Monday, October 14, 2013

Changes to streets: Tough for the fire department

Take a look at this KTVU VIDEO REPORT on how the anti-car changes to city streets can make it tough for the SF Fire Department.

The fire department---and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood---rejected the traffic circles on Page Street back in 2004. The Bicycle Coalition, without mentioning the fire department's problem with the traffic circles, was undaunted by this rejection of one of their "improvements" to city streets.

Streetsblog also mentioned the rejected Page Street traffic circles earlier this year without noting the fire department's opposition:

The 23rd and Anza traffic circle is notable because SF hasn’t built many of them since 2004, after an unsuccessful pilot project along Page Street. The traffic circles in that project, installed with only temporary measures like posts and paint, were criticized as being too small and confusing to drivers, and they were subsequently removed.

But the fire department opposed the traffic circles on Page because fire trucks had a hard time maneuvering around them.

The EIR on the Bicycle Plan told us that removing traffic lanes on busy city streets is going to delay Muni lines, but there was no mention of how it will affect emergency vehicles.

Wheelchair-bound Howard Chabner described some of the problems with the Page Street traffic circles:

In 2003 and early 2004, the Department of Parking and Traffic implemented a pilot project of traffic circles along Page Street in my neighborhood. The circles turned out to be a disaster for pedestrian safety, and what had been promoted as a 30-day pilot project turned into a nine-month recipe for danger. Finally, the project was terminated due to overwhelming neighborhood opposition, as evidenced by a neighborhood vote conducted by DPT: 77% against, 23% in favor. Although the traffic circles were dangerous for all pedestrians, they were especially dangerous for blind people, wheelchair users and slow walkers. I use an electric wheelchair. I wrote several letters to the Mayor’s Disability Council and spoke at its meetings about this issue. The Page Street circles were opposed by many disabled individuals and by staff of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The San Francisco Fire Department also opposed them.

Thanks to ENUF for the link.

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