Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Polk and Masonic: Not so dangerous after all

Photo of MUNI - 43 Masonic - San Francisco, CA, United States. 43 Masonic to Geneva and Munich
Bennett Wong

Good to see the MTA hasn't scrapped its Transportation Fact Sheet and its Collisions Report that I've been worried about.

Like the Transportation Fact Sheet, the latest Collisions Report was released late last year with no accompanying press release or notice, which is odd, since these reports are among the most useful things the MTA does to inform the public about the safety of city streets---and what it's doing to make them safer.

Or maybe not so odd. This report doesn't exactly flatter the city's integrity about the claims it made about the urgent need for bicycle lanes on Masonic and Polk. 

Consider that neither Masonic Avenue nor Polk Street is listed on the "Highest Injury Collision Intersections" (page 13). (See Big Lie on Safety to justify screwing up Masonic from 2013 and The Masonic Avenue Derangement Syndrome #2 from 2015.)

The intersection of Masonic and Fell is on the "Highest Bicycle Involved Injury Collision Intersections" (page 38) with 8 injury accidents over a four-year period. Only two cycling accidents a year there shows that the city has been successful over the years making that intersection safer by installing a left-turn lane on Fell Street for motorists and a bicycle-shaped traffic signal. Of course there's no indication of who was responsible for those "collisions." 

More importantly, cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists no longer share a green light at that intersection. This has always been an intersection issue and doesn't reflect on the safety of the rest of Masonic Avenue, since no other Masonic intersection has had similar safety issues. (See Report debunks Big Lie about Masonic and Fell)

Consider also that neither Polk nor Masonic is on the "Highest Injury Vehicle-Pedestrian Collision Intersections" on page 30. (See Safety lie to justify Polk Street bike project and The Polk Street lie goes national.) 

But back in 2013, when it was pushing the Polk Street bike lanes, the MTA claimed that "Polk Street has some of the highest pedestrian and bicycle collision rates in San Francisco."

Long before the Vision Zero slogan/policy, the MTA started using the "collisions" term instead of "accidents." The term was probably adopted because it seemed to apply to all traffic accidents, not just those involving cars. 

But it doesn't really fit the "solo falls" that injure a lot of cyclists---those accidents that don't involve a motor vehicle. Presumably those are the 22% of "other" injury accidents to cyclists in the pie chart on page 32. What did those cyclists "collide" with? (see The Myth of cycling "collisions")

More on the Collisions Report tomorrow.

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