Monday, May 23, 2011

Sharp drop in pedestrian injuries in SF

Photo: Laura Morton for 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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