Last 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?