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Safer Crossings for Madison Park Business District

Story by Bob Edmiston, Madison Park Greenways.

In the summer of 2013, a Madison Park resident was struck by a driver while walking across East Madison Street in a marked crosswalk, in broad daylight—and was critically injured. The community organized and formally asked the City of Seattle to make it safer to cross the street in our little neighborhood business district.

The community’s focus was on a complicated 6-way intersection where East Madison Street, McGilvra Blvd East and East Garfield Street meet. Many of the crossing distances there ranged from 50-100 feet across, exposing people on foot to hazardous speeding traffic. Parking near and within the intersection was blocking critical lines of sight between people walking and people driving. The combination of these compounding design flaws are thought to have factored into the tragic collision of 2013. Fixing these hazards became the objective of our Madison Park Greenways group.

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Five years later, after many grant applications, pitches, community design meetings and countless volunteer hours, the project is now nearly complete. The results are excellent. The adjoining streets have been squared up, entrances narrowed, curb lines moved in order to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and sight lines have been improved. Landscaping is being restored in a way that will permanently keep sight lines clear.

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By eliminating the worst safety issues of this very complicated intersection, this project has made Madison Park’s central intersection feel safer to cross on foot and safer to drive through. Since this intersection is the primary crossing for children who attend McGilvra Elementary School, the improved intersection opens up the possibility of walking or biking to school to more of the community.

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The man who was critically injured has recovered has been anticipating completion of this project. It was his desire that the crossing between Wells Fargo Bank and Starbucks be finally made safe for those who live, visit and work here.

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This project would not have been possible without a sustained multi-year direct collaboration effort between the Madison Park Community Council, the Madison Park Business Association, Madison Park Greenways and the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle Department of Transportation staff. They have all done outstanding work. We plan on holding a ribbon cutting celebration soon.

Inspired by this community-driven success story? Pitch in to help make more outcomes like this possible.