A new traffic-safety effort in Seattle will include slower speeds on some stretches of road, more school-zone cameras, fewer right turns on red and targeted enforcement.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has a transportation plan of his own for 2015 — slow the heck down.
Speeds will be reduced to 25 mph throughout downtown, starting with James Street and the Pike-Pine corridor, instead of the standard 30 mph arterial speed.
Many of the city’s 35 mph corridors, including Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, Delridge Way Southwest and 2 miles of Greenwood Avenue North, will have speeds reduced to 30 mph or lower in the near future.
Slowing in Seattle
The city’s new traffic-safety plan will reduce speeds from 35 mph to 30 mph on these busy streets:
• The northern 2 miles of Greenwood Avenue North;
• Holman Road Northwest;
• Harbor Avenue Southwest on the way to Alki Beach;
• Fauntleroy Way Southwest from Morgan Junction to Southwest Alaska Street;
• 35th Avenue Southwest from Southwest Avalon Way to Southwest Roxbury Street;
• Southwest Roxbury Street passing White Center;
• Delridge Way Southwest;
• Martin Luther King Jr. Way South from the city limit to Sam Smith Park.
• Rainier Avenue South, through Columbia City.
• The Magnolia Bridge, Seaview Avenue Northwest, the far reaches of Rainier Avenue South and small pieces of Fifth Avenue Northeast, 15th Avenue Northeast and Swift Avenue South.
See the whole plan: http://www.seattle.gov/visionzero
city of Seattle
Murray, along with officials from the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), announced their vision for safer streets outside the library in Lake City on Thursday afternoon, at the exact time lawmakers in Olympia issued their own transportation proposal, mainly to extend or expand highways.
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The city’s broad traffic-safety effort will include slower speeds, more school-zone cameras, fewer right turns on red and targeted enforcement. The name, “Vision Zero,” refers to a statewide effort by law enforcement, government, urbanist and safety groups to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.
Seattle will try limits of 20 mph for streets in five to 10 residential areas this year — including a swath of Lake City around the library, and a piece of Seward Park Avenue South at Rainier Beach High School.
Cities may lower speeds under a bill sponsored by Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, that passed the Legislature in 2013.
In addition to reduced speeds, turning right on a red light in some intersections on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues in downtown Seattle will be barred this year.
Lake City Way itself, a four-lane boulevard, has been criticized for catering too much to cars — though technically it’s part of state Highway 522, as well as a bus corridor.
Murray has been accelerating the bike-pedestrian safety policies of the City Council and his predecessor, Mayor Mike McGinn, who delivered school-zone speed cameras and tight police enforcement.
“It’s definitely a good first step,” said Andres Salomon, a volunteer with Northeast Seattle Greenways, which advocates for safety and calmer side streets.
The Seattle Police Department will use data to target places with high collision rates in an approach similar to SeaStat, which the department uses to address crime “hot spots” based on crime statistics and incident reports, Chief Kathleen O’Toole said.
The Vision Zero plan will update SDOT’s crosswalk policies and install signs throughout the city about pedestrian-safety laws, SDOT Director Scott Kubly said.
At the news conference, speakers mentioned there were 3,449 injury crashes last year in Seattle, causing 15 deaths. Five of those killed were walking or bicycling.
Sandhya Khadka, 17, died in April when she was hit by a pickup while crossing Fifth Avenue Northeast in Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood.
Thursday was Khadka’s birthday, family friend Writu Kakshapati said. She would have been 18.
“As a society, the least we can do is try, so we don’t lose another life,” Kakshapati said.
A “20 is plenty” movement has been making inroads across the U.S. and England, where activists envy the festive, bicycle-filled streets in countries such as Sweden, where Vision Zero started.
Trauma studies have found that 90 percent of pedestrians can survive a 20 mph vehicle impact, half survive at 30 mph, and only 10 percent survive being hit at 40 mph.
“Twenty miles can make a difference,” Murray said.
Murray should move more quickly and make the entire residential-street network 20 mph, said Lisa Quinn, executive director of Feet First, a nonprofit walking-advocacy group.