Tag Archive: safety

Vision Zero Update Part 1: World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on Seattle’s current progress on our Vision Zero goals. Vision Zero is Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Yesterday, Sunday, November 17, 2019, was the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

We remember the millions of people killed and seriously injured on our streets as well as their families, friends, and communities. We also give thanks to the first responders and other people in emergency services who are faced with tragedy every day. This tremendous burden and loss is often seen as an inevitable byproduct of vehicular travel, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

A montage of memorials left on the street where people were killed showing crosses, flowers, white cutout silhouettes, and white bicycles.

Memorials commemorating people killed by traffic violence on our streets.

Here in Seattle, we’re taking this opportunity to do a reality check on pedestrian safety on Seattle’s streets. And it’s not looking good.

Despite Seattle’s commitment to Vision Zero — the goal of achieving zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 — we are in the middle of a pedestrian safety crisis. In the first 10 months of 2019 (January 1 – October 31), crashes on Seattle roads caused 18 fatalities and 118 serious injuries.

A large group of people gather on a sidewalk holding crosses and flowers at a memorial for Maria Banda.

Memorial gathering for Maria Banda.

Of those killed and seriously injured, there were 12 pedestrians and bicyclists killed and 70 serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. I’ll say that again: A total of 82 fatalities or serious injuries to the most vulnerable users on our streets in the first ten months of this year, when our goal is zero. The breakdown, for those curious, is 63 pedestrians and 23 bicyclists. Note that this is preliminary data, and may not be a full count, and that we still have a month and a half before the year’s end.

These statistics have real human impacts.

And we know that victims of traffic violence are disproportionately elders, people of color, and those of us with disabilities, low incomes or currently experiencing homelessness.

Vedrana Durakovic had this to say after Maria Lourdes Banda, a Latina elder, was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Lake City Way this fall:

“Maria Banda’s passing [after the hit and run on September 30, 2019] has been felt deeply in the community and among her family and friends. Maria was beloved by all of those who knew her, and her passing has left a gaping hole in the community. Her presence was one of calmness and kindness, and those who were fortunate to have interacted with and known Maria, particularly her husband Agustín, are heartbroken over the loss. Maria’s granddaughter also expressed her grief over the loss of her grandmother, noting that “She was always someone who remembered everyone.” 

“At the same time, the community has also been grappling with feelings of anger and frustration, not comprehending how anyone could leave two people so precious to us on the road, and drive off. And it wasn’t until we contacted Councilmember Debora Juarez did we hear that a police detective was finally assigned to the case on 10/9, as the police had not been aware that the hit and run had resulted in a fatality. Concurrently, [Seattle Department of Transportation] SDOT had no knowledge up until that point that a fatality had occurred in the very spot the community had been asking for a crosswalk for years. 

“The community continues to feel Maria’s absence daily, seeking ways to commemorate her life and find comfort within the community which has demonstrated its strength, unity, and love.”

Jesse Gurnett's mother stands on the side of the street holding a photo of her son after he was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street.

Jesse Gurnett’s mother holding a photo of her son on the street where he was hit by a car and killed.

Our city streets are designed for speed, rather than safety. Remember that individual people making individual decisions designed our city to be this way, and we can make the choice to design it differently. And that these decisions have real impacts: four of the twelve fatalities took place in District 5, Seattle’s far north, which is notoriously devoid of sidewalks or safe places to walk, even along major transit routes and arterial streets.

A woman with three kids push a stroller along a street surrounded by cars. There is no sidewalk and they walk between a ditch and moving traffic.

The map below highlights the 100 intersections in Seattle with the highest number of collisions (2006-present). Seattle’s most dangerous street, Rainier Ave, averages a collision every day, and is clearly highlighted.

Map of the top 100 locations in Seattle with the most traffic collisions.

Click here to view interactive version of this map.

What Next?

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers are working every day on projects across the city to make it safer for people to walk and bike in Seattle. Sometimes this looks like new sidewalks, crosswalks, or other safe places for people to walk. Sometimes it looks like safe bike routes for people of all ages and abilities. Sometimes it looks like major policy shifts in the way our city evaluates our streets, or maintains our existing infrastructure. Our city is currently built for cars, but we can change that.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll lay out our ideas for the City to get Vision Zero back on track!

 

Special Thanks to volunteers Lee Bruch and Tim Ganter for tracking and visualizing data and holding the City accountable to Vision Zero goals.

Creating Walkways in Georgetown

August 5, 2017
by Carol Ohlfs and Jesse Moore, Co-leaders
Duwamish Valley Safe Streets

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets leads tour to homeless camps for agency & City officials

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets leads tour to homeless camps for agency & City officials

Duwamish Valley Safe Streets (DVSS) members believe all people in Seattle deserve a safe way to reach their closest Library, Public Medical Clinic, and Community Center.

Georgetown’s new Seattle sanctioned homeless encampment hosted 50+ residents at 1001 S Myrtle Street who live closer to the South Park bridge than almost any other neighbors in Georgetown.

Before after sidewalk Georgetown 2. 2017For many of Georgetown’s residents and workers, getting to South Park means about a 30 minute walk, or a 10 minute bicycle ride along East Marginal Way and over the South Park Bridge. East Marginal Way is a major corridor used by cars, freight, and bus, having 4-5 vehicular travel lanes lanes. There are no crosswalks at large intersection, no safe crossing on 16th Ave, and no sidewalks connecting Marginal to the bridge.

The design of this important route, connecting the flatlands in the south of the city across the Duwamish River, currently fails to consider the safety and equity of all users.

On February 25th 2017, co-leaders of DVSS, Jesse Moore and Carol Ohlfs, led a walk of this unsafe route to bring eyes and minds together around improving safety and connectivity between Georgetown and South Park.

In attendance were Kathy Nyland Director of Neighborhoods, George Scarola Director of Homelesness, Council Member Lisa Herbold, city employees from Department of Transportation, Office of Policy and Innovation, and Office of Sustainability and Environment, Georgetown and South Park residents and business owners, as well as Robert Getch form Beacon Hill Safe Streets.

While there is still a long way to go to make this mile feel safe for people of all ages, abilities and walks of life, as a result of our walk the city implemented some basic improvements that are worth celebrating!

Below are before and after photos illustrating how road paint, vegetation maintenance and wheels stops begin to make some room for people walking between Georgetown and South Park.

Want to support work like this? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate
Before after sidewalk Georgetown 1. 2017

Before after sidewalk Georgetown 3. 2017

92nd: One Street To Unite Us All

August 1, 2017

Dedicated leaders in Licton Haller Greenways, Greenwood Phinney Greenways, Ballard Greenways, NW Greenways, Maple Leaf Greenways, and the Aurora Licton Urban Village (ALUV) all had a hand in promoting critical pieces of connected street for people.

Thanks to connected, dedicated, long-term community work, 92nd is a protected, safe street that goes from Holman Road, across Aurora Avenue North, and across I-5,

Lee Bruch and GPGW

Celebrate with a ribbon cutting and kids bike parade!  Facebook Event Page

Join community, friends, and families opening a new walk bike pathway to school
N 92nd and Ashworth Ave N
Sunday, August 27 from 2 to 3:30 PM

bike ribbon cutting

People who’ve lived in Seattle for a while know how difficult it is to travel east to west. Maybe it is because of the steep hills that define our neighborhoods.

Because of the work of multiple local groups, there is a new way for people who walk and bike to go from east to west on NW/N/NE 92nd (the street changes its prefix as it travels). Here are some of the many groups and people who contributed to this safe street corridor.

  • Ballard Greenways champion Selena Cariostis proposed a signalized crossing of Holman Road NW at 92nd NW to get to Whitman Middle School. Her project was awarded more than $1 million in Move Seattle Levy funds and a signalized crossing will be built in 2018.
  • Greenwood Phinney Greenways (GPGW) leader Justin Martin and Forrest Baum from NW Greenways set up scouting rides with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to find optimal east-west streets for people who walk and bike through the north Greenwood area to Greenwood Ave N. Their greenway recommendations will be part of the north end safe routes connections.
  • Robin Randels, Teresa  Damaske from GPGW joined up with Lee Bruch and Suzi Zook of Licton Haller Greenways to scout the best place to way to cross Aurora Ave N.
  • Led by Lee Bruch, these groups all teamed up with Jan Brucker at Aurora Licton Urban Village to get a traffic signal  funded at 92nd and Aurora. Because Aurora is a state highway, these groups also sat down at multiple meetings with the Washington Department of Transportation.
  • Getting Seattle Public Schools to support a walk-bike trail to Cascade and Eagle Staff Schools on 92nd was a multi-year effort of Cathy Tuttle from SNGreenways.
  • Brock Howell and Ian Strader from Maple Leaf Greenways and Janine Blaeloch, Monica Sweet, and Dai Toyama from Lake City Greenways helped to convince SDOT to join up the I-5 crossing to the new protected bike lanes stretching along N/NE 92nd.
  • SDOT staff managed projects all along this corridor including Dongho Chang, Darby Watson, Mark Bandy, Brian Dougherty, Ashley Rhead, Serena Lehman, Dawn Schellenberg, and Dan Anderson.
  • Eagle Staff and Cascade PTSA leader James Dailey is motivating the school community to walk & bike to school.
  • Seattle City Councilmembers Debra Juarez and Mike O’Brien attended several community policy walks.

It really takes a village — or in this case multiple villages — to build safe, connected streets.

Join us in celebration August 27!

92nd map

Want to support work like this? Volunteer and donate:

  Join Us Donate

The Cost of Vision Zero

Ronacin Tjhung was struck & killed at MLK & South Graham January 2017

Ronacin Tjhung, father of 4 young children, was struck & killed in January 2017 at MLK & South Graham on his way to work

January 2017

May 25, 2017
Cathy Tuttle, @SNGreenways Executive Director

Every life is precious, and over the course of a year, thousands of lives in Seattle are impacted by traffic violence.

In just the past few months in Seattle, two young parents were hit and killed by people driving, people young and old were maimed for life crossing the street, and people commuting to work who’d love to get healthy exercise by walking or biking to their jobs were intimidated by speeding and distracted drivers and so refused to continue commuting by active transportation.

As a society, we’ve chosen to accept this loss of life and freedom as our collective cost of driving.

Serious road injuries and fatalities also have a real economic cost. A shockingly high cost it turns out.

The High Cost of Traffic Violence

The high cost of traffic violence is what we asked Tim Ganter to capture in his extraordinary data visualizations.

Let’s look at one example, the intersection of Rainier Ave S with MLK Ave S, better known as the Accessible Mt. Baker project. In 2016, our advocacy group successfully lobbied for more funding to go to this intersection. 

Tim’s new map tells the story of what our local advocates had verified on the ground.

Click on image for Data viz map

 

  • In the past decade there have been two fatalities and scores of injuries in and around MLK and Rainier Ave S.
  • In the past decade, the cost of traffic violence around MLK and Rainier Ave S added up to an astonishing $17,206,400 according to actuarial tables developed by the National Safety Council.

So which fact is more shocking? The money or the violence?
Which fact is most likely to influence public opinion and get leaders to invest and take action?

 

Stories of individual lives lost and shattered because of traffic violence are compelling. But so too are the dollar costs to our society for choosing to invest in streets that favor safety over speeding.

I encourage you to explore Tim’s work, based on Seattle’s open-sourced traffic incident reports, combined with fully vetted National Safety Council cost estimates for fatalities and injuries.

Please let Tim and @SNGreenways know how you use this work in your own neighborhoods. And let Tim know if you want his expertise in developing traffic data visualizations for your own community.

Vision Zero in a Sanctuary City

May 30, 2017

Statement from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition:

We Renounce Deportation Based on Traffic Violations

Seattle, WA­ –– The undersigned members of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition release the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement on 2/21/17 that a forthcoming executive order may expand deportable offenses to include traffic violations.

Advocates for safe streets have tired of hearing the trivialization of traffic violence as “just a traffic violation” or “no more important than a speeding ticket.” Traffic violations can lead to death and serious injury, especially for vulnerable users of our streets. People walking and biking are frequently the victims of such injuries, and seniors, children, and people with disabilities are disproportionately at risk.

However, as one of the coalition of groups that make up Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, we forcefully reject the Trump administration’s plan to pursue deportation for undocumented immigrants who have committed minor traffic offenses. Individuals in low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately killed and injured by traffic violence on our streets. Now, the primary victims of this violence may also be unfairly targeted by biased and punitive enforcement.

We refuse to allow Vision Zero — Seattle’s goal to eliminate all serious and fatal traffic injuries by 2030 — to be perverted into an excuse to round up and deport our undocumented neighbors and friends, just as we have previously denounced racial profiling committed in the name of traffic safety.

The undersigned seek to work with, not against, the very communities now under attack by the xenophobic and racist policies of the federal government. We declare unequivocally that Vision Zero must not be used as a cover for raids, racial profiling, or other unjust attacks on our fellow Seattleites.

We support the following actions to address traffic violations while minimizing biased enforcement:

  1. Focus on engineering.  Enforcement is not at the core of Vision Zero.  Engineering is at the core.  Understanding which street designs kill people and which street designs don’t is at the core of Vision Zero.  The safest traffic stop is the one that never happens.
  2. Explore restorative justice options for traffic violations. For example, people speeding in school zones in Finland have a choice to pay a substantial fine, or to appear at the school to explain their actions before a panel of school children.
  3. Continue to provide more transportation choices.  Traffic stops don’t happen on a bus, in a protected bike lane, or on a sidewalk (except in rare cases).  When we make driving the only practical choice, we expose vulnerable people to unnecessary risk.
  4. Rely primarily on speed cameras near schools to enforce traffic violations.  Speed cameras don’t require a traffic stop to do their job, they are always on (so they enforce less selectively), and they issue citations based on objective criteria rather than the judgment of an officer.  Cameras should be distributed equitably across the city.

Member groups of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Coalition (listed below)

  • Beacon Hill Safe Streets
  • Central Seattle Greenways
  • Duwamish Valley Safe Streets
  • Licton Haller Greenways
  • Maple Leaf Greenways
  • Pinehurst Greenways
  • Queen Anne Greenways
  • Rainier Valley Greenways
  • Wallingford Greenways
  • West Seattle Bike Connections

SNG logo1

 

 

 

 

Turning a Safety Corridor Into a Street for People #Fix65th

Council member Rob Johnson at 2016 #Fix65th rally

Councilmember Rob Johnson speaks to 2016 #Fix65th Vision Zero Rally participants

In 2016, following a cluster of tragic fatalities and serious injuries on NE 65th St of people walking and biking, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways brought together a coalition to make safety improvements.

NE Seattle Greenways held a community rally and safety walk with District 4 Councilmember Rob Johnson. Hundreds of people signed our petition, and powerful local neighborhood groups (Roosevelt Neighborhood Association & Ravenna-Bryant Community Association) joined up to make safety on NE 65th one of their priorities as well.

Our #Fix65th coalition and Councilmember Johnson’s support were just what was needed to make #fix65th a priority for Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), and late in 2016 the City funded and began to plan for a safer, more functional street.

Making NE 65th a great street for people who walk, bike, take the bus, shop, go to school, and live is even more critical now than ever with the Roosevelt Light Rail Station due to open in 2021.

photo: Dongho Chang, Seattle City Chief Traffic Engineer

We’re super excited to report, based on our coalition’s recommendations, that SDOT has already changed speed signs to 25 MPH (they were 30 MPH), and improved existing traffic signals.

Much more is planned!

Make sure to attend the next SDOT #Fix65th Open House on May 18 to see what else is in the works for 2017. If you can’t attend the May 18 meeting, SDOT has an on-line survey up in May to record your ideas as well.

 

SDOT Open House to #Fix65th

  • When: Thursday May 18, 2017 from 6 to 8 PM
  • Where: Roosevelt High School, 1410 NE 66th St
  • Who: Everyone who lives, works, plays, or travels along NE 65th St.
  • What: Review concept plans for 2017 safety and see what’s already been improved
  • Why: Because we all need safe, healthy streets!

More information: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/NE65VisionZero.htm and https://fix65th.wordpress.com

 

World Day of Remembrance 2016 at 20th NE and NE 65th

World Day of Remembrance 2016 at 20th NE and NE 65th

 

Sanctuary Cities, Federal funding, Vision Zero

January 27, 2017

Dear Mayor Murray and Seattle City Council,

One America SNG letter 1.27.17

Click for full document

The purpose of this letter is to express our support for the Mayor’s declaration of Seattle as a Sanctuary City, committed to shielding undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and family separation. President Trump has expressed his intent through executive order to punish sanctuary cities by threatening to revoke their federal funding. Because of the City of Seattle’s principled stand, under some scenarios, the President’s position may put into question billions of federal dollars annually for infrastructure and other essential municipal services for Seattle and the region, which could in turn have a direct impact on projects and policies we have advocated for, together.

Our crumbling streets can be rebuilt later – our humanity cannot. In Seattle, we trust in our ability to draw on significant internal resources to continue to maintain and improve our street infrastructure while we continue to protect and welcome people new to Seattle who come here from across the world.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition members are located throughout Seattle, from Lake City to Rainier Beach. As part of our organizing model, we ally and support those groups that bring neighbors together in positive, construc- tive gatherings and coalesce to defend basic human rights, including the work of One America. Immigrants are mem- bers of our coalitions and communities, and all of us deserve access to basic, safe infrastructure.

Immigrant and refugee communities have taken action to support community transportation improvements including the Move Seattle Levy. Recently One America and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways partnered on distributing “Hate Has No Home Here” multi-lingual yard signs. And sadly, immigrant communities are often our partners on Vision Zero Memorial Walks following traffic fatalities. Together, we strive to put people first in a manner that recognizes how creating a more equitable community can mean taking important risks.

We resolve to support people of color, children, the elderly, the other-abled, and the people who cannot afford to travel by means other than by transit, on foot or by bike. We will continue to do what we can to ensure their safety comes first, even–especially–as we face the possibility of an unsupportive federal administration. We will support Seattle in its efforts to protect and increase federal investments in critical transportation infrastructure needs. And we will oppose actions by federal authorities, like using the threat of cuts to federal funding to compel the City to undermine values that we cherish.

One of our active community members has taken to delivering flower bulbs by cargo bike, “because we’ll need to see signs of hope in the spring.” We will look to the spring of 2017 as a time to celebrate our diverse community.

Wishing you strength and happiness in 2017.

Rich Stolz, Executive Director One America

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 

A Basic Bike Network for One Center City

As you may have seen in the media, the One Center City process is well underway. One Center City aims to “bring together many communities, perspectives and partners, to create a 20-year plan for how we move through, connect to, and experience Seattle’s Center City neighborhoods.” As part of the One Center City process, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Cascade Bicycle Club are proposing a Basic Bike Network as an early implementation strategy. This interim strategy will allow the city to improve mobility and safety quickly, and collect data about how a connected network of safe places to bike downtown would work best.

Get Involved

Join us at Seattle City Council, Tuesday April 3rd 2018 at 2 PM.

 

Proposed Basic Bike Network

Downtown Minimum grid map with arrows 6 copy

WHY A BASIC BIKE NETWORK?

Our downtown streets are crowded and offer limited bike connections. A connected network of safe bicycle lanes is essential to efficiently move people.

WHY NOW?

One Center City (OCC)
Though the OCC process will eventually produce a comprehensive multi-modal plan for downtown, people need safe places to bike as soon as possible. A pilot basic bike network would make a sensible early deliverable for OCC to make bicycling safer and inform the final plans based on data from the pilot network

Reliable mobility options are needed
Bicycling is a reliable way to travel to, from and within downtown — even when transit is delayed. Implementing a basic bike network will provide more people with a failsafe mobility option.

CASE STUDIES

Calgary offers the best example of quickly implementing a basic bike network, setting realistic target metrics and collecting pre- and post data during an 18-month pilot. After the pilot, Calgary voted to make the network permanent.

Major takeaways include:

  • Bike mode share doubled in three months
  • Improved safety along the most dangerous routes
  • Increased diversity of ridership, including women and children
  • Declines in illegal bicycle behavior
  • Little to no delays for SOV traffic  

Edmonton is now following its approach, with other cities following closely behind. Other cities have demonstrated that a pilot network is a successful model: Seattle’s plan coupled with the comprehensive multimodal OCC process would truly make it a transportation leader amongst our peer cities.

For more information contact: Padelford at gordon@seattlegreenways.org, www.seattlegreenways.org

 

 

Volunteer Appreciation PARTY!

Party Hat graphicWe want to thank you at our annual volunteer appreciation gathering this Groundhog’s Day!  

Let’s celebrate all of the progress you helped make possible in 2016!

New to volunteering with us? Come see what we’re all about.

Date/Time:
Thursday February 2nd, 2017
5:30PM —> 7:30PM

RSVP here!

Location:
Impact Hub  4th Floor 
220 2nd Ave S  Seattle, WA 98104

Food and beverages provided courtesy of:
Peddler Brewing Company
BOL Pho Bistro
Essential Bakery & Co.
and more!

How to get to our party:

Bike parking is available in the basement of the Impact Hub.

Pioneer Square is extremely accessible by transit:
tripplanner.kingcounty.gov 

During First Thursday Art Walks in Pioneer Square, car parking is free from 5 pm to 10 pm at three parking garages listed below. To redeem, pick up a voucher at participating Pioneer Square stores, restaurants, or galleries. 

RSVP here!

FACEBOOK Event

Celebrate the Opening of Roosevelt!

University Greenways members talked to 43 business owners about safety on Roosevelt Way

Andres, Atom and other local Greenways leaders prepare to do small business outreach along Roosevelt in 2013. Side note, two other Greenways leaders pictured here are now fathers — Orion and Alma’s dads also want safer, healthier streets for their new babies.

November 2 2016

Atom, the little tyke in the photo, was not quite two years old in 2013 when his dad, Andres, got together with a group of other safe streets advocates from NE Seattle Greenways and University Greenways to run a campaign to turn the Roosevelt Way NE repaving project into the Roosevelt Way NE repaving and Protected Bike Lane project.

The group pictured here, plus a few others, went out and talked to small businesses about the business benefits of having slower traffic, safer places for people to bike and walk, and great public spaces in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

Thanks to their focused local campaign, and the local business support it generated, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) decided late in 2014 to turn Roosevelt into one of Seattle’s premiere Complete Streets.

Fast forward three years. Atom is five and the Roosevelt Way NE Protected Bike Lane will officially open, this Saturday, November 5 2016.  Kidical Mass riders will wield the scissors at a grand ribbon-cutting event with SDOT around noon at the University Food Bank 5017 Roosevelt Way NE.

Meet Andres, Max, Scott, Bob, Orion, Forrest, Drew, Alma, Madi, Rjider, Brandt, Barbara, Hank, and many more of the people who made this project possible for this generation and for future generations.

  • If you want to join the Kidical Mass Ride, come to at Mighty-O Donuts 2110 N 55th at 10:30 AM
  • Otherwise, join the fun ribbon-cutting at University Food Bank 5017 Roosevelt Way NE at noon!

 

 

 

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