Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting Divisadero wrong


Since Tim Hickey has been here for ten years [Later: Actually, he's been here five years], he has no excuse for getting everything about this neighborhood wrong. That Hickey is a party line bike guy distorts everything he writes about our streets (see this and this). He got Masonic Avenue all wrong, and now he does the same on Divisadero.

His latest in the November/December North Panhandle News (below) reads like a MTA press release:

Walking along one of the busiest streets in the neighborhood could soon be much safer. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has proposed left turn restrictions along the heavily trafficked Divisadero corridor. Unsafe left turns have caused numerous traffic collisions and been cited as a cause of unsafe conditions.

The MTA plays the safety card whenever it wants to make an "improvement" to our streets, but that doesn't make it true (see this, this, this and this). 

How many "collisions" are we talking about, where did they happen, and who was responsible? (The "collisions" usage, by the way, is Vision Zero terminology, because, you understand, there's really no such thing as an "accident.")

The city used to issue an annual Collisions Report with accident numbers analyzing streets and intersections where the most accidents happen. No more. Now it simply declares every busy street in the city a high-injury corridor and plays the safety card before it implements one of its "improvements."

Presumably Divisadero is now in that category, but we're never given any evidence of that, just an assertion parroted by people like Hickey, who also happens to work for the city.

And The Wiggle is now a "green corridor," not an expressway for cyclists to speed through a densely populated neighborhood, bullying pedestrians out of crosswalks as they go. All this semantic flim-flam is designed to camouflage and justify that reality.

What the city needs to do is the kind of analysis Commander Ali did for all 2014 fatalities on city streets, but it needs to do it for all injury accidents on our streets: analyze why accidents happen and determine what the city can do, if anything, to prevent them in the future.

Since the MTA now has 5,359 employees, surely it can spare a few to perform that vital task.[Later: that number is now 5,745]

Vision Zero: Pedestrian Safety Improvements Coming to Divisadero
by Tim Hickey

Walking along one of the busiest streets in the neighborhood could soon be much safer. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has proposed left turn restrictions along the heavily trafficked Divisadero  corridor.

Unsafe left turns have caused numerous traffic collisions and been cited as a cause of unsafe conditions. The new restrictions will forbid left turns from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, on Divisadero Street at McAllister and Hayes streets. The rule applies to both north- and southbound lanes. Muni buses are exempt.

Other changes are designed to smooth traffic on Divisadero. Traffic signals will be coordinated on the southbound side of the street, between O'Farrell and Hayes streets, so that traffic will generally arrive on a green light. This should help ensure that car traffic doesn't slow service on the 24-Divisadero, and may even improve it slightly.

The proposed changes are part of the Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor project. The traffic calming and greening infrastructure program is a partnership between the SFMTA, the San Francisco Department of Public Works and the city's Public Utilities Commission. It is designed to reduce traffic collisions and divert rainwater from storm drains. More details can be found on the SFMTA for Wiggle Neighborhood Green Corridor.

At press time, the proposal was awaiting final approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Tim Hickey is the president of the NOPNA board. He has lived in NoPa since 2010.

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