1/3 of Seattle’s pedestrian deaths occur on State and Federal roads

Walking in Seattle has analyzed pedestrian fatality information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the years 2001-2009.

Of the 104 pedestrians that were killed in Seattle during that period, 31 were killed on state or federal highways. While these roadways only cover a small portion of the city, nearly one third of Seattle’s pedestrian fatalities occured there.

By far the deadliest roadway in the city is I-5, with 17 fatalities during the studied period. While most people in their right mind would not consider trying to walk along or across I-5, the freeway cuts a deep path through the city and offers pedestrians no way across for long stretches.

SR-99 / Aurora is the worst state highway in the city, with 7 pedestrian deaths to its name. Other deadly roadways include SR-519 and Lake City Way / SR-522.

While the city of Seattle is responsible for these state highways, funding is not available to re-build these streets as complete streets.

The high rate of fatalities on these roadways is indicative of a few things. While these roads don’t cover a lot of area in the city, they do carry a lot of vehicles, increasing the chances of driver-pedestrian encounters. These highways are also the city’s longest, so they are statistically more likely to show up in a list. More importantly, though, these roadways show a disregard for active transportation. Highways and walkers don’t mix well, as these statistics remind us.

Click here for a searchable map of pedestrian fatalities from Transportation for America.


6 Responses to “1/3 of Seattle’s pedestrian deaths occur on State and Federal roads”

  • Great work. I live just north of LCW, cross it often and frequently see post-freeway driving patterns- fast and close. Crossings are ten blocks apart, no sidewalk for miles on the north side. Like 99, not a great walking route. Send a link of this story around, get some buzz, road diets won’t fly on these jr freeways, but something needs to be done to make them less deadly.

  • I had a quick question. You mention 519 on that list. Is there any definition of what 519 is? At one point, it seemed like 519 was on parts of 4th Ave S, Alaskan Way, and Royal Brougham. With the recent WSDOT project, though, I think the routing changed. Thanks!

  • Posting late but SR 519 originally was a designated “State Route” taking the car-addicts from the end of Interstate 90 (the other end is in Boston) to Colman Dock (Pier 52) keeping in mind that both the Seattle-Winslow and the Seattle-Bainbridge ferries are “Floating State Highways”. It was South on 4th, west on Royal Brougham (crossing the tracks at grade) and then North on Alaskan Way, but using a special pocket lane under the viaduct so that cars could back-up at a light and then be let into the Ferry Dock ticket booth plaza without blocking the “regular” Alaskan Way.

    Of course this has been radically altered by any WashDOT construction in the past decade.

    I think it had to do with some federal requirement that Interstates had to end at State Highways.

  • “Seattle-Winslow and Seattle-Bremerton”


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