Monthly Archive for June, 2011

Feet First blog fills current gap in local walking news

While we’ve been going through a bit of a slow stretch here at Walking in Seattle, Feet First’s new blog has been providing regular reports for pedestrians.

In addition to a weekly “walk around the news”, they have reports on Feet First events, reported on the crosswalk construction at Aurora & 130th, and wrote a commentary on the 520 bridge construction.

Meanwhile, we’re working on an analysis of pedestrian safety statistics as well as looking into opportunities to help pedestrians better organize, and hope to return to more regular blogging soon.


Wallingford Architecture Walk

Via Feet First – there’s a walk this coming Saturday the 11th at 10 am:

Join the Wallingford Community Senior Center and Sustainable Wallingford on the annual Wallingford Neighborhood walk series. Participants of this walk will explore the architecture of homes around the neighborhood.

Join Wallingford Walks on the second Saturday of each month from May through September. The walks vary in distance, duration and theme and will be led by knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the topic and the neighborhood. For more information about upcoming walks, contact Nora Erwin-Stewart by emailing or Katheen Cromp by emailing or by calling 206.-461.7825


Seattle ranked one of the safer US cities for pedestrians

Transportation for America has analyzed pedestrian safety data across the country to rank the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians and Seattle was ranked 46th out of 52.

The Seattle PI’s Traffic and Transportation News blog has a good writeup:

In a news release from Transportation for Washington, Mayor Mike McGinn credits the city’s pedestrian master plan and Complete Streets ordinance, which requires new roads be designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. The city’s Bridging the Gap levy has helped pay for a number of improvements since it was passed in 2006. At the state level, the Legislature this year passed a “Vulnerable User’s” bill, which boosts penalties for negligent drivers who kill or maim bicyclists, pedestrians and other “vulnerable roadway users.”

Still, the report notes that 398 pedestrians were killed from 2000 to 2009 in Seattle’s Metro area.

While traffic deaths have dropped nationally by 27 percent over the last decade, pedestrian deaths have been reduced by less than half that. “Despite the magnitude of these avoidable tragedies, little public attention – and even less in public resources – has been committed to reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in the United States,” according to the report. “On the contrary, transportation agencies typically prioritize speeding traffic over the safety of people on foot or other vulnerable road users.”

Transportation for America also has a searchable and interactive map of pedestrian fatalities.


Open houses for construction projects

An open house is coming up for improvements to Orcas Ave S as well as for the Mercer West Project:

Improvements proposed for Mercer Street from Dexter Avenue N to Elliott Avenue W

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting an open house at Seattle Center, June 8, to talk about the preliminary designs for the Mercer West Project, including the underpass at Aurora Avenue and the two‐way conversion of Roy and Mercer streets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N. In addition, SDOT will show recommendations for West Mercer Place and West Mercer Street, based on the evaluation of alternatives and input from stakeholders. The project team will be available from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Rainier Room (within the Northwest Rooms Plaza) to solicit
ideas from the public and answer questions about current preliminary design concepts for:

– A wider Mercer Underpass at Aurora Avenue North;
– Converting Mercer and Roy Streets from one‐way to two‐way operation;
– And improving intersections, street connections and bike access.

Open House Details:
Seattle Center (at the intersection of Warren Avenue North and West Republican Street)
Northwest Rooms Plaza: Rainier Room
4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

The Mercer West Project would complete the City’s vision for a direct, two‐way connection between I‐5 and Elliott Avenue West, continuing where the Mercer East Project leaves off. The proposed improvements include:
• Widening Mercer between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N, including the underpass at Aurora to provide three lanes in each direction, left‐turn lanes, wider sidewalks, and a bicycle path;
• Converting Mercer Street to two‐way operation with two lanes in each direction and turn pockets between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
• Converting Roy Street to a two‐way street with one lane in each direction and bicycle lanes between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N;
• Creating a new Sixth Avenue N connection between Mercer and Harrison Streets; and;
• Closing Broad Street to re‐connect the street grid between Ninth Ave N and Fifth Ave N.

For more information on the Mercer West Project, visit:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is holding an open house on June 16 to discuss pedestrian improvements proposed for South Orcas Street.

Date: Thursday, June 16
Time: 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Dearborn Park Elementary School
2820 S Orcas Street

A new sidewalk, curb and street trees are proposed for South Orcas Street between Beacon Avenue South and 28th Avenue South. If funding becomes available, these improvements could continue on the south side to 32nd Avenue South. There is also a potential for bicycle improvements.

Also at the meeting, project staff will explain the pedestrian and bicycle programs that are coming to Dearborn Park Elementary School.


Infrastructure improvement updates

Here’s a rundown of current and recently completed SDOT projects that promote pedestrian mobility:


Blocking us from walking: Old red truck

This truck was spotted completely obstructing the sidewalk in Wallingford:
Red truck blocking sidewalk

We’re running a series to point out drivers who obstruct pedestrian mobility in the city. This includes drivers obstructing crosswalks, vehicles parked on sidewalks, delivery trucks blocking intersections, and Metro buses running the light.

Examples of vehicles obstructing pedestrian and bicycle movement are common throughout the city. And, if you’re a driver, you’ve probably found yourself in the wrong position from time to time as well. By calling out the most egregious examples, hopefully we can remind all drivers to be more careful how they use their vehicles.

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