Fire Department and Emergency Response Issues with street improvements

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SFFD 1-desktop from zRants on Vimeo. (includes videos and Q and A)

CSFN General Assembly Presentation by Assistant Deputy Chief Anthony Rivera, July 18, 2017  Powerpoint. attached Notes from the presentation are here or download a word doc. July CSFN SFFD. Download the Q and A that followed the presesntation.

Videos of recent accidents and emergency vehicles trying to enter the ER at General Hospital caught up in traffic jams.

Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Overhead google shot of Potrero before the medians were installed.

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes.

In this case, a mistake led to the revelation of more parking removed for a safety and transportation project on Potrero Avenue than the community was initially was told — 60 spaces total, instead of 41.

But neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…

Potrero Avenue resident David Jayne recorded video showing one of the newly installed traffic medians preventing an emergency vehicle from accessing the hospital. It showed an ambulance flashing its lights while sitting behind traffic at a red light by the entrance to the hospital.

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Photos of fire trucks and engines pulling into General Hospital before the median was installed. The large vehicles used both sides of the street to make their turns. Photos by zrants

Traditionally, Jayne said, the ambulance would have driven around the pile-up, into oncoming traffic, and entered the hospital. Instead, it was blocked by the new median…(more)

Anybody else wonder where all these high injury networks are coming from? If Vision Zero and Moving Forward worked we should be safe by now. How many millions of dollars are spent on high injury networks and why do they keep multiplying? There must be some non-high injury networks. Let’s see a map of those.

 

Fire Department hindering street safety

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco has a long way to go to become safe for people on foot. Half of all people who die in traffic crashes are people who walk — that’s about four times the national average.
What can The City do about the massacres happening on our streets, which now outweigh the number of violent crimes at a rate of 2.5 to 1? It can choose to invest in proven tools to reduce traffic crimes, like curb extensions (or bulb-outs), which increase the visibility of people in a crosswalk (tackling one of the top reasons pedestrians are hit by drivers). It can also support medians, which provide a safe place to wait, reducing the risk of a crash by nearly 50 percent. These upgrades help seniors and people with disabilities cross the street by shortening both travel distances and exposure times to traffic…

So why is the Fire Department blocking these street improvements? After all, the majority of emergencies the Fire Department responds to aren’t fires — 75 percent of their responses are for medical emergencies, often related to traffic crashes. At 2010 budget levels, San Franciscans are paying more than $200 million in taxes for the Fire Department to respond to preventable collisions….

There are state laws describing street designs for a reason. The dimensions were designed to handle the wider fire engines and trucks moving at a fast pace and making wide turns when necessary. Until you shrink the vehicles, you have to accommodate them. This is science, not a virtual reality game.

As for the argument that the bulbouts and islands are protecting pedestrians, how do you explain the recent rash of accidents? The SFMTA has been hard at work reducing lanes and lane widths for the last two years. If that was going to result in fewer accidents the number of casualties should have declined, not gone up.

The easiest way to help pedestrians and drivers avoid colliding with each other is to lengthen the duration of yellow lights and add countdown lights at the most dangerous intersections. All modes follow the same traffic signals. The short yellow lights are stressful for everyone. When the light turns yellow, people start to rush if they don’t know how much time they have. Adding countdowns will relieve some of the anxiety.

Another easy and cheap thing that can be done is to paint the stop signs on the street, and indicate where they are 2 or 4 way stops.

There are state laws describing street designs for a reason. The dimensions were designed to handle the wider fire engines and trucks moving at a fast pace and making wide turns when necessary. Until you shrink the vehicles, you have to accommodate them. This is science, not a virtual reality game. We support the Fire Department in upholding their standards.

If you think the bulbouts and islands are protecting pedestrians, how do you explain the recent rash of accidents? The SFMTA has been hard at work reducing lanes and lane widths for the last two years. If that was going to result in fewer accidents the number of casualties should have declined, not gone up.

The easiest way to help pedestrians and drivers avoid colliding with each other is to lengthen the duration of yellow lights and add countdown lights at the most dangerous intersections. All modes follow the same traffic signals. The short yellow lights are stressful for everyone. When the light turns yellow, people start to rush if they don’t know how much time they have. Adding countdowns will relieve some of the anxiety.

Another easy and cheap thing that can be done is to paint the stop signs on the street, and indicate where they are 2 or 4 way stops.

We posted a few photos of a fire truck turning into a parking lot at SF General. The truck had to slow down and wait for traffic to make the turn into the lot, and would not have been able to make it if the new Potrero plan with a median and trees where in place. https://metermadness.wordpress.com/sfpark-compaints/fire-trucks/