Join “walk-in” TOMORROW to support a safer Rainier Ave

Rainier walk-inLast week, someone drove their car into a historic building on Rainier Avenue, injuring seven people.

In response to this event, the Columbia City Business Association has scheduled a “walk-in” tomorrow near the location of the crash to encourage action from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). There have been several severe crashes on Rainier, including one just six months ago when someone drove over the curb and into a nail salon.

From 4:30 to 5:30 tomorrow, participants will cross Rainier Avenue at Ferdinand Street during each light cycle. All are welcome to join in, including latecomers.

Rainier is the “Main Street” for the Columbia City business district, however drivers often travel in excess of the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour therefore discouraging pedestrians from walking in the area and crossing the street.

The Business Association is asking SDOT to take action, specifically by providing the following:

  • Longer crossing times for pedestrians on Rainier.
  • Red light cameras at intersections to reduce the number of cars speeding through red lights.
  • A slower speed limit through our “main streets” and business districts.
  • Roadway design changes to reduce hazardous driving.

One possible roadway design change for this stretch of Rainier could be a lane rechannelization or “road diet”, which would add a center turn lane and reduce lanes for through traffic. In other locations, lane rechannelizations have been effective at reducing vehicle speed and collisions without affecting roadway’s ability to accommodate traffic. SDOT considers 25,000 vehicles per day as a maximum volume for a four-lane roadway to receive a lane rechannelization and less than 20,000 vehicles appear to travel this stretch of Rainier daily.

The Association is looking for SDOT to take action quickly so as to not allow further and potentially more devastating collisions to occur.

Mayor Murray and new SDOT director Scott Kubly have set high expectations for action by quickly deploying of a protected bike lane on 2nd Ave downtown. Can they do the same for Rainier before something worse happens?

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Stairway Walks Day coming up

Seattle’s second annual Stairway Walks Day will be taking place Saturday, February 8, from 10:00 to noon. Guided walks led by Feet First Walking Ambassadors will begin simultaneously in 18 different locations across the region.

The walking routes are based on those in the walking guidebook Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-And-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo.

Participating is free but spots are limited and last year’s event filled up, so read more and be sure to sign up if you are interested.

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Drawing conclusions from the Death Dashboard

The Seattle Roadway Death Dashboard published here last week combines different sources of data and presents the data through various chart types. This interactive analytical tool provides information on roadway fatalities that could be used to save lives.

Here are some examples of how you can interact with this tool to gain insight:

  • During the daytime, people in their 80s and 90s are more likely to be killed in a traffic collision than any other age group. Together, this age group makes up 7% of the total population but accounts for 44% of the fatalities from 9am to 4pm.
    see screenshot
    Dashboard showing daytime fatalities between 9am to 4pm.

    Dashboard showing daytime fatalities between 9am to 4pm.

  • Pedestrians 50 and older are disproportionately likely to be killed on Seattle roadways. Pedestrians younger than 50 count for fewer roadway fatalities than expected based on the city demographics. People aged 20-49 account for 58% of the city population but only 41% of its pedestrian fatalities.
    see screenshot
    Death dashboard showing pedestrians only by age and race.

    Death dashboard showing pedestrians only by age and race.

  • As a percentage of total fatalities, black drivers are more than three times as likely to be killed on the roadway than city demographics would suggest. This race accounts for 26% of driver fatalities but only 8% of the population.
    see screenshot
    Dashboard showing drivers only by age and race.

    Dashboard showing drivers only by age and race.

  • Rainier Ave S is the deadliest city street with a speed limit from 20-35 mph by far, but there are several other streets where four or more people have died.
    see screenshot
    Death Dashboard showing fatalities on roadways with 20-35 mph speed limits.

    Death Dashboard showing fatalities on roadways with 20-35 mph speed limits.

  • Pedestrian fatalities are fairly evenly distributed throughout the day, while driver and passenger fatalities occur predominantly late at night and in the very early morning.
    see screenshot
    Death Dashboards showing pedestrian fatalities by hour - fairly evenly distributed.

    Death Dashboards showing pedestrian fatalities by hour – fairly evenly distributed.


    Death Dashboards showing driver and passenger fatalities by hour - mostly at night.

    Death Dashboards showing driver and passenger fatalities by hour – mostly at night.

This is just a sampling of the type of analysis you can do with the dashboard. Please share any interesting results you’ve found in the comments.

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Seattle Roadway Death Dashboard

This dashboard provides a visualization of 299 roadway fatalities that occurred in Seattle from 2002-2011.

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A walker wonders: Best route from ferry terminal to Westlake?

A walker wonders:

Do your readers have the best route (least steep) from the ferry terminal to Westlake? What are the suggestions?

This is a route familiar to many tourists, or locals who have visitors. The vertical gain is over 120 feet between the waterfront, which is basically at sea level, and Westlake Center in the retail core. If you walk along the waterfront and then try to cut over at Pike, Union, or University, you’re faced with over 100 steps to climb. So, what’s a walker to do?

For those in the know, there are some elevators for parking garages near Pike Place Market that bring you from the waterfront up to Western Avenue. There’s still a hill there, or steps to climb, but the elevator cuts out half of the elevation gain.

However, my preference would be to make the uphill climb on foot. The ferry terminal exits to a walkway on Marion St, that will take you over Alaskan Way and Western Ave and straight to First Ave. First Avenue is one of the the best streets to walk along downtown in my opinion, based on the historical buildings, retail options, and its role in connecting Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square. The incline is very gradual on First and if you continue it eventually will take you to Pike or Pine from where the walk to Westlake will be relatively flat.

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Vigil this Monday for teen struck in hit-and-run

15-year-old Trevon Crease-Holden was struck on July 19th at Walden and MLK. The driver fled the scene has yet to come forward. As the teen continues to fight for his life, there will be a vigil walk this Monday, August 5 at 5:30 pm.

More information is available at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:

The Rainier Valley community is gathering on Monday, August 5 at 5:30pm the QFC on Rainier, 2707 Rainier Ave S, and walking four blocks to the site of the tragedy at MLK and South Walden Street. Trevon’s mother, Quianna Holden and other community leaders intend to speak at the Walden collision site. Representatives from local advocacy organizations and the Seattle Mayor’s Office plan to attend.

Trevon was on his way home with his little brother from a late night open gym at a local community center when they entered a marked crosswalk at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Walden Street. A vehicle travelling south on MLK struck Trevon and continued without stopping to provide information or render aid. Seattle Fire Department responded and Seattle Police continue to search for the hit-and-run driver.

Quianna Holden says she can forgive the driver for hitting her son, but she cannot forgive the driver for not coming forward. She went on KIRO TV to make a heartbreaking plea­ for the person responsible to come forward so she can at least have answers. His mother says Trevon is a good son, and a good athlete who hoped to start football this year at Franklin High School.

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Join the Walk Bike Ride Challenge

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s annual Walk Bike Ride Challenge has started. This program gives you a chance to win prizes as you ride the bus, walk, and bike to get around rather than driving. The details are below on how to enter and what you could win:

The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is on! This incentive program by the Seattle Department of Transportation is an opportunity to win great prizes as you try more trips by walking, bike and riding transit. These trips can be any trip you make; not just trips to work. If you convert 24 (or two per week) drive-alone car trips to walking, biking, car/vanpooling or riding transit between June 15 and September 9, you get the chance to win:

  • A brand new bike and helmet from Gregg’s Cycles
  • Family pack tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo
  • $200 REI Gift Card
  • $100 Nordstrom Gift Card
  • $100 Farmers Market gift certificate
  • $150 Zipcar gift certificate
  • Car2Go membership and four hours of driving
  • And more to come!

The more trips you report, the higher the chance you have of winning, so get riding, walking, rolling, and reporting right away! Sign up NOW for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge to create your individual profile, start a neighborhood, workplace, or other type of team (if you like), and invite your friends to join in the fun. You will also be entered in a weekly raffle to win a $20 ORCA card if you get a friend to take the Challenge.

Once you sign up for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge you become part of a community making your neighborhood and Seattle as a whole a more active and better place to live. The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is partnering with Luum this year and using a new on-line platform to track your progress, provide tips, and engage with fellow Challengers. So, what are you waiting for? Get moving, get active, get prizes!

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Feet First to lead free neighborhood walks May 4 & 5

Feet First is leading a series of free neighborhood walks on a May 4 and May 5. These walks are part of Jane’s Walks, a worldwide annual walking event, named for Jane Jacobs, the advocate for livable urban cities.

After the huge success of Stairway Walks Day in February, which had over 250 walkers attending 15 free walks, this event looks to be a hit as well. The walks will be led by Feet First’s volunteer Walking Ambassadors and “the conversation topics are as varied as the people taking part, from art and architecture to potholes and shortcuts and from video surveillance to the urban forest: anything that helps you and others better understand our cities and neighborhoods as places and spaces.”

The walk times are spread out throughout the weekend and the list of walks is as follows:

Saturday May 4 Walks

  • Central District
  • West Seattle Triangle
  • Urban Orchard Walk
  • Greenways, Festival Streets, Transit, and More on Beacon Hill!
  • Pioneer Square, Present and Future (and Past)
  • Exploring the Queen Anne Community
  • Community at Work in Fremont

Sunday May 5 Walks

  • Ballard’s Urban Diversity Celebrates the Past & Present
  • Explore Fauntleroy
  • Explore Rainier Beach
  • Modern and Historical International District
  • The Olmsted Vision

Visit Feet First for more information on times and locations.

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Walking in Seattle: When the Sidewalk is Home

This is a guest post by Ray Lumpp.

When traversing the lush and rugged urban jungle of Seattle, it is not uncommon to meet a person experiencing homelessness. Many of the locals are very used to their presence, and often know the person’s name or story, but because Seattle is a city of transplants, not everyone knows how to interact with these stigmatized and misunderstood people.

If you encounter a homeless person in the street, please do not ignore them. He or she is a human being who deserves dignity and your averted glance will only make him or her feel worthless. Something as small as eye contact or a nod is all it takes. Put yourself in their shoes: those selling Real Change especially are often among the “poorest of the poor,” but at least they are working to change their situation.

If someone asks for money, consider taking them to Starbucks and buying them a sandwich or a coffee (or a gift card). While giving them cash is a personal choice, it may only allow them to continue being homeless rather than seeking a positive path out of the streets. If you have nothing to give, say something nice to brighten their day (at the very least, a simple “Sorry” will do).

Seattle has a longstanding reputation for having a large homeless population, with historically high rates of homelessness compared with its general population (8th highest in the U.S. in 2011). Some believe this is due to being the western “end of the line” for the railroads and I-90, but the truth is that Seattle supports its homeless population quite well through various foodbanks and hygiene centers, as well as temporary shelter or transitional housing.

Vital statistics (from Seattle’s Homeless Needs Assessment in 2009):

  • 70% of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle have been living without shelter for over 1 year; 23% have been living without shelter for over 6 years.
  • Nearly two thirds were living in Seattle (and 19% elsewhere in Washington) when they became homeless.
  • 60% report health conditions requiring professional care (60%)
  • 36% were hospitalized in the past year,
  • 35% reported mental health treatment in the past year, and
  • 31% were taking medications.

If you’d like to do more for people experiencing homelessness, donate clean clothes (especially shoes), books, toys, diapers, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, blankets, or old cell phones to local shelters. Volunteer at a local shelter or homeless advocacy coalition, or make a financial contribution to support their work. Shelters and feeding programs are almost always not-for-profit and run by community members looking to give back: now is your chance.

Ray Lumpp is a writer for AllTreatment.com, a website devoted to helping individuals and families facing addiction and mental health issues in Washington State.

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Hundreds join memorial walk

Seatteites walk for safe streets

Seatteites walk for safe streets

After a collision took the lives of an elderly couple and put their granddaughter and daughter-in-law in critical condition one week ago, hundreds marched in their memory and for safer streets in North Seattle.

The group assembled at Top Pot Doughnuts on 35th Ave NE, which provided free doughnuts and coffee to participants. From there, people followed the path similar to the one that Dennis and Judy Schulte followed before being hit.

The crowd included numerous families walking with their bicycles and strollers, local government representatives like Mayor McGinn and SDOT Director Peter Hahn, as well as walking advocates.

Memorial to victims at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE

Memorial to victims at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE

Some people brought flowers and laid them at the memorial site at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE. The crowd stood on the wide roadway of 75th to pay their respects before heading back to the starting point.

It was a somber occasion and an important reminder of the need for safe streets advocacy as well as a reminder of the fragility and preciousness of human life.

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