Thursday, February 12, 2015

2014 traffic deaths in the city

Click on the graphic for a larger view

The list also makes clear that while many city drivers are awful, the collisions are not only their fault. The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.

On Jan. 7, 2014, a pedestrian ran “through heavy traffic, zigzagging across six lanes before being struck in the seventh lane,” according to the Police Department’s description. This was on busy Van Ness Avenue near Grove Street.

On Feb. 20, a pedestrian died on Fillmore Street near California Street when she stepped in front of a motor vehicle momentarily stopped in traffic. “In this case the motor vehicle was a cement truck with a hood that measured 72 inches from the ground. The pedestrian stood 65 inches.”

Another pedestrian died on Nov. 3 on Mission Street near 16th Street after the pedestrian “sprinted into the roadway from between two parked curbside vehicles.”

Bicyclists, too, took major risks. One was eating as he rode his bike into oncoming traffic. Another was “going fast and lost control of his bicycle” — there was no car involved. A third was speeding downhill, failed to stop at a stop sign and was carrying a water bottle containing alcohol. None of the three who died were wearing helmets...

Rob's comment:
The 17 pedestrian deaths in 2014 was an average year. See page 19 in the last Collisions Report, which shows that average goes back to 2001, with a spike in 2000. The Vision Zero project wouldn't have prevented most of those deaths.

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Vision Zero and the numbers shell game

The whole city is now a "high injury network"

It turns out that there apparently is no Dept. of Public Health study that finds that Polk Street is dangerous. Instead, as per the Vision Zero maps, every busy street in San Francisco is now part of a citywide "high injury" network. Instead of providing an analysis of the accidents on Polk Street---where and why/how they happened---that the apparently defunct annual Collisions Reports used to provide, the city is now blanketed in blood red to show that danger lurks everywhere. 

This is convenient for the MTA and City Hall, since they can now cherry-pick numbers on accidents that we never get a chance evaluate to justify any and all "improvements" to city streets, as they continue to implement the Bicycle Coalition's agenda on our streets:

My original inquiry:

From: Rob Anderson 
Sent: Wednesday, February 11
To: DPH, PublicRecords
Subject: Polk Street

The SF Bicycle Coalition refers to a study of Polk Street by the Department of Public Health finding that street a "high injury corridor." Can you provide a link to that study or tell me how I can get a copy?

Rob Anderson

The response from the Department of Public Health:

From: DPH PublicRecords
Date: Wed, Feb 11, 2015
Subject: Polk Street
To: Rob Anderson

Mr. Anderson,

The information you are looking for is located on the Vision Zero SF website that was just launched:

The study of Polk Street and finding that it is a high-injury corridor is from the Vision Zero High-Injury Network map. Additional maps on the website related to Polk as a high-injury corridor are the pedestrian and cyclist specific high-injury corridor maps on this pageThe High-Injury Network is also part of the Vision Zero Strategy accessible from this page.

I hope that helps answer your question.

Nancy Sarieh │ Public Information Office
San Francisco Department of Public Health│101 Grove Street│415.554.2716

Following up today with a message to Paul Rose, the MTA's "Media Relations Manager":

From: Rob Anderson
To: Paul Rose

Mr. Rose:

Instead of the study I was hoping to get, the Dept. of Public Health has simply linked me to the Vision Zero site and those maps.

But the question remains: Where do the accident numbers to make the maps come from? Instead of the numbers and the analysis of specific streets we used to get in the annual Collisions Reports, it looks like most of the streets in the city, not just Polk Street, are now designated as "high-injury" corridors.

This creates the impression that there's an ongoing bloodbath on city streets. This of course pleases the Bicycle Coalition, which has always tried to create that impression to promote the agenda of that special interest group.

Is the MTA going to publish another Collisions Report soon to give the public an overview of the numbers and some analysis of exactly where the most serious problems exist on city streets?

Stories in the Examiner and the Chronicle have cited both the SFPD and the MTA on traffic accidents and injuries, and now the Dept. of Public Health joins the scrum, creating the impression that no one city agency is in charge of that important information.

By the way, did the city conduct a bicycle count last September? If so will there be a report soon on the results, or is that count now going to be done every other year?

Rob Anderson

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Charles Darwin's birthday

Charles Darwin was born on this day in 1809.

See also Rewriting Nature in The New Yorker and this in Daily Kos.