What’s Your Street Story?

Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorites logoWe all use public streets, and we all have stories—about the place we almost got hit by a car, or couldn’t cross the street safely, or just feel so unsafe that we won’t even go there on foot or on a bicycle if we can help it. But most of the time, unless there’s a serious injury involved, the people who are in a position to make our streets safer never actually
hear these stories.

That has now changed. Road users in Humboldt County now have an easy way to let local decision makers know directly where they feel safe and unsafe on local roads and streets: an online safety tool called Street Story.

A screen capture from the Street Story site shows collisions, near misses, hazards and safe spaces reported in Humboldt County as of early July 2019.

Street Story was developed by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at the University of California, Berkeley. Using Street Story, members of the public can identify locations where they have experienced a collision or a near-miss, or areas they feel are hazardous to certain road users. It is free and easy to use, and is already in use in several other communities across California. CRTP is partnering with SafeTREC and local agencies to promote and use this tool locally.

Traditional sources of road safety information like police reports are extremely valuable, but they don’t tell the whole story—especially when it comes to people who are walking or biking. Hazards and near misses generally don’t make it into these reports, which can result in decision makers failing to take action to improve safety in dangerous areas. Street Story lets people directly and anonymously report where they’re not safe or not comfortable using local roads.

CRTP will be looking at the Street Story reports regularly and using them to advocate for infrastructure and policy improvements to make the roads in Humboldt safer for everyone—particularly the most vulnerable users. We will also be providing updates on Street Story reports in our weekly North Coast transportation news roundup, The Collector.

To submit a report on Street Story, visit https://streetstory.berkeley.edu and follow the simple prompts to enter information about a collision, near-miss, hazard, or safe area in just a couple of minutes. Data from Street Story is publicly available and can be used by members of the public as well as agencies, community groups, and the media.