Monthly Archive for April, 2011

Mayor approves 125th St rechannelization

We’re a few days late to report this, but the mayor has authorized SDOT to move forward with the road diet on 125th St.

The project was originally proposed by SDOT last August, and faced some initial opposition. As a result, SDOT spent additional time reviewing public input and doing further analysis, resulting in a reaffirmation of SDOT’s proposal to change the roadway. SDOT’s recommendation to the mayor re-energized opposition, however the mayor has approved SDOT’s proposal, and the road diet will happen.

The mayor sent a lengthy response to people who had contacted him on the issue, explaining his rationale on the decision. Seattle Bike Blog has reproduced the mayor’s letter in its entirety.

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What to do when someone parks on the sidewalk

Asphalt sidewalk used for parking

Vehicle parked on asphalt sidewalk

Feel free to program these numbers for the Seattle Police Department into your phone in case you run into any conflicts with parked vehicles on your next walk.

  • For ongoing issues, contact the Parking Enforcement Unit at 206-386-9012 and they will come out and investigate what is going on and work to correct the issue through new signage or more regular enforcement.
  • For issues that may need more immediate attention, you can call SPD’s non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.
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Parking on any portion of sidewalk illegal

Just in case anyone was wondering, it’s illegal to park your vehicle on any portion of the sidewalk, even where the sidewalk intersects with your driveway. This applies to motorcycles and mopeds, not just cars. From the Seattle PI’s 911 blog:

It’s illegal to be parked on any portion of the sidewalk, Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan said.

He cited section 11.72.360 of the Seattle Municipal Code, which states: “No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle on or over a sidewalk, whether constructed or not.”

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Q & A with Feet First Executive Director Lisa Quinn

Lisa QuinnWalking in Seattle is running a series to showcase the perspectives of prominent walkers in the city. This week’s Q&A is with Lisa Quinn, Executive Director of the pedestrian advocacy organization Feet First:

Walking in Seattle: Can you summarize what your organization does for pedestrians?

Lisa Quinn: Feet First is the only non-profit, pedestrian advocacy organization promoting walkable communities throughout Washington State. We help people take steps to create better places to live, learn, shop, work, and play – a world that cares about health, community and design. We develop Safe Routes to School programs, create Neighborhood on Foot walking maps, conduct walking audits, develop a statewide pedestrian safety curriculum, coordinate walking ambassadors, support active transportation policies, both locally and in Olympia.

Walking in Seattle: Where is your favorite place in the city go for a walk?

Lisa Quinn: I live in Ballard, and I love walking around my neighborhood. I frequent the farmers’ market on Sundays and make my way to the Locks and Golden Gardens.

Walking in Seattle: What do you like most about walking in the city of Seattle?

Lisa Quinn: Growing up in the ‘Inland Empire’ outside of Los Angeles, living here is like living in a postcard. And even after 12 year of living in the PNW, I still appreciate the natural beauty–especially on sunny days! I like lots of things about walking in Seattle. Surrounded with water, mountains and a beautiful city skyline Seattle gives a warm invitation to get out an explore places by foot.

Walking in Seattle: What is the top thing you’d like to see improved for walking in the city of Seattle?

Lisa Quinn: I would like the city’s budget to support its goal to be the most walkable city in the nation. While I am fortunate to walk safely and comfortably to the store, bus, library and to a friend’s house, there are a lot of people in Seattle who do not have the same ability. This is a huge equity issue. Putting people first should be a priority when developing new capital improvements. Until we see a serious shift in how city department budgets are approved, we might be shooting ourselves in the foot, as these projects can have the tendency to undermine pedestrian improvements.

Walking in Seattle: One last question – be honest, do you wait for the Crosswalk light?

Lisa Quinn: I do wait for crosswalk signal….I guess that makes me a true Seattlelite.

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Mayor walking for health

The mayor is taking a lead in supporting healthy lifestyles and outlines a few things the city is doing to address public health concerns, several of which support walking:

Walk, Bike, Ride: We launched an update to the Transit Master Plan that will take a 20-year look ahead to the type of transit system required to meet Seattle’s needs through 2030. In 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will do projects in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans including 15 miles of bike lanes and sharrows, 20 miles of bicycle routes, re-marking 300 crosswalks, and 10 blocks of new sidewalks. focuses on creating great places in neighborhoods. Additional placemaking efforts will be integrated into urban design frameworks and include finding a solution to the Martin Luther King and Rainier intersection that enables buses, cars and pedestrians to move efficiently through the area, neighborhood plan updates as the Linden Avenue North Complete Streets project continues to take shape, and identifying the improvement necessary to make Metro’s new Rapid Ride corridors to Ballard and West Seattle walkable and comfortable for transit riders.

Encouraging Safe Routes to School: In 2011, SDOT will make the following improvements at 14 schools: four school-zone beacons, six signage improvements, new curb bulbs to improve pedestrian crossings at three locations, and sidewalk repair or maintenance at Concord Elementary and Van Asselt Elementary.

Creating great places: In 2011, we will work on land use and transportation changes near King Street station by developing a hub design strategy, pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding, streetscape improvements and bike parking. These projects will occur around light rail stations and King Street station in order to better make our transit hubs a part of our neighborhoods. And that helps make our communities more walkable.

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Help make 12th Ave E safer

From Capitol Hill Seattle:

Walking on 12th Avenue East between E Madison and E Prospect could get easier and safer soon. At least that is the hope of the Capitol Hill Community Council, which has been awarded a $17,000 from the Department of Neighborhoods for the 12th Avenue East Transportation Safety Initiative. But it’s a matching grant, so people will need to volunteer their time and effort to match the cash.

People interested in helping are urged to attend the CHCC’s meeting at 7 PM April 21 in the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House. If you can’t make the meeting, email the council at chcc.officers@gmail.com.

Click here for more info from Capitol Hill Seattle

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Stairway Walk in Fremont

If you’re looking for somewhere to walk this week to take advantage of the mostly sunny weather in the forecast, Seattle Stairway Walks shares a route through Fremont:

In 120 years of existence Fremont has undergone a long series of economic and social upheavals, played out in a tiny yet complicated geography of just 1.4 square miles. Out of this crucible has emerged a neighborhood with more color, energy and visual interest than perhaps any other in Seattle.

The Ship Canal marks the southern border of Fremont, and its lowest elevation. The terrain rises to the north, jumping from one small hill to another in the direction of Phinney Ridge. Where there are hills there are often stairways, and this walk traverses many of them. You’ll start with a short stroll along the wonderful 18-mile long Burke-Gilman Trail, which runs alongside the Ship Canal on its way through Fremont. Turning away from the canal and trail you’ll head north, climbing gradually up residential streets and stairways to Fremont Peak Park, near the northern limits of the neighborhood. After enjoying the park’s stunning views you’ll head back, exploring a charming series of stairs and narrow lanes along the eastern side of the neighborhood.

Click here to read more.

If you’d like to continue exploring Fremont, or walk it on more level ground, our Walking in Fremont walking route takes you through downtown Fremont.

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Q & A with City Council Member Sally Bagshaw

Walking in Seattle is starting a new series to showcase the perspectives of prominent walkers in the city. Our first Q&A is with Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council Member, downtown resident, and frequent walker:

Walking in Seattle: Where is your favorite place in the city go for a walk?

Sally Bagshaw: I have walked to work every day since 2000. I walk the Waterfront, to our Parks, to our Seattle Center, and I walk around downtown every day. My office is only 8 blocks from my condo. A couple weeks ago when my office was having a pedometer-based walking challenge, I walked from downtown to the Metro Theaters in the University District so I could a) get over 15,000 steps and b) see what was going on in South Lake Union construction.

Walking in Seattle: What do you like most about walking in the city of Seattle?

Sally Bagshaw: The trees, the flowers, my neighbors, the clean air, our parks. And of course, exercise! I don’t run anymore, so aside from a round of golf, long walks are my favorite life-extending exercise.

Walking in Seattle: What is the top thing you’d like to see improved for walking in the city of Seattle?

Sally Bagshaw: My favorite question of all! I want to make the Lake to Bay Loop a reality. We are going to do this. We –to my delight– received money from the Feds to build our pedestrian/bike overpass over Elliott and the railroad tracks to connect the Waterfront to the Seattle Center. The RFPs went out this spring and I believe the contractor has been selected.

Also — working with our Parks Department and with our Parks Foundation I want to connect our Parks like Olmsted’s String of Pearls idea. I also want to create more Pedestrian Green Streets like 8th Avenue downtown where people can enjoy a long walk with widen sidewalks, trees, art, benches, pedestrian lights, good cafes along the way, and a vibrant local community. I’d like traffic to slow down a few m.p.h. to make our downtown safer. These are my goals for my Parks and Seattle Center Committee and I am really excited to be a part of this.

Walking in Seattle: One last question – be honest, do you wait for the Crosswalk light?

Sally Bagshaw: I do –most of the time — out of shame and the prospects of getting busted. But I will confess that at night when I’m walking home alone after dark I keep moving. I watch traffic carefully and I bolt across when it’s safe to do so.

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What do you dislike most when you’re walking?

Which of the following annoys you the most when you're out walking?

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2009 Pedestrian Collision Statistics

SDOT recently released their 2009 Traffic Report, which shows that there were 479 pedestrian collisions in Seattle that year. This was the first full year of data since SDOT began implementing recommendations from the Pedestrian Master plan, and the number of pedestrian collisions per capita dropped to the lowest level since 2004. Pedestrian collisions have increased over the past 10 years, but not at a greater rate than the population.

There were 24 fatalities on Seattle’s roads in 2009, and 11 of the people killed were pedestrians. This ties with 2003 for the most pedestrians killed in a year during the decade. Most of the fatalities occurred on major arterials and most were at intersections.

Another interesting fact is that the Seattle Police Department issued 1,274 citations for “pedestrian infractions”, which I can only interpret as things like jaywalking. They issued only 409 citations to drivers for not yielding the right of way to pedestrians. There were, however almost 30,000 citations issued to drivers in 2009, more than 20,000 of which were for speeding.

The main contributing factor in 45% of collisions was the driver’s failure to yield the right of way to the pedestrian and in 58% of collisions the pedestrian was not at fault. However, that means that in 42% of collisions there is something the pedestrian did to contribute to the crash. The most common thing was that the pedestrian was outside of the crosswalk. In several cases the person on foot disregarded the stop light or did not grant the right of way to the vehicle.

There was one instance of a pedestrian being hit apparently while sleeping.

Most collisions happened between 5-6 pm. The months with the most pedestrian collisions were November, December, and January, which accounted for over a third of the year’s collisions.

The statistics also show that people aged 5 through 24 account for a disproportionately high number of injuries.

The report shows pedestrian accidents throughout the city, with the majority occurring near downtown. Arterials like Rainier Ave, Madison, Lake City Way, and 15th Ave NE had several collisions each.

Tom Fucluoro has written two great write ups – one on Capitol Hill Seattle and the other on Seattle Bike Blog. Or, browse the report below to see more data:

2009 Traffic Report

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