their cars," said Salindar Dhillon, who lives nearby. 

On March 16, a 78-year-old woman crashed her SUV and killed a family at a bus shelter just steps from the Muni station.  Authorities have not yet said what caused the crash or if the driver will be charged.

"Mayor London Breed and district supervisor Myrna Melgar have asked SFMTA to work immediately to improve traffic safety near West Portal Station," said SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin.

The plan includes no left turns on West Portal Avenue, and cars will no longer be able to cut through the intersection of Ulloa Street and West Portal Avenue, in front of the West Portal Muni station.  
Its front entrance will be redesigned to include planters and become a community space. SFMTA says the changes will be coming soon.  

"I was shocked. I don't think it solves the problem of what happened to that poor family. It's just going to increase traffic up and down West Portal," said neighbor Colette Cannon.  

The owner of Roti Indian Bistro is among the merchants critical of city leaders rolling out a plan so quickly without their input. 

Pankaj Shah says disruptions to traffic could hurt.  

He said 50% of his business comes from customers driving to get take-out and food delivery drivers doing pickups. 

"One incident should not be one that makes so many changes at the same time," said Shah.  

"I was surprised at such a knee-jerk reaction," said Maureen Stoss, owner of Eezy Freezy, a market on West Portal Avenue.  

She agrees there needs to be safety improvements, but questions the proposed changes.

"They want to do something so drastic that is going to create more problems than they're going to solve," said Stoss.

SFMTA plans to do public outreach with pop-ups in the West Portal neighborhood on April 22, 23 and 24. 

The Mayor's Office says all the changes are temporary but will be fast-tracked to be in place by this summer. 

City leaders say there will be evaluations to see what works and what doesn't.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.