Tag Archive: safety

What Did Your Council Candidate Say About Safe Streets?

by Cathy Tuttle, July 16, 2015

I got my ballot in the mail today!

If you live in Seattle and are registered to vote, you will get to choose two at-large City Council candidates, and one Council candidate who represents your District.  For the past year, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been organizing its advocacy priorities, local groups and volunteers by District as well. We believe District elections will significantly change the face of Seattle projects and policies.

This is a run-off primary election, with ballots due August 4. The top two vote-getters in each position will advance to the November elections when we will choose our nine City Council members. Most of the Districts and at-large positions have many candidates running (there are over 40 people running for nine seats).

I admire every person who has chosen to run for City Council. Every one has made a sacrifice of their time, their money, and their energy to put forward their ideas about how to make Seattle a better and more livable city.

Local Greenways group leaders came up with just two questions that we asked of all 40+ candidates. You can see candidates’ complete responses at the bottom of this post, on this Google spreadsheet, or this Excel pdf.

Here are the two questions each candidate answered:

  • Question 1: What street or transportation projects proposed for your District get you excited? What projects will you push for, and what might you oppose?
  • Question 2: Envision a major street running through a business district in your neighborhood. Now that you’re a City Councilmember, you hear from residents and business owners who are concerned that an SDOT project to increase safety for people walking, biking, driving, and taking transit on this street may impact some on-street parking and slow down traffic by an estimated thirty seconds per mile. You also hear from parents, seniors, and people who live and work in the area that they really want their street to be safer.

How, if at all, would you engage SDOT and the people who live and work in your neighborhood and mediate conflicting project outcomes? This project will impact traffic in the following ways:

(1) remove some on-street parking for better visibility for people walking

(2) narrow some vehicle lanes to encourage drivers to keep to a maximum 25 mph speed;

(3) re-time traffic signals to give slower elders and children more time to safely cross the street;

(4) dedicate some current vehicle traffic lanes to buses and people on bikes so that they can move more quickly and safely

The illustration below is a word cloud of all candidate answers.

Council Candidate Word Cloud in worditout.com

Council Candidate Word Cloud in worditout.com

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Right-of-Way Declaration of Independence & Bill of Rights

Cathy Tuttle
July 4 2015
Cross-posted with The Urbanist

Declaration of Right of Way Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, whether they are rich or poor, black or white, young or old, and that we are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  1. We the people recognize that the ownership or use of a private vehicle does not imply the sole ownership of the public Right-of-Way.
  2. We recognize that there is no such thing as free parking, and that our collective community pays to subsidize free car storage on our public Right-of-Way.
  3. We recognize the rights of people, in particular our most vulnerable elders and children, to freely walk on and across our public Right-of-Way without fear of injury or death by people in moving vehicles.
  4. We recognize that when separated sidewalks are provided as part of the Right-of-Way, they must be wide, uncluttered by street poles and furnishings, and minimally punctuated by driveways in order to be functional for people who walk.
  5. We recognize that people riding bicycles have the right of way on our streets, and that the movement of people on bikes, particularly families riding bikes, shall not be limited on our Right-of-Ways unless their movements represent a danger or obstruction to people walking.
  6. We recognize every public Right-of-Way that does not provide separated sidewalks and protected bike lanes is a place where “cars are guests” and where people who drive should go no faster than three times average walking speed (ten miles per hour).
  7. We recognize the highest and best use we can have for our vehicles, our Rights-of-Way, and our fossil fuels, that are all subsidized by our common wealth, is to move our goods, provide emergency services, and provide transport for our most vulnerable people.
  8. We recognize that our public Rights-of-Way are maintained through extraordinary investments of our collective energy and capital.
  9. We recognize we have built more public Right-of-Way than we will be able to maintain in the future.
  10. We recognize that we live on a finite planet with limited resources and that the fuels and battery energy needed to power our vehicles is heavily subsidized with our collective money.
  11. We recognize we are at the start of a centuries long climate crisis, and that every opportunity to maximize tree planting on the forty percent of our city land that is currently paved is an investment that future generations will thank us for.
  12. We recognize the potential for beauty, gathering space, and places for people in our public Right-of-Way.

 

Respect Gayborhood With Safe Streets, Not Rainbow Crosswalks

Eli Goldberg June 25, 2015
(Eli is a former leader of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways who remains committed to safe streets advocacy)

Our brand-new rainbow crosswalks in Capitol Hill have received dozens of well-deserved news articles, garnering nationwide coverage.

Kudos to the City for starting to treat Capitol Hill’s streets as the community spaces that they are.

And it’s great to see SDOT take this first step towards tailoring our street spaces for the needs and personalities of our diverse neighborhoods. From the national news coverage the rainbow crosswalks have generated, hopefully, SDOT, you’ve realized you’re onto something bigger than just rainbow-colored crosswalks: you’ve tapped into the potential of using our streets to respect and strengthen our community identity.

But these rainbow crosswalks also tangibly demonstrate the ongoing gap in SDOT’s ability to express and act on a understanding of the needs of our individual neighborhood. Even after painting rainbow crosswalks on our streets, it couldn’t be clearer that SDOT has just started on the journey of learning how to act on and support our neighborhood’s unique needs and values. Read the rest of this entry »

Construction Zone Mobility: Room For Improvement

May 2015
Cross-posted with The UrbanistConstruction Zone Signs

Seattle is a boom town. Until recently, traffic plans during new building construction disregarded the mobility of people walking and biking beside building sites. This disregard is a safety issue, not just an inconvenience.

Last year, Seattle created a Construction Hub Coordination Program with dedicated staff who work to improve access for all during construction in high growth areas designated by the City as “Construction Hubs.”. Construction sites in South Lake Union, Ballard, Alaska Way, Capitol Hill, and West Seattle Junction are getting better for people walking and biking near them, but problems still remain, in these locations and throughout the city.

In Seattle, we still place a higher value on preserving street parking around construction sites at the expense of providing safe access for people who walk or bike. Sidewalks are routinely blocked, and safe intersection crossings removed for extended periods. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety Over Speeding: Rainier Day of Action May 20

STEP UP & SPEAK OUT FOR SAFETY!

  • What: Join the Day of Action! An event to raise awareness and build support for a safer Rainier Ave S. Join a crosswalk action, help collect petition signatures, post flyers, take portraits of supporters, or sign a Get Well Soon Rainier Ave card. However you want to be involved, we could use your help!
  • When: Wednesday May 20th from 5:30-7:30 PM (5:30-6:30 main event)
  • Where: Columbia City at S Edmunds St & Rainier Ave S.
  • Why: With 1,243 crashes in the past three years, Rainier Avenue South is the most dangerous street in Seattle. Every crash impacts our community – from cars careening into our businesses to our children being run down by drivers who never even stop. We say enough! Rainier Ave S should be made safe for all people to walk, bike, drive, catch the bus, shop, and live.

Can make it to the event? Sign the Rainier Valley Greenways petition to support SAFETY OVER SPEEDING!

day of action half sheet

More Than Just Greenways: Lake City Greenways Leads The Way

Lake City Crosswalk action

Lake City Greenways Crosswalk Action With SDOT

May 1, 2015

Lake City Greenways exemplifies the civic-mindedness and good transportation decisions local Seattle Neighborhood Greenways groups all over Seattle are becoming known for.

In the past two years, Lake City Greenways has added a pocket park in the street right-of-way, worked with several UW classes on urban development ideas, helped Seattle Department of Transportation on road safety awareness on Lake City Way, worked closely on a new Safe Routes to School project to Olympic Hills Elementary, and of course advocated for the newly opened Lake City Greenway!

Now they’ve even taken on the placement of Metro bus stops when they put people in danger when they cross the street. And they’ve won!

Here’s the story directly from Lake City Greenways leader, Janine Blaeloch:

Thanks to a couple of observant neighbors, I was alerted to the fact that people are running across LCW at 140th to access the Little Brook neighborhood and especially the new Array apartments on the west side. Many of them are people getting off northbound buses. The bus stop north of 137th is too far north, and to cross safely at the 137 crosswalk, people have to walk many yards south, cross the awful Erickson crossing and then wait a very long time to cross 137 crosswalk. That all evidently takes too much time for people to resist risking their lives to sprint across LCW instead.

I contacted Metro to ask whether they could move the bus stop south of the 137th crosswalk. Colin Drake of Metro and Dongho Chang and Jim Curtin of SDOT  met with me at the site a little while back and we had a good discussion about the problem. The immediate solution is to indeed move the bus stop. I just received this message from Colin today:

Hi Janine,Just wanted to let you know that SDOT has approved Metro’s request to relocate the stop to nearside 137th. Next Friday May 8, Metro will close the existing stop and place a temporary delineator at the new stop. SDOT will install permanent signage at the new stop as their work crew schedule allows.Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue.

Thanks,
Colin

During our meeting we also discussed the possibilities of (1) putting another crosswalk on the north side and having a no-right-turn-on-red from Erickson (this is controversial because it could cause more cut-through behavior in north Cedar Park) and (2) changing the signal phase for southbound LCW traffic at least in off-peak hours so crossers don’t have to wait so infernally long at the 137th crosswalk.

The newly placed Metro stop opens May 8, 2015.

Thank you Lake City Greenways for your dedication and we wish you much success for safer streets in your neighborhood in the future!

Safe Crossings for Kids

Kids CrossingEditors Note: University Of Washington students Qiren Lu & Ranju Uezono studied four  intersections in Seattle School Walk Zones to see if drivers stopped for people crossing at  crosswalks.

Their findings were alarming. Motorist  compliance rate ranged from 15% to 34%, low figures compared to the national average.

In other words, in marked crosswalks in school zones, only 3 in 10 people driving cars fully stopped for people walking during school arrival & departure hours.

Read the full report. Read the Lake City Library supplementary report.

Abstract
The percentage of children actively commuting to school by walking or biking in the United States has significantly decreased within the past 50 years (National Household Transportation Survey, 2001). Busy street crossings are barriers to students walking and biking to school in cities around the nation. The purpose of this on-site data collection study titled Safe Crossings for Kids is to analyze motorist compliance rates with pedestrian-motorist encounters at three marked crosswalks near schools in Seattle. The observed crosswalks are located at Wallingford Ave & 43rd St in Wallingford (near Hamilton International Middle School), 15th Ave S & S Hill St in Beacon Hill (near Beacon Hill International School), and 58th St &14th Ave in Ballard (near St. Alphonsus Parish Elementary School). Observations of general public pedestrians crossing were collected, in addition to staged pedestrians crossing these marked crosswalks, modeled after TCRP 112/NCHRP 562 (Transit Cooperative Research Program/National Cooperative Highway Research Program). Results show a majority of non-compliance, as defined by Revised Code of Washington, Rules of the Road (RCW 46.61.235), where full-stops are considered a complete compliance to pedestrians. Subsequent future studies would provide further insight into the current trends of motorist compliance rates around schools in Seattle. The results from this study show that the motorist compliance rate for Wallingford Ave & 43rd St. is 34%, for 15th Ave S & S Hill St., 21%, and for 58th St. & 14th Ave, 15%, which are relatively low figures compared to the national compliance rates. Read the rest of this entry »

We Are All People Who Walk

April 3, 2015
Glen Buhlman serves on the Kirkland Transportation Commission and is co-founder of Kirkland Greenways

 

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

Mark Twain Elementary School is across the street. This is the start of the Rose Hill Greenway. Facing sign warns people walking, biking, and driving that cars do not stop.

We all become “pedestrians” for a portion of most of our trips once we get out of our car, step off the bus or lock up our bicycle. I don’t think anyone would suggest that we should outlaw dark-toned clothing after sundown. Requiring people walking to wear high-viz clothing is sidestepping a bigger problem.

The responsibility for safety lies with the person who is operating the multi-ton vehicle that can easily injure or kill others. Yes, people walking should be as aware as possible and we drill this into our children, but people walking are ultimately at the mercy of the person driving the car.

As people who drive cars/trucks/buses and even more importantly as parents of children who are getting their drivers’ licenses, we must also teach both our children and ourselves that every time we get into our vehicle we are operating a device that can easily injure or kill — and we are usually doing it on roads that were designed to prioritize speed and throughput of vehicular traffic at the expense of the safety of the people who use the roadway (including the people driving the cars). Read the rest of this entry »

LGBTQ Street Safety in Seattle

March 12, 2015

LGBTQ Safe Streets Infographic

View infographic on LGBTQ Street Safety in full screen

University of Washington School of Public Health student Christie Santos­‐Livengood approached Seattle Neighborhood Greenways to do her practicum because of SNG’s positive reputation in her community and with built environment scholars. Her study researched the relationship between neighborhoods and the health and safety of LGBT people in respect to hate crimes and other public health concerns.

Christie’s report makes recommendations to prevent and address anti-LGBT hate crimes in Seattle.  She worked with members of Central Seattle Greenways as well as interviewing  stakeholders in the LGBT community.

Her findings indicate that the LGBT community stakeholders are concerned with Gentrification and Newcomers, Mistrust of Police, Nightlife Culture and Hate Crimes.  Recommendations are provided and include action items for the City, Business and Non-Profit Organizations and the LGBT Community.

Stakeholders were blunt in their assessment of living in the Central-Capitol Hill area:

“With Capitol Hill becoming a center of nightlife, I think there’s just more people and not everyone is used to being around different segments of the population… [Outsiders] don’t see themselves as anti-gay but don’t necessarily see what they are doing when they are drunk.”

“A member of ours 2 summers ago was chased down the street and beaten with a skateboard.  He wasn’t aware of his surroundings, wasn’t in a good state, you don’t know [if it was a hate crime] but he had just come out of a gay bar. Those are the things that terrify people…Pike and Pine are well lit and well traveled, but a few blocks north and south are very dark, lots of places to hide… Four stabbings in front of my door in two weeks at 2 [o’clock] in the morning.”

Christie concludes that hate crimes against LGBT people in Seattle are a public health and urban planning issue that must be addressed.  It is imperative that the City of Seattle, businesses and the LGBTQ community study these recommendations because they have the potential to truly impact the health and well being of LGBTQ people, and the entire Seattle community. Full report here. Read the rest of this entry »

Save Lives & Keep Moving: Seattle’s Successful Safety Redesigns

Road Diet Save Lives & Keep Moving

Open graphic in full screen

Cathy Tuttle
February 15, 2015

If you think a “road diet,” or safety redesign, will slow you down, think again.

Walking in Seattle blogger Troy Heerwagen poured through data from a half dozen Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) evaluation reports and found huge benefits for everyone using our shared public right-of-way.

SDOT engineers have learned smart new techniques to make high-capacity streets safer and more efficient. After a safety redesign, streets still carry as many vehicles as they did prior to their road diet. If fact, our streets are in better shape and can take on even more vehicle volume after a safety redesign. Another benefit? Aggressive speeding, the kind of behavior that kills people, falls dramatically. And not surprisingly, collisions and crashes of all sorts drop precipitously too.

Since safety redesigns are often a matter of mainly repainting travel lanes, they are also one of the quickest and least expensive road safety improvements around.

We call that a great investment in our future!

Check out Troy’s work in this Tableau-generated infographic.

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