Monday, December 09, 2019

Please cut the crap on Vision Zero #2

How are we doing?

An article posted on the Atlantic‘s CityLab last week documented that many of the cities that have adopted “vision zero” policies have seen pedestrian fatalities sharply increase. These cities, notes the article, have “spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, rebuilding streets to calm traffic and reduce driving, lobbying for speed limit reductions, launching public awareness campaigns, and retraining police departments.” Yet Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, among others, saw sharp increases in pedestrian and/or bicycle fatalities after adopting Vision Zero policies...

Rob's comment:
The Chronicle's Heather Knight:

There are many reasons for Vision Zero failing to make an impact, as laid out in a Department of Public Health presentation to the Vision Zero Task Force in September.

The economic boom has created more jobs, drawing more people to our already crowded streets each day. There were 630,000 more miles traveled daily by vehicles in San Francisco in 2016 than there were in 2010. Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft accounted for 47% of the increase...

But the city is not responding as quickly or effectively as it should...Bigger changes like regulating ride-hailing companies, implementing congestion pricing, lowering speed limits, or installing automated speed enforcement systems have been discussed for years. But in the timeworn tradition of City Hall, they’ve mostly gone nowhere...

All of the above, except maybe regulating ride-hailing companies, require state approval, including congestion pricing, which polling shows is unpopular in San Francisco. The idea that the city can somehow eliminate death and injury on our streets---by 2024!---has always been a fantasy, a slogan based on wishful thinking, not reality.

Enforcement by the SFPD? As I pointed out earlier this year, there's no relationship between traffic tickets issued and traffic deaths in San Francisco.

The Atlantic article linked by O'Toole refers to the city's data gathered by the Dept. of Public Health, but I can't find anything helpful on that subject on the department's website

Instead of raw numbers about fatalities and injuries, what we really need: a publicly available analysis of every injury accident that happens on our streets showing how, where and why those accidents happened, since we can't trust City Hall to provide us with that information.

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