Thursday, December 31, 2015

Where's the Transportation Fact Sheet?

SF Citizen

The other day I sent the message below to Paul Rose, the MTA's "Spokesperson and Media Relations Manager":

Transportation Fact Sheet?
Can you tell me when an updated Transportation Fact Sheet will be issued? The one available on your website has a revised date of August, 2014.


Rob Anderson

Rose's response: "Just letting you know I’m checking with staff for an update and timeline. I will get back to you as soon as I get the information."

The MTA is getting stingier about the information it releases to the public, which, despite all its PR and happy-talk, makes it harder for the public to understand what's really happening on our streets.

The MTA quietly stopped issuing its annual Collisions Report that had information on traffic accidents, where most accidents happen, and what the city was doing to prevent them. But it turned out that the city screwed up how it counts accidents so badly that even that information was unreliable.

My concern: Is the MTA now going to quietly eliminate its annual Transportation Fact Sheet?

That UC study, still officially ignored by City Hall---and, by the way, the local media---showed that many serious cycling accidents treated at SF General Hospital, the city's primary trauma center, weren't being counted. Turned out that riding a bike in San Francisco was more dangerous than City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition have been telling us.

The timeline: the last Collisions Report was issued by the MTA in August, 2012; that UC study was released in December, 2012; and the New York Times story featuring the findings of the UC study---the first I learned about it---was published in October, 2013.

The city surely knew about the UC study soon after it was published, which meant it also knew it couldn't release another Collisions Report with the now obviously unreliable accident data.

What to do? The MTA's decision: dump the annual Collisions Report and embrace the Vision Zero approach to traffic safety in the city. Instead of issuing Collision Reports based on more realistic data from an improved counting method, the city created a map that shows that virtually every busy street in the city is now a "high-injury corridor"!

No need to release actual numbers of accidents and deaths or analyze accidents like the Collisions Reports used to do and Commander Ali did last year on fatalities. The Vision Zero map eliminates the bother of compiling all that information and doing all that analysis---and then providing it to the public.

Instead we get the fatuous Vision Zero blather about eliminating all fatalities on city streets.

The MTA now only releases accident numbers when it wants to make a bogus safety case to justify removing street parking to make bike lanes, like on Polk Street and Masonic Avenue.

Recall too how tardy the MTA was in releasing its annual bicycle count report this year and how little fanfare the report got when it showed only a tiny gain compared to the previous report.

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Why Hillary will be president

Thanks to Kevin Drum

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He said, she said

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