The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that there were fewer traffic fatalities in 2010 than any year on record. SDOT Blog shares how the Seattle Department of Transportation works to make streets safer:
SDOT frequently partners with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to help improve safety on Seattle streets. We are currently working with the Commission on the Aurora Traffic Safety Project which, as previously reported, has been able to reduced collisions on Aurora Avenue North by more than 20 percent in the past year. From 2006 to 2008, SDOT and the Traffic Safety Commission partnered on the Rainier Corridor Traffic Safety Project which improved safety on Rainier Avenue in Southeast Seattle. SDOT also seeks Traffic Safety Commission grants annually to fund school zone flashing beacons. Flashing beacons have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to improve safety in school zones and can currently be found at more than 35 Seattle schools.
There is still a long way to go to reach Target Zero, a goal shared by transportation agencies in Washington state. SDOT encourages everyone to follow traffic laws and try to get around safely, but many roads in the city are still unsafe by design. Of all roadway users, pedestrians are most likely to die in a collision and dozens have been killed in the past five years. Asking drivers to slow down isn’t going to fix everything. To take safety seriously, SDOT needs to focus on designing roadways safer.
One way to do that is to continue implementing road diets where possible and looking at other ways to slow drivers down. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 40 mph is 85% likely to die, whereas a pedestrian struck at 30 mph has a 45% chance of death. Look at the map of pedestrians killed in the past five years and take note of the streets where pedestrians have been killed. How many of these fatalities happened on a street with at least two lanes of traffic in one direction?