Street Story 101 Third Thursday Program
February 20, 2020
What is Street Story?
Street Story is a web-based tool that allows residents or community groups to collect information about the safety of their streets, whether it be traffic, bicycle, or pedestrian safety. Altadena Heritage, together with the Safe Streets Committee of the Altadena Town Council, invited the folks at Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at UC Berkeley to come down to Altadena to teach us how to use this community engagement tool. Thirty Altadenans showed up with their laptops, tablets, or smart phones for our February 20 tutorial led by SafeTREC’s Ana Lopez. (This, by the way, was our last “in-person” Third Thursday program before the coronavirus pandemic.)
Why is it important?
The value of Street Story, Lopez explained, is that it recruits residents as eyes on the ground to report traffic safety issues. No one knows a neighborhood like the people who live there. Furthermore, until the Street Story app, there has been no structured way to collect information on near-misses, or places deemed hazardous or safe by the inhabitants. The data are accessible to the public, including, importantly, County planners and engineers, and to the folks at Safe TREC, who use the data for their research.
How do I use it?
The Street Story app is accessed at streetstory.berkeley.edu. It is fairly easy to use once you get started. The app begins by asking the user to select City, County, Tribe, or Unincorporated Area. The Altadena user would choose Unincorporated Area, and then select Los Angeles County. After clicking on Next, a map of California presents itself. The user then chooses Location Type: Specific Location (Point) or Streets (Line), zooms in, marks the map with the point or line, and then labels it Crash, Near miss, Hazard, or Safe Place. After that the user fills in some details, may leave a comment, and submits the entry. There are some demographic questions at the end, the answering of which is optional.
Can I see the data? Where can I learn more?
To see what others in the community have reported, the user can click on See Data. More information about Street Story is available at https://safetrec.berkeley.edu/tools/ .
What can I do?
Altadena Heritage and the Safe Streets Committee urge all Altadenans to use the Street Story tool on an ongoing basis and tell their friends and neighbors about it. It will be interesting to see which intersections and other locations will be tagged most often for being hazardous or the site of collisions or near misses. Widespread use of Street Story will help build an important data set that can be used to support local requests to the County for improvements to streets, crosswalks, sidewalks, bikeways, etc., and will help make our streets safer for all.
– Anne Chomyn