A group of residents who live around the Audi dealership at 14th and South Van Ness staged a protest on Saturday saying that the dealership too often lets customers go on test-drives in which they allegedly reach unsafe speeds for the area.
"They make me feel really unsafe," says neighborhood resident and mother of two Vanessa Rodriguez, speaking to Streetsblog.
Sat Aug 24, 72 local #LaMissionSF neighbors protested Royal Automotive Group selling Audi, Mazda, and Volvo cars. Sales team drive dangerously and are aggressive towards children, elderly, and adults. Collected 178 signatures demanding safe streets. #VisionZeroSF #SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/RZ4Yw5oH0A— Taylor Ahlgren 🚶🏽🚲🚃 (he/him) (@TayAhlgren) August 26, 2019
Local activist Taylor Ahlgren, who's been tweeting about his encounters with the dealership for a number of weeks, reports that 72 Missionites came out to protest on Saturday over what they say are unsafe. As he explained on this Change.org petition, the objections to the dealership — which spans two sides of 14th and South Van Ness and also includes Volvo and Volkswagen sales, encompassing three adjacent corners — go well beyond just unsafe test-drivers.
From the petition:
Neighbors have experienced or seen Audi folks:
- Speeding near children, elderly, & disabled folks on 14th Street, Minna Street, Natoma Street, and Division Streets
- Parking illegally in the red zone, disabled parking, on the sidewalk and constantly not paying the meters in up to 6 parking spots
- Driving the wrong way illegally down Minna Street
- Using physical violence towards traffic enforcement and neighbors
- Using verbal threats towards residents who park [nearby]
- Smoking in front of residences
- Littering on the street
Also, Streetsblog snapped some documentation of the use of disabled placards by dealership employees. They also watched during Saturday's demonstration as an SFMTA enforcement officer ticketed one of the dealership's cars for parking on the sidewalk
Ahlgren confronted a sales manager at the dealership last month, as shown in the video below, and he appears to say that the dealership will "revisit" the issue of pedestrian and bicycle safety if and when anyone dies at the intersection — though those exact words don't come out of the employee's mouth.
.@Audi dictates public space use in San Francisco, profiting off of the backs of people slain by cars. Sales Manager Robin says (paraphrased) "they won't stop selling $90k cars parked in red zone daylighting intersection, and when someone dies here, they will revisit." @walksf pic.twitter.com/50EKtQhILe— Taylor Ahlgren 🚶🏽🚲🚃 (he/him) (@TayAhlgren) July 23, 2019
Audi SF has not commented publicly on the matter, but the petitioners and protesters are looking for the SFMTA to do more cracking down on what they say is illegal behavior.