Crash City: S.F. Officially Has the Worst Streets

Sorry not sorry, L.A.

(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

Bad news for those who walk, drive, bus, bike, skateboard or…well bad news for anyone who moves around San Francisco at all. A new study shows that San Francisco has the worse conditions for vehicular collisions in the entire state, an unfortunate honor that can be placed on the shelf next to our terrible street surface award and the trophy for our exceptionally high rates of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

While no one likes being the bearer of bad news, it is important to note that horrifically bumpy Haight Street, the chaotic Market and Octavia intersection, and the ridiculous number of car collisions you see around town are not normal compared with other cities across the country. A number of reports have appeared in the past few months, bringing to light where San Francisco ranks #1 (and not in a good way). Here’s what we learned.

Road Conditions: Worst in the Nation

A report called “America’s Roughest Rides” was released in November of last year, disclosing that nearly one-third of the nation’s major urban roadways are in poor condition. In San Francisco and Oakland (yes they combined our data for some reason), 71 percent of our streets were logged as being in poor condition. This makes us #1 in worst road surfaces for any city in the nation with a population of more than 500,000 people.

Tests to determine how we’re the worst were not high-tech; each year, officials drive around the country in cars equipped with special sensors that measure the vibrations of the road. That data is then sent to the Federal Highway Administration and was recently analyzed by TRIP, a national transportation research group.

If bumpy streets seem like no big deal, know this: the typical driver in Oakland-San Francisco pays $978 a year for car repair costs, which is third on the nationwide list behind Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Vehicular Collisions: Worst in California

According to a new study released this week, San Francisco takes the cake for the most dangerous city to drive in.

Determining this award involved some pretty huge analyses of data. Researchers looked at the following factors: collision rate, fatality rate, injury rate, alcohol-related crash rate, speed-related crash rate, hit and run rate, population density, daily vehicle miles traveled, average rainfall and percentage of young drivers. After adding all these up, San Francisco was recorded as having the most factors that contributed to dangerous driving conditions.

That said, S.F. did not rank as high as other cities in the state in regards to vehicular fatalities. San Bernadino down south won that unfortunate honor, with more than three fatalities recorded for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled. San Francisco is said to have a little over 1.5 fatalities for the same distance.

Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities: Second Worse in Nation

As reported by our sister publication the Examiner, a budget analysis report released by the city last November shows that San Francisco has a serious problem with pedestrian safety. When the report was released in November, 13 people had been killed on the streets of San Francisco. In 2015, that number was 20, and in 2014 21 people were killed. Despite the recent reduction, overall the city hasn’t improved much in this area.

“The number of injuries and deaths has not changed significantly over the past 10 years and San Francisco has the second highest rate of pedestrian injury and death after New York City,” stated the report.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable. Although people 65 years and older account for a mere 14 percent of the city’s population, they made up more than one-third of San Francisco’s pedestrian deaths between 2005 and 2012.

So there you have it, things kinda suck.

That said, the city is working on fixing things, just a little slower than we might need. Vision Zero, the plan to eliminate traffic fatalities across San Francisco by 2024, is helping to secure funding for things like safer crosswalks, protected bike lanes and better street signs.

And some of the worst street surfaces to drive on in S.F.—like Masonic and Haight streets—should be repaved in the next year or two. But as Hoodline recently reported, the need far outweighs the funding, and progress in this area of citywide improvement is slow.

While all of this honestly blows, it may be some comfort to know that we’re not just #1 in least-affordable housing, but that we top three other terrible lists as well.

At least we have awesome dim sum.

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