UPDATED: Driver Runs From Rollover Car Crash on Cortland

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Neighbor Meredith captured the scene after an automobile rollover accident incident on Cortland last night:

There was a crazy car accident on Cortland between Elsie and Winfield last night at about 11:40pm. We heard the crash and ran outside to see if anyone was injured, but the driver had fled already!

I don’t know how that was possible in what was about 15 seconds from hearing the crash to seeing the car. I think someone was gunning down Cortland and flipped the car with the front hood crashing into the street and the car landing on its top. It took over an hour for the police/fire to clear the scene.

Thankfully no one else was on the road at the same time.

UPDATE 10:00 pm. Over on the Facebook, Neighbor Kristine shared more details about the incident, and the driver of the car:

This happened almost literally outside my bedroom window.

I scrambled to the window after hearing 3-4 smaller crash sounds and then the big final one. I saw the fellow emerge from the drivers side door and amble off. I’m sure he was in shock, but there’s no way he was not also drunk with the way he was moving his body. with determination he wandered (“run” is much too generous”) up Windfield, clearly abandoning the scene.

Neighbors were already gathering at the time and a fellow was trying to talk to him and ask him questions. it wasn’t even obvious at first that he was “fleeing” because he was moving so slowly. the neighbor was distracted by the intensity of seeing the car upside down and the driver kept walking/jogging/skipping.

it was about a minute later that the various neighbors helped the passenger get out of the car. I clearly heard him say that he didn’t know the driver, they had just met and he’d simply accepted his offer of a ride. he gestured west, downhill toward Mission St, as where they had met and had been coming from. I’m sure he was also in shock, but he was surely inebriated as well.

There was a truck parked on Cortland that was hit and leaking gas. I didn’t see the crash itself, but it’s amazing that the driver was able to damage a parked car to his right while also still having enough momentum to completely flip his own vehicle upside down.

I am SO grateful that myself nor another cyclist didn’t happen to be riding on Cortland at the time. I hope this incredibly reckless individual is caught and thoroughly prosecuted.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neighbor Meredith

Bernal Dads Build Muni Race Car to Speed Up Public Transit

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There’s been a lot of controversy lately about new schemes to improve the quality of our local public transit service. Some say we need to make Muni faster, so buses become more attractive to would-be riders. Others say we need to respect automobile drivers, for whom the car is still an essential way to get around. Both approaches have pros and cons, but when those petroleum-huffing papas from the Bernal Dads Racing Team looked at the problem, they saw an opportunity to deliver a big win-win for both transit riders and motorists.

The Dads started by taking a family-friendly car, and turning it into a bus. Then, to hasten the commute, they added horsepower — lots and lots of horsepower. The result is what you see here: A 1992 Volvo 240 station wagon that’s been repowered with a higher-output BMW M52 engine and converted into a Muni bus.

Say hello to Bus 670, Muni’s first public transit race car.

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Designed to upgrade the quality of service on Muni’s existing 67 Bernal Heights Line, Bus 670 was built to provide super-express service between Bernal Heights and downtown San Francisco. Before entering regular service, however, the Bernal Dads took the vehicle to Thunderhill Raceway last weekend to conduct high-speed endurance testing under live race conditions in a 24 Hours of LeMons competition.

At first, the judges at 24 Hours of LeMons judges expressed some concern about the authenticity of Bus 670 because, they said, it did not sufficiently reek of piss, vomit, or feces. Nevertheless they determined that all of the vehicle’ safety equipment was in order, including the rear-facing “Stop Requested” sign that engages in tandem with the rear brake lights.

When the green flag came out, Bus 670 quickly validated its basic design concept. With the BMW motor installed where an anemic Volvo engine used to sit, Bus 670  became a formidable competitor in heavy traffic — with no “red carpets” required:

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However, in classic Muni style, Bus 670 did experience some teething pains. After about  two hours on the track, the clutch failed. Bus 670 was returned to the yard, and a team of ace mechanics quickly set to work on repairs.

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Eight hours (and a complete engine removal and reinstallation) later, Bus 670 was ready to return to duty:

With the new clutch in place, 670 performed flawlessly during seven continuous hours of express service on Sunday:

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Of course, like the signs say, your picture and voice may be recorded on any contemporary Muni vehicle, and Bus 670 is no exception. Here’s a 360 Video of your Bernalwood editor taking a lap around the track:

… and this video gives a sense of how nimble Bus 670 can be in brutal traffic:

All told, this trial run of Bus 670 was a huge success.

The Bernal Dads Racing Team estimates Bus 670 has the potential to transport commuters from Pinhole Coffee on Cortland Avenue to the Ferry Building downtown in five minutes or less with limited-access traffic controls. To verify this, the Bernal Dads look forward to strapping SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin into the rear passenger compartment for a high-speed proving run.  Just remember our motto, Mr. Reiskin: “Information gladly given, but safety requires avoiding unnecessary conversation.”

Welcome aboard!

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Wheel Thefts Leave Bernal Cars Stranded on Blocks

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This week, Bernal neighbors are reporting a mini-wave of property crimes involving the theft of wheels from late-model cars. Three such incidents are now confirmed. Neighbor Brian was a victim:

I found my car up on blocks with the wheels stolen on April 16. I wondered if you’ve heard other reports of this. I’ve filed a police report but haven’t spoken with a detective yet. My car was parked on Eugenia @ Elsie.

Yuck. And yes, we are hearing other reports of this. Neighbor Peter says:

There seems to be a rash of car wheel thefts happening in Bernal Heights. I woke to a neighbor in front of my house yesterday with one wheel missing from her car. She seemed really bummed about it. I then saw several postings on Nextdoor from Bernal folks who have had not one but two wheels stolen off their cars in the past few days. I think people should be on the lookout for this crappy new form of crime in Bernal Heights.

The one I saw outside my house yesterday was on the 300 block of Coleridge, between Cortland and Kingston Sts. It makes you wonder what the total number might actually be.

The grey BMW is on the 400 Block of Eugenia, the red Hyundai is on the 300 block of Franconia.

In the case of the grey BMW and the red Hyundai, both wheels from one side of the car were taken; the wheels on the other side were left in place.

UPDATE: That sad red Hyundai belongs to Neighbor Sarah, who tells us how it took a village for her to get back on the road:

I saw my poor red Hyundai on your story about stolen wheels. She’s all fixed now, with new wheels and tires, and LOCKING lug nuts on all wheels. Deciding if I should get new hubcaps for the new tires or not.

And to add insult to injury, my battery died this morning and the car wouldn’t start. AAA to the rescue again!

Thanks to all the Franconia and Samoset St. neighbors who came up to me as I stood next to my disabled car on the phone and offered kind words and support, and for looking through camera footage. To Mission Tires for quickly getting me some new hoops, rotating the tires, and putting the locking lug nuts on the older wheels. My housemate Kelly for letting me borrow her car so I could go to O’Reilly’s for lug nuts, and the O’Reilly’s staff for listening to my sob story. My friend Molly for driving me to and from Mission Tires, and helping me unload them. And AAA for *all* the roadside assistance.

Hoping for better car-ma soon for all Bernalese!

Best,

Sarah on Samoset

PHOTOS: via Neighbor Peter

Undo: Two-Lane San Jose Ave. Freeway Exit Will Be Restored

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Well, the great San Jose Avenue Traffic Calming Experiment has officially been declared an abject failure. The effort to slow traffic along San Jose Avenue by reducing the exit to San Jose Avenue from I-280 northbound from two lanes to one instead succeeded mainly in causing epic traffic backups along I-280 and  more motor vehicle accidents. Oopsie!

In addition, the scheme created additional sadness and delay in South Bernal and St. Mary’s, so now the exit will return to its original two-lane configuration. The Glen Park Association reports:

The 280 freeway offramp to San Jose Avenue will return to a two-lane configuration, owing to a high number of accidents following an experiment to slow traffic by narrowing it.

Seven accidents were recorded on the offramp between June and November, 2015, after engineers reconfigured the two exit lanes to merge into one lane just before the Monterey Street underpass. The offramp reconfiguration was the second phase of the Northbound San Jose Avenue & I-280 Off-Ramp Road Diet Pilot Project, which was intended to slow traffic on San Jose Avenue south of Randall.

In Phase I of that project, San Jose Avenue itself was reduced from three lanes to two. When that measure did not slow traffic, Phase II was implemented, and the offramp was reduced from two lanes to two lanes merging to one.

Since Phase II also failed to reduce speeds and reduce traffic volumes but did increase the number of accidents, Caltrans has decided to return the offramp to its original state. The road is scheduled to be re-paved in May, then re-striped.

If the goal is to reduce speeds along San Jose Avenue, some armchair traffic engineers in Bernal-Glen have a few good ideas about how to accomplish that.

Help a Bernal Artist Find the Art That Was Stolen With Her Car

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You might remember Neighbor Carrie Ann Plank; she played a starring role last April’s post about Bernal Heights artists at the Hunter’s Point Shipyard. Well, Neighbor Carrie Ann’s car was stolen on Saturday night, and some of her art was in it.  Grrrrrrrr.

She tells Bernalwood:

My car was stolen from in front of the house last night over on Bronte. I’m an artist, and unfortunately, several pieces of valuable artwork were inside the car.

Car thieves probably are not interested in art pieces, so I’m hoping they were dumped somewhere nearby. Can we put out a call to my fellow Bernal dwellers in case anyone sees them? I’m desperately hoping my good neighbors have some information that may lead to recovery! Additionally, I’m the artist in residence currently at Bullseye Glass and all of my notes and sketches were in the trunk. Would love to get those back too!

Fingers crossed! Thank you for the assist in getting the word out.

Here are the details:
2007 graphite Prius with a carseat, and here’s a few images of the missing work:

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Mayhem Strikes as Thief Crashes Stolen Car on Mullen

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Grrrrr. Neighbor Peter did some excellent reporting on the scene yesterday after a stolen Honda Accord crashed into a several parked vehicles on Mullen:

A bit of news from Santana Rancho today. I didn’t witness it happen, but heard a loud crash at around 1pm (ish) and ran outside to check it out. Pictures below of what I found on Mullen at Franconia.

A Honda Accord slammed into a Saab then careened into and on top of a Mini Cooper. The 2 witnesses I spoke to said the driver fled the scene on foot north down the Franconia stairs towards Peralta, then headed east on Peralta.

The police were on the scene pretty quickly and seemed to get a somewhat decent description of the suspect from witnesses. They confirmed that the car was stolen. Also, the police were then pointed to a few belongings that the suspect may have dropped on the Franconia stairs while fleeing – a couple of flashlights and a pretty large folding knife.

All in all, pretty startling, since he must’ve been driving pretty fast to cause such an acciden. All are lucky that no bystanders were hurt. Unfortunately, the two cars that got hit were in pretty rough shape though.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Peter