[Carfreeliving] Traffic Safety "Marshall Plan"
jeremy at livablecity.org
Fri Jun 10 16:12:59 MDT 2005
Hope you're well. Just wanted to take a moment to respond to your last
post. You wrote: "There's a lot of energy out there to really push the
transportation scene in the right direction, and while I'm all for this or
that department/person getting criticized when criticism is deserved, I feel
sometimes that that energy/focus is misdirected [...] So, it frustrates me
when I hear misguided criticisms pointed our way."
My earlier post about London's rapid successes in reducing pedestrian and
bicyclist deaths and injuries was mainly critique of San Francisco's lack of
an implementable plan with specific goals and timelines for improving
traffic safety and reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries (ala
London's plan). My main complaint was with the lack of vision and political
to will among elected officials, not with DPT line staff.
My point was that without any San Francisco elected officials articulating a
vision to develop such a plan and showing the boldness to spend some
political capital to implement it, the safety of our streets (real and
perceived) for non-motorists will improve only marginally, and then only in
an ad hoc, willy-nilly, and incremental fashion. This will be true DESPITE
the best intentions and efforts of talented, hard working transportation
engineers such as yourself and your colleagues at DPT.
Ultimately, the blame for this lack of vision and leadership lies with City
Hall. Consider: Earlier this week a child was mauled to death by a pit
bull, and while every needless death is a tragedy, you wouldn't know from
the immediate and highly visible reaction from the Mayor's office ("Pit Bill
Task Force"?!) that just ONE person every THREE years dies from a dog attack
in San Francisco (KTVU Channel 2). Contrast: The very same week, a vigil
was held at Main & Harrison to commemorate the THREE people who have been
killed in ONE year at this single intersection.
Too bad we can't get the same level of political leadership for "preventing
future pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries from collisions with
cars" that we get for "preventing future deaths and injuries from attacks by
dogs". One way a visionary politician could show this kind of leadership is
by spending some political capital to develop a citywide traffic
calming/traffic safety "Marshall Plan" with phased goals for reductions in
pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and a "zero tolerance" goal by 2025.
Until we have that kind of political leadership, watch out for pit bulls
while crossing the street. Best-Jeremy
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Subject: Carfreeliving Digest, Vol 5, Issue 6
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1. sf weekly article (Mike Sallaberry)
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:51:32 -0700
From: Mike Sallaberry <Mike.Sallaberry at sfgov.org>
Subject: [Carfreeliving] sf weekly article
To: "Carfree Living" <carfreeliving at livablecity.org>
<OF52D09F3A.0489F149-ON8825701C.00608FEA-8825701C.0062385F at sfgov.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Lately, I've had a feeling in my gut that we are indeed at a tipping point
when it comes to getting bikes mainstream in SF. There seems to be so
much going on in a number of different but inter-connected arenas these
days, all pointed to one or both goals of getting people out of their cars
and onto bikes. Pretty exciting! I hope we will continue to add to this
And in a related note, I was recently thinking how my last few postings
have been, shall we say, buzz-killers. My goal was not to squash
enthusiasm or pour water on any well meant fires, but to promote
accuracy...perhaps to a fault. There's a lot of energy out there to
really push the transportation scene in the right direction, and while I'm
all for this or that department/person getting criticized when criticism
is deserved, I feel sometimes that that energy/focus is misdirected.
Given the history of transportation engineering in the US, I can
understand how people may still think DPT is the "bad guy" but I work here
everyday and hear and see all the discussions and efforts to make this
city's travelways work, and I'm actually really impressed by the level of
mature and well-meaning efforts we make to make the travelways in SF work
for everyone. So, it frustrates me when I hear misguided criticisms
pointed our way. Like I said, if we deserve criticism, we deserve it, but
when we don't, I'm not going to just sit there and take it.
Having said all that, I know it's hard for folks to know all the details
of what every department does. I do appreciate all the energy and well
meaning efforts that people contribute to making this city more livable,
and really, without those efforts, it would be so much more difficult, if
not impossible, to get these positive changes in. So, thanks for all your
efforts, and let's keep this train a rollin!
Michael Sallaberry, P.E.
Associate Transportation Engineer
San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 345
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 554 2351
(415) 554 2352 (fax)
Bicycle Hotline (415) 585-BIKE
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