Monday, May 23, 2011

Sharp drop in pedestrian injuries in SF

Photo: Laura Morton in the Chronicle

After an accident on Masonic Avenue last month, the city's anti-car movement swung into action, whipping up hysteria about how supposedly unsafe that busy street is. As I pointed out at the time, Elizabeth Stampe, Demagogue in Chief at Walk SF, made the dumbest comment: "It's so hard to actually get the information on how many people are hit and how frequent it is that people don't realize the danger that exists to the pedestrians in this city...Two to three people are being hit every day in the city. It's an outrage."

Since Stampe surely knows that the city puts out annual reports on accidents on our streets, it's fair to call her statement a lie, part of the anti-car movement's successful campaign to screw up traffic on Masonic on behalf of the city's bike people.

The MTA has just released another report that Stampe, Bike Nopa, and the Bicycle Coalition can ignore: "San Francisco 2009 Collisions Report," April 21, 2011.

Stampe should be interested in page 25:

The 2009 total of 695 injury collisions involving a pedestrian is significantly lower than the figure of 799 injury collisions reported in 2008 (Figure 17). In the first half of the decade pedestrian collisions steadily declined from the over 1,000 incidents recorded annually in the 1990’s. The 13 percent decline in reported pedestrian injury collisions for 2009 compared to 2008 is the sharpest drop since 2004.

In fact there's been a steady decline from 955 accidents in 2000 to the low of 695 in 2009. And pedestrian deaths are also trending down, though they spiked from 13 in 2008 to 17 in 2009. But that total is way down from 32 pedestrian deaths in 2000 (page 27).

We have to give SFMTA credit for making our streets safer for pedestrians and everyone else:

San Francisco has made progress in reducing injury traffic collision totals in the past two decades. In 1990 San Francisco reported a total of 5,804 injury collisions and 64 fatal collisions. By 2009 those totals had declined by more than half to 2,877 injury and 30 fatal collisions. These totals are still unacceptable, however, and more will need to be done to decrease them. While there are many factors that affect urban collision totals over time, some credit can be given to specific actions that the City has taken to improve roadway safety (page 33).

The report lists what the MTA has been doing to make our streets safer, which involves mostly reviewing where collisions happen and making street design changes where necessary, including new traffic signals and pedestrian countdown signals.

Interesting to note at the bottom of page 33 the report says that SFMTA "works with local and citywide groups such as the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, Walk San Francisco, and the Senior Action Network on identification of problems and possible improvements."

The least Stampe can do is read the reports that her group supposedly helps the city write.

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27 Comments:

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 people hit a day is an average and pretty spot on actually. Where's the "lie" exactly?

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

It was a lie both about that information being hard to find and the implication behind the "outrage" rhetoric, since city reports before this one have consistently shown that safety over the years has been steadily improving.

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Anderson != hyperbole.

 
At 2:28 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Examples, please?

 
At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anti-car movement's successful campaign to screw up traffic on Masonic on behalf of the city's bike people."

To start by picking the low hanging fruit.

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"screwing up" traffic.

Huge chunks of the bike plan are in place. Where is the outcry about all the screwed up traffic? None. It was all just hyperbole on your part.

You've pontificated about Herrera wasting the city's money with his "strategy" regarding your lawsuit. You keep threatening to do something about all the bike lanes going in now, but the city is spending money on the improvements...

Note that in there are references to 2nd Street which you crowed that was something that was a victory in that it was removed from the bike plan. The bike plan was accepted with changes, but additional projects are going in OUTSIDE of the bike plan, including many that were backed out of the "final" plan.

On Street Bike Corrals - not in the bike plan.

Folsom Street bike lanes - not in the bike plan.

What are you waiting for? For all the money to get spent? Or are you just another False Prophet claiming the rapture is coming?

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

None of the examples you cite have anything to do with "hyperbole" on my part. There are "huge" chunks of the Plan still not implemented, Second Street being one of them. Cesar Chavez and Masonic are some others.

Am I wrong about Herrera and the Bicycle Plan litigation? You can't get an injunction on a project unless the judge assumes you're likely to prevail when the hearing is held. The City Attorneys office surely knew that they were going to have to eventually do an EIR on that big Plan. Instead of confronting the mayor and the BOS with that reality---and giving them sound legal advice to stop the litigation and do an EIR---he instead took the political line of least resistance---make a big show of fighting the politically unpopular---unpopular in City Hall, that is---injunction all the way. Do that to a client in private practice, and you can be found guilty of malpractice. But city taxpayers were none the wiser, and everyone's salaries continued to be paid while the charade continued.

The renegotiated Second Street project had nothing to do with us. That was delayed/changed by neighborhood groups in that area, but I wasn't surprised to hear about it.

"What are you waiting for? For all the money to get spent? Or are you just another False Prophet claiming the rapture is coming?"

Money was never an issue in the litigation, and, compared to other dumb city projects---like the Central Subway---screwing up city streets with bike lanes is pretty cheap.

The litigation is over, except for our appeal of some of the legal issues in Judge Busch's decision. I helped force the city to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which unsurprisingly showed exactly what we thought it would show---that it's going to make traffic worse and delay Muni lines.

Interesting that you're venting about everything but the subject of this post, the latest city "collision" report, which shows that all the hysteria by the Chronicle and you anti-car folks about pedestrian safety on city streets is pure bullshit.

Tomorrow I'm doing a post on the hysteria and outright lies from the city and the SFBC about the Fell and Masonic intersection, which was also complete bullshit. Judge Busch gave the city the benefit of the doubt about Fell and Masonic when he allowed the city to put in that special traffic light in 2008, but he was suckered by the city. Turns out that when you look at the accident numbers overall in the last ten years, including the cycling accidents there, that it was all a lie, that there was no increase in accidents for anyone there. Nor has there been any change since the new traffic light was installed, a successful con job by the city and the SFBC.

Their con has been equally successful in whipping up hysteria about Masonic Avenue in general. The Big Lie theory is proved correct once again: just keep repeating it loudly and people start to believe it.

 
At 5:39 PM, Anonymous whir said...

Two people per day being injured in automobile collisions still doesn't seem like a particularly good safety record, though the fact that the rate is declining is good news. I think it would be reasonable to speculate that at least part of the decline can be attributed to the efforts of "bike people" to "screw up traffic" - for example, the "green wave" on Valencia, while primarily meant as an improvement for cyclists, certainly also improves safety for pedestrians by keeping automotive traffic at a relatively sedate 13 MPH.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You may not believe it, Whir, but this is not about bikes, though the report also discusses bike accidents (more on that tomorrow). Nice try, but I don't think the bike people can take credit for the improving trend on pedestrian accidents. Let's give credit where it's due: our streets are getting safer every year for pedestrians thanks to the MTA (page 33).

And, just like cyclists, pedestrians are often responsible for their own injury accidents: 34%of non-fatal collisions are caused by the behavior of pedestrians themselves (page 28).

 
At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no anti-car agenda. How many total miles of road are there in SF? How many have bike lanes? How many will have bike lanes? We are talking percentage points in the low single digits. How many parking spaces? How many are being converted to a better use than private storage on public property? Tenths of a percentage point.

Hysteria over a non-existent "anti-car agenda" is the very definition of hyperbole.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Typically muddled, ill-informed comment. Space on city streets is zero-sum game. If you're going to create a bike lane on a city street, you have to either take away a traffic lane or street parking to do that, since a bike lane must be at least five feet wide.

I've documented City Hall's anti-car policies for years. Here's just one post among many on the issue.

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it is a zero-sum game, but can you really say that SO much space has been "taken away" from cars (as if it was the car's space to begin with which is a huge false assumption)?

 
At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That NY Times column was roundly refuted by Streetsblog NYC when they showed that less than 2% of the city ROW was actually changed by transit AND bicycle infrastructure. So the NY Times (and all NY media) has been drinking the "anti-car" hysteria kool-aid.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What NY Times column are you referring to? I didn't refer to any in this post. Nor do I regard Streetsblog as a particularly reliable source on traffic issues.

 
At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post at 8:57 links to something you wrote citing the NY Times story about the war on cars.

And you may disagree with streetsblog, but their numbers hold true. Less than 2% of NYC ROW has been impacted by bike AND transit improvements. Aren't you usually the one bitching about people ignoring numbers?

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Abir is getting a parklet.

http://ibikenopa.blogspot.com/2011/05/nopa-gets-new-parklet-on-fulton-street.html

I hope you will be protesting this anti-car artifact by refusing to patronize Abir.

 
At 11:33 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No, I'll continue to patronize Abir, more out of habit than anything else. After all, I stuck with them even after their awful remodeling job. Yes, I can see that they're expanding their smoking section with a parklet, but that doesn't affect me.

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, so Rob is for parklets? Next thing we know, he'll be riding up to them on a bike. This is a great day for SF.

 
At 12:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The outside seating at coffee houses has always been the smoking section. The parklet movement is just another front in the anti-car movement, since their construction requires eliminating several parking spaces.

My critique of the parklet movement was made when it first surfaced on Divisadero a few years ago. Of course Mayor Flab-Gab and The Murk were there to kick it off.

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if someone sits outside a cafe, it is because they want to smoke? Fuck you are stupid, Rob.

If that last comment from you doesn't scream grumpy old man...

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NPR picked up on Pedestrian Safety.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Chairs and tables outside coffee houses all over the city have always been essentially the smoking section, since you can't smoke inside. Why else would anyone sit outside on a busy city street? I know there are people, including some proprietors of these businesses, who like to pretend that they are in Paris or some other imagined sophisticated city, but that's romantic nonsense.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"NPR picked up on Pedestrian Safety."

Yes, of course NPR is up on all the latest trends. But you commenters will go to any lengths to avoid reading the document this post is based on about the city you live in.

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chairs and tables outside coffee houses all over the city have always been essentially the smoking section, since you can't smoke inside.

Always? Maybe you're not as old as you say you are...

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't smoke at sidewalk cafes.

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another insignifigant incident - nothing to see here

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What is the significance of this accident? Why don't you comment on the city report the post is based on?

 

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