Today’s Headlines

  • Safety Advocates Mad at Mayor (SFExaminer)
  • Vision Zero Committee Meeting (SFBay)
  • Study Shows Market Street Turn Restrictions Work (Hoodline)
  • Largest SF Construction Projects (BizJournal)
  • Mission Bay Kids Park to Open Tomorrow (Socketsite)
  • More on Stern Grove Vandalism (SFWeekly)
  • BART Shows Off New Diesel Powered Train (SFGate, MercNews)
  • More on Toll Increase (KQED)
  • Millbrae Program to Keep Downtown Clean (DailiyJournal)
  • Prop 13 Style Redux Threatens Rail Modernization Plans for Entire State (MercNews)
  • Child Run Over and Killed in San Jose Parking Lot (MercNews)
  • Death of Tesla Driver Demands Reality Check on Self Driving Cars (SFChron, NBCBayArea)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

Have a good 4th of July. Streetsblog will be back Tuesday, July 5.

  • gneiss

    The statement by Tom Maguire that the reason why these deaths occurred was through criminal negligence by the drivers shows that the city staff continue to use “Vision Zero” as a convenient slogan rather than understanding what it actually means. It deflects attention away from what really is the problem, that our streets are dangerous to people walking and biking by design. That better design would have prevented these deaths rather than better behavior.

    That the Head of the Livable Streets initiative at SFMTA says this is really quite breathtaking. Of all people within that agency, he should understand and be able to articulate what the new mission of the design group must be to reduce these incidents. As a reminder, this is what the Swedes say about Vision Zero:

  • Design is only part of the problem and correcting design flaws is far more costly than correcting people’s bad behavior…I’m talking drivers, peds and cyclists.

    I’ll agree that Vision Zero is merely a slogan, like Transit First and No Child Left Behind. It’s all talk. Money and resources are spent to fuel these ridiculous, politically-motivated slogans while the problems continue to worsen.

  • RichLL

    Sweden had 272 deaths from traffic accidents in the last year for which statistics are available. So while that is low relative to most nations on a per capital basis, it is nowhere close to zero.

    And with a population of under 10 million, that’s equivalent to maybe 1,000 deaths annually in California, about 600 in the Bay Area and approximately 27 in San Francisco.

    “city staff continue to use “Vision Zero” as a convenient slogan rather than understanding what it actually means”.

    No doubt, and politicians love slogans. But I think you are assuming that everyone agrees on “what it actually means” and I’m not sure they do. Or at least, when voters say they support it, they don’t necessarily all mean the same thing by it.

    A more realistic policy might be “Vision reduce fatal accidents by 25%”

  • Donovan Lacy

    Rich,

    Sweden instituted “Vision Zero” in 1997 and there most recent data from cited in a 2014 Economist article estimated that roughly 145 lives were saved in that decade because of road design changes created by passing the law.

    Here is a quick excerpt from the article that I thought you might find interesting.

    “Planning has played the biggest part in reducing accidents. Roads in Sweden are built with safety prioritised over speed or convenience. Low urban speed-limits, pedestrian zones and barriers that separate cars from bikes and oncoming traffic have helped. Building 1,500 kilometres (900 miles) of “2+1″ roads—where each lane of traffic takes turns to use a middle lane for overtaking—is reckoned to have saved around 145 lives over the first decade of Vision Zero.”

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/02/economist-explains-16

    Why shouldn’t we strive to be a world leader in safer infrastructure?

  • chetshome

    “correcting design flaws is far more costly than correcting people’s bad behavior.”

    what cost-effective way of correcting people’s behavior are you talking about?

  • Flatlander

    Look, I never agree with Rich, and yes, we need better infrastructure, but that’s 14.5 lives a year, or about less than 1.5 if Sweden had the population of San Francisco. We should definitely try to save that life and a half, but I do think people get unrealistically sanguine about the potential for euro-style infrastructure to reduce fatalities here. A citywide 20 MPH speed limit that’s actually enforced would almost certainly save more lives at lower cost.

  • gneiss

    Rather than trying to compare injury and death rates in the whole country of Sweden with San Francisco, what might be more instructive is to look at the number of fatalities in Stockhom, a city of 1.4 Million people. In 2013 there were 6 traffic deaths. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-gelinas-traffic-deaths-20140622-story.html

    Over the last 15 years, they’ve managed to cut the rate of rate of pedestrian deaths by 31% and the rate of death of all traffic collisions by 45%.

    The economic cost of all the traffic deaths in the US is $242 Billion, and when quality of life valuation is added, it balloons to $836 Billion. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812013 We cannot not afford to try and reduce death and injury from motor vehicles on our streets.

  • RichLL

    “Why shouldn’t we strive to be a world leader in safer infrastructure?”

    We should, commensurate with what the voters are willing to fund in terms of cost and willing to tolerate in terms of inconvenience, congestion and increased travel times.

    My objection was more that “Zero” isn’t ever possible. If Sweden, the poster child for the Vision thing, can’t get close to zero then it’s an unreasonable expectation. We should accept that zero is merely a theoretical target to move towards; not a real achievable number.

    Gneiss points out that Stockholm reduced fatalities by 31% to 45%. Given that we are not a medieval city in a much more socialistic and centralized nation, our achievable target is probably less than that.

    A focus on a 20% or 25% reduction that can actually be done would be more realistic than tantalizing people with the idea that zero might ever be a reality.

    Vision 20% by 2020 and Vision 25% by 2025 perhaps?

  • Donovan Lacy

    Flatlander,

    I honestly do not care how we get to the goal, my point was more about striving toward a goal of Vision Zero. I feel like we have barely scratched the surface of what we can do to make our streets safer and we already have people saying that we should shoot for a more realistic goal.

    I agree that a combination of reducing the speed limit, enforcing the existing laws and improved infrastructure is likely the best solution.

    That being said, Sweden lowered their road deaths from 471 to 270 in less than 10 years, which sounds pretty good me, particularly given the number of cyclists that they have on the road.

  • Andy Chow

    A BART train that is standard gauge and off-the-shelf. If the Bay Area had gotten the idea that there’s no “one train fits all” and that it is all about rider experience, we would’ve had a much bigger, single rail system (with different rail modes of course) like many other regions.

    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/breaking-news/ci_30077072/local-pols-get-sneak-peek-at-ebart-train

  • I don’t think it’s necessarily expensive to fix bad designs. Add transit-only lanes on main transit routes, bulb-outs at every intersection, protected bike lanes throughout the city, restrict through traffic on smaller streets so pedestrians can get around with less direct exposure to second-hand exhaust fumes (which kills 53,000 Americans each year), and narrow most car lanes. A lot of that is just paint, soft-hit posts, curbs, and oversized flower pots. Plus earplugs to block out the resulting howls of outrage. All cheap!

  • Lolajrussell2

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  • Brendagthomas2

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  • willajbroadnax

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