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San Francisco Protesters Rally At Deadly Stretch Of Masonic Ave.

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(AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As thousands across the Bay Area pumped up their tires and checked their helmets for Bike To Work Day, others gathered to call for changes that would slow traffic on one of San Francisco’s most dangerous streets.

The small crowd came together Wednesday night at Masonic Avenue and Turk Boulevard, the corner where a pedestrian was recently struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver.

James Hudson, 61, was hit on May 6 crossing the street several dozen feet from where a cyclist, 22-year-old Nils Yannick Link, had been killed 9 months earlier, also by a motorist accused of driving under the influence.

“Their senseless deaths need to prompt us to act. We need to make Masonic and every street in San Francisco safe for everyone,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who attended the rally.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

On Friday, the Municipal Transportation Agency is scheduled to discuss a $20 million project that would add a median along Masonic Avenue and replace some street parking with bike lanes.

Longtime residents said changes are overdue on a street that sees a combined 30,000 vehicles traveling in both directions every day, according to a 2010 traffic count.

Mark Christensen with the group Fix Masonic said he’s seen, and experienced, some dicey situations on Masonic during his 10 years living in the neighborhood.

“The more dangerous times, to be honest, are more at night time where it gets a little emptier and there’s more inclination to go faster,” he said, adding that the intersection where Hudson died can be especially problematic.

“I get off the bus there every day and have to scramble across more than half the time because it just suddenly turns red,” Christensen said.

An off-duty San Francisco sheriff’s cadet, 23-year-old Jose Jimenez, has yet to enter a plea to charges of vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving for Hudson’s death. Jimenez is being held on $1 million bail.

The rally for greater safety happened the night before annual Bike To Work Day, an event that typically draws thousands out of their cars and into the bike lane during commute hours.

Cycling advocacy groups in San Francisco, Oakland and other cities set up “energizer stations” with refreshments and snacks for bicycle commuters.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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