AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Attention passengers: this train will stop..." DATE: 8:47:00 PM ----- BODY:
"Attention passengers: this train will stop at Cole & Hillway due to police activity at UCSF; shuttles will be provided."


The announcement sounded upon boarding at Embarcadero, around 5:45 pm last night. It repeated after every stop, and people tilted their heads quizzically to make out the intercom voice. The raspy voice of a woman seated behind me slowly and loudly repeated the news into a cell phone.

Once at Hillway, passengers disembarked en Mass into the night -- some seated on the steps of the complex across the street from UCSF, some standing bewildered facing the train cars, others urgently dealing with cell phones. It was a nice night for walking, so I decided to hoof the 14 blocks home and along the way, figure out what happened.

Pushing through pockets between dark coats and bags, and began a brisk pace down the block -- past a cigar up ahead, a man who muttered "nice shuttle" behind my right shoulder, and through silent zombie-like hoards traveling Westward down Irving Street.

There was life in a corner convenience store I'd never been in before on 4th, so I stopped in for a can of evaporated milk. The short pink-jacketed lady who sat next to me on the train, was there shopping for broccoli.

Further down Irving I caught, "...what happened to Muni?" and "...got hit really bad..." and "...Ninth and Irving..." And as I approached the main intersection, the street was silenced and cops stood gruffly with feet askew, facing out from between the corners on 8th Avenue, and I followed fellow voyeurs J-walking across the intersection at 9th, slowing down to hear any snatch of information about the N-Judah adventure.

Three N-Judah trains in a row were stopped along the curve of track heading West to South, and I changed direction from crossing Ninth to crossing Irving instead to spot the incident site along the inside of curve on the Jamba side, which looked like a CSI scene with light trained onto yellow markers spotted on the ground by a stationary train car, flashing police lights, a man clutching a Cal trans vest rushing onto the scene from an SUV.

Then I overheard a portly woman who was smoking in front of Mucky Duck report to a pedestrian that an N-Judah train struck a 90-year-old woman crossing the street who couldn't hear, and that the streets have been blocked since then. At the top of the block at Judah I saw a single car train marked "Special" delivering passengers, and chuckled at the whole thing.

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