Reshape system

Re: “ ‘Driver report card’ signs coming to Seattle will send the right message: It’s an intersection, not the Daytona 500” [March 29, Opinion]:

I’m glad the Seattle Department of Transportation is trying something new to improve safety for people walking and rolling. But unmentioned in the editorial is that by federal law SDOT had to spend this Washington Traffic Safety Commission grant on education, not infrastructure.

We have for decades subsidized driving. Even in Seattle, we do not have any pedestrian streets. We have few physical diverters to slow traffic. Replacing car or parking lanes with bus or bike lanes or wider sidewalks is a controversial, lengthy process despite obvious safety and environmental benefits. When a street will be closed for even a day, drivers are given weeks of warning. Is it surprising that after telling people in cars they are the highest priority that so few yield to people walking?

Meanwhile, people who cannot drive, like me and many other disabled people, put up with slow, inconvenient and even inaccessible systems. Transit trips can take three times as long. Sidewalks are often closed with long detours at short notice. Elevators and escalators at transit stations are routinely broken.

This new campaign may work, but until we reshape our system for everyone, education will fall short.

Rachael Ludwick, Seattle

‘Look before crossing’

The first step to avoiding accidents is to train pedestrians.

I try never to drive in Seattle, especially downtown, because people jaywalk, and they frequently step into the street without looking. Yet regardless of the circumstance, the onus of the accident is always laid squarely on the driver. A car traveling 20 mph (5 miles below the speed limit) takes 19 feet to stop, so if a pedestrian steps in front of said vehicle hitting them can be unavoidable.


Look before crossing, use crosswalks and don’t jaywalk.

Marilyn Fletcher, Renton

Put away your phones

The best and simplest way to improve pedestrian safety is for pedestrians to put away their phones and pay attention to what is going on around them.

I have personally seen phone-impaired people fall into the fountain at the United States Courthouse; stand, oblivious, in a malfunctioning elevator; walk into a cyclone fence; not to mention the many who just walk out into the street into oncoming traffic without looking up from their devices.

Making our streets safer is not only the responsibility of drivers or the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Karen Dobbs, Seattle

Crumbling curbs

How to improve pedestrian safety: Fix the sidewalks and fill the potholes!

A Capitol Hill pedestrian has to navigate not only broken sidewalks but, having reached the crumbling curb, must watch for oncoming cars as well as street potholes in order to reach the crumbling curb on the other side.

Janice Bradley, Seattle

Wheels on sidewalks

I don’t drive; I walk or ride the bus.

My challenging (OK, sometimes frightening) experiences on Seattle sidewalks: bicycle riders swooping in and out among pedestrians; scooters or skateboarders whipping around pedestrians.


Nita Rinehart, Seattle

Sage advice

To this day I heed the words my parents, along with schoolteachers, instilled into my head, “Look both ways before crossing a street.”

Those seven words saved my fanny on a sunny summer day in Kent as I was about to step into the crosswalk onto busy streets. A driver, who didn’t pay any attention to the crosswalk sign took the green light right-hand turn just as I was about to step off the curb onto East James Street.

Thank goodness I took heed of those words taught to me, “Look both ways before crossing a street,” or I’d be disabled or dead.

Jerry Fretts, Olympia