Friday, December 03, 2010

More disinformation on Masonic Avenue

Maybe Examiner reporter Will Reisman should go to work for MTA or the Bicycle Coalition, since his latest piece on Masonic Avenue reads like a press release from those organizations:

The removal of parking spots, installation of a grade-separated bike lane and construction of a center median on busy Masonic Avenue are supported by more than three-quarters of the people who responded to a recent survey. The roadway, which is a major north-south artery in The City, has often concerned community members because of the speed of traffic and high rate of accidents.

It's simply untrue that there is a "high rate of accidents" on Masonic. Take a look at the city's own numbers presented at the first meeting on how to screw up Masonic back in June. First, the volume of traffic Masonic carries: 32,165 vehicles every day (page 26), and 12,765 people ride the #43 Masonic bus every day (page 27).

Between 2004 and 2009---a six-year period---there were only 27 "bicycle collisions" at intersections on Masonic between O'Farrell Street and Oak Street (page 29), an average of 4.5 a year, not by any reasonable interpretation a "high" number.

During the same time, there were 17 "pedestrian injury collisions" at intersections on Masonic between Geary and Oak Street (page 31), an average of less that three a year.

During that same time, there were 118 "collisions"---presumably collisions of all kinds, including those involving motor vehicles---at all intersections on Masonic between O'Farrell and Oak Streets, an average of fewer than 20 collisions a year for a part of a street that carries more than 32,000 vehicles every day.

Except for Masonic and O'Farrell, where there were 7 "injury collisions," none of the intersections on Masonic Avenue made the city's list of "Highest Collision Intersections" in 2008 (San Francisco 2008 Collisions Report, available from the MTA). And the O'Farrell/Masonic numbers for 2008 seem to be an anomaly, since that intersection didn't make the city's three-year "highest injury collision intersection" list (page 14).

Hence, the safety argument for screwing up traffic on Masonic is simply untrue, especially when you consider the high traffic volume on that part of Masonic.

And the "survey" Reisman refers to involved only 109 people who showed up at the last city-sponsored meeting on Masonic in September. So 109 people---most of whom were bike people, of course---validate the city's plan to screw up traffic on Masonic Avenue to make bike lanes, a street used by more than 32,000 vehicles and 12,000 Muni passengers a day.

The truth is that the city and the Bicycle Coalition have been determined to screw up traffic on Masonic for years. All the community meetings have only been window dressing for a decision that was already made.

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