Friday, April 17, 2015

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

A reader writes:


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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Where's the bicycle count report 5: "Finalizing the data"

Paul Rose: MTA media relations

Rose, Paul
8:24 AM (2 hours ago)

Just an update...We are still finalizing the data. I don’t have a release date yet, but getting closer.

From: Rob Anderson [
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:19 AM
To: Rose, Paul
Cc: Holland, Kristen; Lyles, Robert A
Subject: Bicycle Count Report

Will the bicycle count report be released this week?

Rob Anderson

Rob's comment:

Yes, apparently data can sometimes be hard to "finalize," even if you've already had six months to do it. If, as we suspect, the numbers are down from last year, the MTA's problem is about how to present/spin the report, not with the numbers themselves. That's what "finalizing" means in this context.

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