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San Francisco leaders ignore deadly problems of traffic congestion

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority has been waylaid in their efforts to fight traffic congestion in downtown San Francisco by a Mayor and Board of Supervisors unwilling to prioritize public health over economic development. Nothing has happened with the Congestion Pricing Study since December 14, 2010. The latest instance of economic development getting prioritized over public health by elected officials in San Francisco is the proposed Warriors Arena on Piers 30-32 and accompanying 500 car parking garage along with another 200 or so parking spaces on the Seawall Lot 330 across The Embarcadero.

The "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" practice of the City is killing residents by advocating for increases in air pollution in an area already designated as an air pollution hot zone by San Francisco Health Code Article 38 to go unchecked.

In addition to the deadly carcinogens in vehicle air pollution, the traffic congestion on The Embarcadero on any average day without special events is deadly to San Franciscans who need medical attention when timing is of the essence. When the traffic lanes are gridlocked, ambulances, police, and firefighters often use the MUNI metro rails to drive and save some time getting around the traffic to the extent feasible. This outlet is shut off once they come across a MUNI Metro train on the tracks - and if not realized soon enough, could delay the emergency responders and ultimately result in a death of someone needing immediate help.

The video included with this article shows one of many regular instances today where emergency responders can't get through gridlocked traffic on the northbound lanes of The Embarcadero between Piers 30-32 and the Ferry Building. A dangerous alternative path of using the MUNI Metro train tracks means 40 MPH vehicles surprising pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers .. while also risking getting stuck behind a MUNI Metro train while responding to someone's call for help.

San Franciscans should not allow the Mayor and Supervisors to continue this practice of prioritizing economic growth at the cost of public health and San Franciscans' health, safety, and well-being. Traffic congestion needs to be addressed today and not held out as a possibility and a bargaining chip for projects, like the Warriors Arena, which will increase the poison in the air, the traffic congestion, and the injuries and deaths of pedestrians in downtown San Francisco.