Friday, September 06, 2019

Trump: US taxpayers will pay for the wall


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No relationship between tickets and fatalities in SF

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Heather Knight in the SF Chronicle cites anti-car interest groups to bolster her assumption that more SFPD traffic enforcement will reduce pedestrian and cyclist deaths:

“It’s unconscionable that a city committed to Vision Zero would allow enforcement of the most dangerous driving behaviors to drop to these astonishingly low numbers,” said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy group. “There’s been a lot less enforcement and a surge of pedestrian deaths. It’s hard to believe these aren’t related.” Janice Li, advocacy director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, said the Police Department has many priorities, and it’s sadly easy for traffic enforcement to fall to the bottom of the list — even if that leaves pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.

Not surprising that the Bicycle Coalition and Walk SF think there's a relationship between pedestrian deaths and traffic enforcement, but the data doesn't support that. 

See page 3 of Vision Zero Traffic Fatalities: 2018 End of Year Report, where a graph shows a remarkably consistent number of traffic fatalities in the city, with an average of 29 a year between 2005 and 2018.

Knight on the number of traffic tickets in recent years:

In 2014, the department ticketed drivers for 124,870 traffic violations. So you’d think the number of tickets would have soared since then — especially considering the increase in traffic giving police plenty of fodder. You’d be wrong. Instead, traffic tickets have dropped precipitously. Last year, the department issued just 50,895 tickets — nearly 75,000 fewer than five years before. In the first half of this year, police issued 21,931 tickets, meaning they’re on pace to see yet another drop for 2019.

Okay, compare 2014 with 2018 on traffic fatalities: in 2014 (124,870 tickets) there were 31 traffic deaths on city streets, and in 2018 (50,895 tickets) there were only 23 deaths!

Seems like the only conclusion to draw from that: traffic tickets issued have no impact on traffic fatalities in San Francisco.

To put city traffic fatalities in historical perspective, see New York City Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Data, pages 5-7, where we learn that death on city streets was a lot more common in recent history. 

We also learn that there's been a slow but steady decrease in fatalities over the years.

It's annoying that the media keep taking the Vision Zero fantasy---a feel-good slogan disguised as a serious traffic safety policy---seriously. In reality Vision Zero insults the intelligence of the people of San Francisco, though it also raises questions about the candle power of those in City Hall.

It must have sounded good to City Hall back in 2014 when the fantasy began, but surely it's time for the media to cut the crap and stop taking seriously what City Hall and anti-car special interest groups say about traffic safety in the city.

This week's SF Weekly:

By the end of the year, the SFMTA will have updated 260 signals to give pedestrians more time to cross while implementing 165 “leading pedestrian intervals” where signals give pedestrians the okay to cross before cars to increase visibility. The agency will also have completed nine new diagonal pedestrian crossings, 25 new pedestrian countdown signals, 46 new corner red zones known as daylighting, and seven new signals on intersections.

Okay, that might help. 

But here's an unthinkable thought: maybe for a city this size and with this population density an average of 29 fatalities may be the best that can be done regardless of how many "improvements" are made to city streets.

The Bicycle Coalition and Walk SF of course think it's those devilish motor vehicles that are the problem, which is why those special interest organizations like anything that makes it more difficult and expensive to drive in the city.

It's no accident, so to speak, that the city never provides the public with any analysis of those traffic fatalities---why they happen and who was responsible, like Commander Ali did for those in 2014. Ali found that bad behavior/negligence by pedestrians caused half of the pedestrian deaths that year, and bad behavior/negligence by cyclists caused all three of the deaths to cyclists.

Heather Knight even wrote about Ali's analysis in 2015.

It's better political PR for City Hall to keep pretending that Vision Zero is a serious safety policy instead of a political slogan and that more "improvements" to city streets will eventually eliminate death and injury. 

Maybe. And maybe I'm the Pope from Rome.

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Burning Man art: Barbie Death Camp

The macabre scene at the Barbie Death Camp at this year's Burning Man

Gabe Stutman:

...Photos sent to J. show a large-scale diorama that one person described as “Auschwitz-themed” made with Barbie dolls. A sea of nude Barbies is seen moving toward three full-size kitchen ovens. Some are “crucified” on bright pink crosses. Other photos show toy soldiers with semi-automatic rifles “marching” the Barbies from the rear. A banner strapped to an RV proclaims the Barbie Death Camp “the friendliest concentration camp” at Burning Man. Another reads “arbeit macht plastik frei,” a reference to the message over the Auschwitz gate meaning “work makes you free.”

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