By Michael Barba : sfexaminer -excerpt
The San Francisco Fire Department is expected to purchase eight custom fire engines next month that will be better suited for the narrow streets and changing traffic conditions that make firefighting a challenge in The City.
Bus stops in the middle of the street, street changes like bulb outs and the booming ride-hail industry have made it more difficult for fire trucks and engines to rush to emergencies in San Francisco, according to Assistant Deputy Chief Ken Lombardi.
News of the new engines comes just months after Mayor Ed Lee announced a two-year plan to invest $14.3 million into the department to replace its aging fleet, including 13 fire engines, four aerial trucks and eight ambulances.
Speaking to the Fire Commission on Wednesday, Lombardi said that double parking by delivery trucks and the estimated 37,000 Uber and Lyft drivers that navigate The City have created a “nightmarish” situation for firefighters on the streets of San Francisco.
“I don’t know if it’s ever been as bad as it is now,” Lombardi said. “It’s just absolutely crazy.”…
“As we densify our city and build up higher buildings to accommodate higher populations we’re going to need the wider streets,” Fire Commissioner Ken Cleaveland said at the meeting…
San Francisco’s fire vehicles tend to be larger than other cities because they are suited for motors that have enough horsepower to travel up steep hills, Lombardi said. Fire engines also have to carry 500 gallons of water since the department has to combat fast-spreading fires…
Lombardi pointed to planned changes to Hermann Street — near its intersection with Laguna Street — that would turn parking spaces from running parallel to the street to sitting at a 45-degree angle to increase the number of spaces available.
The fire department is working with The City’s transit agency to correct the proposed plan, which Lombardi said violates fire codes that prohibit narrowing streets to smaller than 20-feet wide. Under the plan, parts of Hermann Street would be 18-feet wide.
Even at 20 feet, fire trucks and engines have to drive slightly into the oncoming lane of traffic when turning onto narrow streets, potentially causing a safety hazard… (more)
We need to follow state guidelines and keep the wide streets that accommodate everyone. How is making the streets more narrow making us safer? We need a new Muni management that isn’t intent on changing the world, just getting people where they need to go. The world is changing and they are not changing with it. They are trying to force their theories down our throats.