Tag Archive: traffic safety

Crackdown On Block The Box

August 13, 2015

Mercer Mess Blocked Box. KOMO photo.

Mercer Mess Blocked Box. KOMO photo.

Today in Seattle City Council, officials from Seattle Police and Seattle Department of Transportation presented a new initiative championed by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw called “Don’t Be a Jerk, Don’t Block the Box“.

Obstructing crosswalks and intersections during signal changes is indeed part of the Municipal Code of Seattle and is against the law (SMC 11.50.070), but traffic violations are rarely enforced unless they are part of a funded initiative.

Because journalists are often delayed as they head out from downtown Seattle by blocked boxes, so media stories about Block the Box have been overwhelmingly supportive.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Executive Director Cathy Tuttle presented the following testimony on why to consider Block the Box as part of a Vision Zero / Safe Streets initiative:

Tuttle Block the Box Testimony

Click on image to see testimony and City presentation on Block the Box

My name is Cathy Tuttle. I am the Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. I am here today representing Greenways, a community coalition of more than 20 local groups who chose as their number one priority in 2015 safe streets and Vision Zero.

We are delighted to see this “Block the Box” collaboration between Seattle Police and the Seattle Department of Transportation. It is a data-driven safety initiative we strongly support.

Not only does “Blocking the Box” lead to traffic congestion and delay, car drivers who illegally enter crosswalks and intersections pose a significant safety threat to people who walk and ride bicycles.

“Block the Box” is notable in the downtown core, but I’ve spoken to many of our members who feel threatened as they attempt to cross the street by people driving cars across signalized crosswalks in many urban villages including Greenwood, Lake City, Queen Anne, Rainier, Faunterloy, Ballard, Capitol Hill, and Wallingford. In particular, our most vulnerable elders and children are at risk by people who “Block the Box”.

A father who walks his children daily to preschool, one in a stroller and one in hand, says that he often waits for two signal cycles in Madison Valley until the crosswalk is open for him to walk his family safely across the street. A senior couple in Green Lake told me they wait for gaps in traffic and “scurry like scared rabbits” to get across the street from the Library to the Community Center.

We hope this collaborative pilot project is successful and expands to other neighborhoods. We urge Council to consider dedicating some of the revenue collected in “Block the Box” citations back into Vision Zero safety enforcement AND into Vision Zero safety engineering for safer crosswalks throughout the city.

Rainier Embraces Transportation Transformation

Mayor Murray at Rainier Ave S Open House 7-301-15

Mayor Murray at Rainier Ave S Open House 7-301-15

Cathy Tuttle July 31, 2015

In a sweltering and packed gymnasium, with the Mayor, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly shouting through a rolled up paper megaphone (the sound system had failed), three of the most transformative projects SDOT has proposed to date were launched.

Harrell tossed down his megaphone and shouted, “We are DONE with Rainier Ave S being a freeway! People live here! We need this street to work for all of us!”

Here are the three transformative Rainier Valley projects (including SNGreenway’s top 2015 priority for Council District 2):

Click on image to see project details of Accessible Mt. Baker

Click on image to see project details of Accessible Mt. Baker

  1. Rainier North-South Greenway stretching from I-90 to Rainier Beach. Will be completed in 2016. Route identified with extensive input from Rainier Valley Greenways and Seattle Bike Advisory Board.
  2. Accessible Mt. Baker signals an SDOT commitment to prioritize people around transit. It’s too long been the norm for Sound Transit to plop in light rail stations and blithely leave it up to local municipalities to make their stations accessible to people who need to walk or bike to them. Accessible Mt. Baker takes up the challenge with a real station area planning.
  3. Rainier Avenue South Safety Corridor Pilot begins construction on Monday August 3 and wraps up construction on August 14. Not only is did SDOT’s Vision Zero Strategic Advisor Jim Curtin present an unprecedentedly short project timeline, the Rainier Ave S project has the potential to transform what is Seattle’s most deadly street.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Move Seattle For Our Kids

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
April 24, 2015
The $930 million Levy puts just $7 million toward Safe Routes to School. We can do better. Let’s use this opportunity for significant investments for our kids.
Safe Routes for Kids

If you own a house, you need to clean the gutters and occasionally replace the roof or the whole place falls down. That’s what 67% of the Move Seattle Levy is doing — basic and needed maintenance on our roads.

It’s the other 33% that gets me excited though — the greenways and safe intersections, the parklets and streateries, the Sunday Parkways and Walking School Buses, and especially the connected safe streets for our most vulnerable — our children walking to school.

 

Sign a petition to support A Transportation Levy To Move Seattle For Our Kids

 

Safe Routes for Kids Equity Map

Click map for cost estimates for Move Seattle for Kids projects

What we want to see in the Move Seattle Levy is real and complete Safe Routes to School. With a total of $7 million over nine years, there is barely enough to put a few crosswalks around each Seattle school.

We don’t have the money or the votes to invest in robust safety improvements in all School Walk Zones, but we would like the Levy to invest more in the places where families don’t have cars, where traffic violence is endemic, where many young children often have no choice but to walk alone to school.

The Move Seattle Levy proposed by Mayor Murray provides limited Safe Routes features at every Seattle school. We want to make sure these safety dollars for all schools are kept in the Levy. Our Move Seattle For Our Kids proposal seeks to add more traffic safety improvements throughout School Walk Zones in elementary schools where 50% or more students receive free or reduced cost lunch. Depending on the location of the school, extra improvements might include a package of stop signs, crosswalks, stairways, sidewalks, speed bumps, Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons, traffic signals, and other intersection and road improvements. How much will all of this cost? $38.41 million. Click here to see the details. Read the rest of this entry »

Ryan’s Roosevelt Story

Gordon Padelford
April 23, 2015

Click here to send a message to make Roosevelt Way NE Safer

What I thought was: “Ugh – this is going to be unpleasant.”

It was. I just sat in the roadway for a few minutes, stunned, bleeding all over myself.

I live in Seattle’s University District because I go to school at the University of Washington – I’m in the final year of a Ph.D. program in environmental policy. I’ve always believed in making the world a better place. Bicycling is a part of that, and it’s almost always how I get around. On this particular night I was on my way to see the premiere of a play in Capitol Hill’s Annex Theatre.

Instead I found myself bleeding in an intersection. Read the rest of this entry »

Safety Over Speeding On Rainier Avenue South

Supporters of Safety Over Speeding along Rainier Avenue South

Supporters of Safety Over Speeding along Rainier Avenue South

Sign petition I SUPPORT SAFETY OVER SPEEDING on Rainier Ave S: http://bit.ly/1FIZrhv

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. This has been going on for years and we all know so many people who have been hurt or worse. We aren’t just statistics. At this point, many of us are scared to bike down Rainier Ave South-many people even fear walking across the street.

We say enough! Rainier Ave S should be made safe for all people to walk, bike, drive, catch the bus, shop, and live.

We’ve had many corridor safety projects on Rainier Avenue South over the years. Yet our street is still a menace to the people who live and work along it. We value safety over speeding and we hope your new Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor Project will address our key priority areas.

Our key priorities have been discussed at our monthly Rainier Valley Greenways meetings, and in our on-going outreach to community organizations and neighbors. We have focused on five key priority areas:

  1. Slower speeds. 25 MPH along Rainier Avenue South and 20 MPH in our ‘Urban Villages’ (Columbia City, Hillman City, and Rainier Beach business districts).
  1. Pedestrian oriented signal timing. We are very ready to have our signals be compliant with federal standards. We reported signal timing problems more than a year ago. We don’t want to force our seniors and children to run across the street. In as many places as possible, we’d like to see pedestrian lead time at major crossings. Finally, we’d like to make sure signals are timed to 20 MPH in our Villages and 25 MPH along all of Rainier with signage that indicates these speeds.
  1. Emphasize safe crossing of Rainier. Raised crosswalks in key areas and curb bulbs to enhance pedestrian and bicyclists safety are some of the tools we want to see if we are finally going to reclaim our major neighborhood business street.
  1. Protected Bike Lane on Rainier Ave S.  Rechannelize our street to make Rainier Ave South a more Complete Street for all modes, so that people walking, biking, riding the bus or driving a car or truck are comfortable, and let each have their own place on the street.
  1. Enforcement. Please make sure people abide by the speed limits. We want to add school zone cameras for high schools, red light cameras, and police enforcement.

We are focused on our three main business districts with ideas to see if we can slow speed in our business and cultural centers.  Raised crosswalks along Rainier — at S Edmunds St. in Columbia City, at S Orcas St. in Hillman City, and at S Henderson St. in Rainier Beach — are what we believe could be the beginning of improvements along Rainier Ave South to make it safer for everyone and to try to control speeding and refocus distracted drivers.

We love our neighborhoods in the Rainier Valley.  We love to live, work and play in this community. But the current state of Rainier Ave South seriously impacts the quality of our lives.  It is an unpleasant experience and far too often an unsafe situation for people driving, using transit, walking and biking.

 

Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk 1-17-15 2 P.M.

For Immediate Release
Phyllis Porter Phyllis@Seattlegreenways.org  (253) 545-8567
Leo Almanzor Memorial Walk Saturday, January 17, 2015 2 P.M. at 5th & Pike

A community was devastated by a horrific collision around 9:30 P.M. on November 22, 2014 as Leo Almanzor attempted to cross the intersection of Pike Street and 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle and was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver.  Mr. Almanzor, 68, had taken the bus from his home in Columbia City and was walking to his job at Washington Athletic Club, where he had worked as a janitor for 17 years.

Leo Almanzor 2014

Leo Almanzor was killed in a hit-and-run collision on 11-22-14

The Seattle Times reported many witnesses saw a speeding car hit Mr. Almanzor on that fateful Saturday night. Seattle Police are still investigating the crash and have recovered the car but made no arrests.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, in cooperation with family and friends of Leo Almanzor, invites the community to participate in a Memorial Walk in his memory.

Mr. Almanzor’s family will join traffic safety advocates at 5th and Pike, along with City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, Austin Miller from Mayor Ed Murray’s office and Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has committed to organizing Memorials whenever a person is killed walking or biking in Seattle, followed by a community Solutions Meeting with City representatives who have the power to make our streets safer and prevent future deaths.

The Memorial Walk for Leo Almanzor will begin at 2 P.M. on Saturday, January 17, with a gathering at the corner of Pike Street and 5th Avenue.  We will carry signs and hear a few words from people who knew and loved for Leo as well as City officials.

After the Memorial Walk, we will walk or bus to the Impact HUB at 220 2nd Avenue South at the corner of S. Washington and 2nd Avenue South for a Solutions Meeting.  Community members and representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation will discuss ways to improve traffic safety for people who live and work in downtown Seattle.

“Leo” immigrated to Seattle from the Philippines in 1979. He was very involved with raising his nieces and nephews.  Leo’s family recalled his love for horse races at Emerald Downs and said he often quoted the announcer’s phrase, “There they go”! He loved music and requested the same present every year, “a CD, a new Walkman, and headphones” and thought cassette tapes made the most authentic sound. Read the rest of this entry »

Safe Routes To School Community Forum North Seattle

Come to the community forum about providing Safe Routes to Schools in Central-North Seattle January 20 2015

Wildcat Way Opening July 2014Hear presentations by Seattle Department of Transportation on its efforts to create Safe Routes to Schools and by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways on its efforts to support safer and more pleasant streets.

PARTICIPATE in an interactive workshop where we gather around maps to:

Tuesday Jan. 20, 2015
6:30 – 8:00 PM
North Seattle College Cafeteria Read the rest of this entry »

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