Friday, April 17, 2015

Vision Zero, the MTA, and Leah Shahum's new career


A reader writes:

Rob,

Vision Zero SF has lots of graphs, maps. Under High Injury Network: "In San Francisco, more than 70 percent of severe and fatal traffic injuries occur on just 12 percent of city streets."

Under WalkFirst it says: "WalkFirst was a two-year public process that identified the 6% of San Francisco streets that are responsible for 60% of pedestrian collisions."

Vision Zero SF can say that either 6% or 12% of SF streets are dangerous.

Rob's comment:

Okay, find the city's high injury traffic corridors on this map. See how easy it is!

The city can say whatever it wants, but until it analyzes the accidents on those streets and then releases those analyses to the public---like Commander Ali did on last year's fatal traffic accidents and the Collisions Reports used to do on city intersections---the city has no credibility about accidents on city streets. 

Since the SFMTA has 5,359 employees, surely it can spare a few to analyze every injury accident on city streets and then publish a report showing what it has done to avoid future accidents. 

Many---perhaps most---injury accidents on city streets can't be prevented by anything the city can do by re-designing streets and intersections. Almost all injury accidents are caused, as Commander Ali put it, by "really bad behavior" by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

After UC busted the city for the grossly incompetent way it counts cycling accidents, it pounced on Vision Zero as a new, comprehensive---and diversionary---strategy. It's no accident, so to speak, that Leah Shahum is using Vision Zero as her next career move to pursue her anti-car agenda:

The Vision Zero Network will ensure that “each of our cities is not re-creating the wheel” as they commit to new pedestrian safety practices, Shahum said...“There is tremendous power at the local---and state---levels to make the changes we need to save lives,” Shahum said. Last year in San Francisco 17 pedestrians died in car collisions, mostly on streets The City long identified as the most dangerous to walk on. As The Examiner reported Thursday, many projects to re-engineer these streets to be safer have been long delayed, or cancelled outright (National pedestrian-safety organization Vision Zero Network launches in SF).

The Examiner story was by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, who the now-defunct Bay Guardian once called "a good but overworked reporter who doesn't have the editorial freedom to truly speak truth to power." Rodriguez's idea of speaking truth to power---or to anyone else, for that matter---is his story that used Walk San Francisco, the Bicycle Coalition, and Streetsblog as sources. That's the balanced reporting he learned at the Guardian! (Advocates blast SF mayor for backlog of pedestrian-safety projects)

As Commander Ali's analysis of those accidents found, negligent behavior by the pedestrians themselves caused half those deaths.

One of the Vision Zero links at least admits the city's failure to even accurately count injury accidents on city streets:

A significant number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries are not captured in police data, creating an incomplete picture of street safety. The San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is working with city partners to develop a comprehensive system to ensure accurate, coordinated and timely monitoring of injuries and fatalities for safety project prioritization, evaluation, and reporting.

A couple of earlier, unofficial admissions here and here.

We need to see all those "evaluations," not only like the intersection analyses we used to see in the city's annual Collisions Report but for every injury accident that happens on city streets.

And anyone who uses "priortization" shouldn't be writing for the city.

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15 Comments:

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Vision Zero is just the latest of many public health initiatives. Remember the War on Drugs? How is that going? How about tobacco smoking cessation? Anybody still smoking? BTW, its OK to blame the victim when they get lung cancer smoking cigarettes for decades, just don't try blaming them for not wearing a bike helmet if hit! Blame somebody for heart disease on a diet of bacon double cheeseburgers, but don't dare blame them for dressing in dark clothing when crossing the street at night if hit!

 
At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I am convinced that many of the pedestrian deaths we are now experiencing are because people now walk down the street staring at their phones. I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed a pedestrian walking right out into traffic unaware that a car was coming and the "don't walk" symbol was red, while they are focused on their little screen checking their latest Facebook posts.

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

Leah Shahum wouldn't dare bring up this study about texting while walking as it does not fit her anti car agenda.http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/pedestrian-deaths-linked-texting-walking-20076570

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't have any statistics to back this up"

good post but should have stopped here.

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This is The Age of Distraction and multi-taskng. Whatever happened to Be Here Now?

Commander Ali's analysis of the three deaths of cyclists last year found that all three were due to distracted cycling: one was eating, one was drunk, and another apparently lost control of his bike.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I am convinced that many of the pedestrian deaths we are now experiencing are because people now walk down the street staring at their phones."

Making an assertion without facts is what Rob would call "faith based thinking", and he would rightly heap scorn upon it.

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

Commander Ali's analysis of the three deaths of cyclists last year found that all three were due to distracted cycling: one was eating, one was drunk, and another apparently lost control of his bike

So what you're saying is - there were ZERO fatalities last year that were a function of cycling - they were due to *distracted* cycling. How does this dovetail with your argument that cycling is inherently unsafe?

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

If something goes wrong when you're riding a bike while distracted, it's the cyclist that gets injured/killed. Same thing for pedestrians. If a motorist has and/or causes an accident while distracted, that isn't the case. Obviously cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists.

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't we require pedestrians to wear helmets? If you are going to indulge in risky behavior, at least do it safely to make the cost of your recovery less burdensome on the rest of societ.

 
At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a motorist has and/or causes an accident while distracted, that isn't the case.

https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=texting+motorist+dies&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leah has ALWAYS been about suppressing facts, particular if they do not support her agenda. AS head of the bike coalition she would never publish the actually straw vote count when that organization asked their members to vote for their choice as Mayor. She knew exactly what she was doing. She wanted to the coalition to endorse their anointed candidate.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

Anonymous asked why we don't require pedestrians to wear helmets." There are several ways to answer that simple question! Firstly, requiring high visibility clothing for pedestrians would likely greatly reduce collisions, lessening the need for helmets, that is already lower from the typically low travel speeds of pedestrians. Over half of cyclist crashes do not involve motor vehicles and are at faster than walking pace so helmets are of greater value than for pedestrians. High visibility clothing with reflective material for cyclists is also all gain, no pain.

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob, your opinions seem to be attracting a following with some of the Socketsite community....

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2015/04/sfmta-seeks-to-reduce-bike-parking-due-to-lack-of-utilization.html#comment-218757

 
At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, interesting points. I would submit that requiring peds to wear helmets would greatly decrease injuries incurred when inattentive peds land head-first after being launched into the air by a car driver who is simply trying to make their way through our congested, car-hostile city.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And you might need a helmet when you kiss my ass.

 

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