A recently released report by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition enumerated the most dangerous intersections in San Francisco – which has led to questions about why safety measures have not been implemented to make these intersections safer.
In a recent statement to the San Francisco Examiner, the executive director of the Coalition, Leah Shahum, asked why the police department and the local transportation agency had not developed a more aggressive stance to prevent accidents in these intersections.
Shahum noted that other cities with similar problems had instituted strategic plans to deal with the issue of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. The San Francisco Examiner quotes her as saying, “We want to know what the SFMTA’s [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency] strategic plan is for these intersections.”
The Coalition’s report found that the intersection of Market Street and Octavia Boulevard was the most dangerous intersection in the city, with 10 crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists being hit by cars in 2011. Divisadero and Oak, Fifth and Market and Market and Valencia were next, all with nine accidents in 2011.
30 Times more Likely to be Injured at these Intersections
The Coalition states, “Vulnerable Road Users are 30 times more likely to be injured at one of these intersections than the average San Francisco intersection.”
Suggestions to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety at these intersections include countdown signals, better markings for pedestrian crosswalks, use of right-turn traffic cameras and more enforcement by the police.
The SFMTA responded that signal timing and other engineering and enforcement changes have already been made to the Octavia and Market intersection, and changes have been made or purposed to some of the other dangerous intersections.
Data collection is another problem that needs to be solved in order to fix the problem. Because there is a lack of coherent traffic data collection by the SFMTA and the police department, there are differing measures of traffic accidents at intersections.
This leads to uncertainly over what action should be taken; as the extent of the problem needs to be known before an effective solution can be developed. The City has indicated an overall plan is in the works.
Source: The SF Examiner, “Dangerous intersections continue to plague San Francisco,” Will Reisman, August 30, 2012; San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, “Getting Enforcement Right”