Seattle Roadway Death Dashboard

This dashboard provides a visualization of 299 roadway fatalities that occurred in Seattle from 2002-2011.

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A walker wonders: Best route from ferry terminal to Westlake?

A walker wonders:

Do your readers have the best route (least steep) from the ferry terminal to Westlake? What are the suggestions?

This is a route familiar to many tourists, or locals who have visitors. The vertical gain is over 120 feet between the waterfront, which is basically at sea level, and Westlake Center in the retail core. If you walk along the waterfront and then try to cut over at Pike, Union, or University, you’re faced with over 100 steps to climb. So, what’s a walker to do?

For those in the know, there are some elevators for parking garages near Pike Place Market that bring you from the waterfront up to Western Avenue. There’s still a hill there, or steps to climb, but the elevator cuts out half of the elevation gain.

However, my preference would be to make the uphill climb on foot. The ferry terminal exits to a walkway on Marion St, that will take you over Alaskan Way and Western Ave and straight to First Ave. First Avenue is one of the the best streets to walk along downtown in my opinion, based on the historical buildings, retail options, and its role in connecting Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square. The incline is very gradual on First and if you continue it eventually will take you to Pike or Pine from where the walk to Westlake will be relatively flat.

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Vigil this Monday for teen struck in hit-and-run

15-year-old Trevon Crease-Holden was struck on July 19th at Walden and MLK. The driver fled the scene has yet to come forward. As the teen continues to fight for his life, there will be a vigil walk this Monday, August 5 at 5:30 pm.

More information is available at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways:

The Rainier Valley community is gathering on Monday, August 5 at 5:30pm the QFC on Rainier, 2707 Rainier Ave S, and walking four blocks to the site of the tragedy at MLK and South Walden Street. Trevon’s mother, Quianna Holden and other community leaders intend to speak at the Walden collision site. Representatives from local advocacy organizations and the Seattle Mayor’s Office plan to attend.

Trevon was on his way home with his little brother from a late night open gym at a local community center when they entered a marked crosswalk at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and South Walden Street. A vehicle travelling south on MLK struck Trevon and continued without stopping to provide information or render aid. Seattle Fire Department responded and Seattle Police continue to search for the hit-and-run driver.

Quianna Holden says she can forgive the driver for hitting her son, but she cannot forgive the driver for not coming forward. She went on KIRO TV to make a heartbreaking plea­ for the person responsible to come forward so she can at least have answers. His mother says Trevon is a good son, and a good athlete who hoped to start football this year at Franklin High School.

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Join the Walk Bike Ride Challenge

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s annual Walk Bike Ride Challenge has started. This program gives you a chance to win prizes as you ride the bus, walk, and bike to get around rather than driving. The details are below on how to enter and what you could win:

The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is on! This incentive program by the Seattle Department of Transportation is an opportunity to win great prizes as you try more trips by walking, bike and riding transit. These trips can be any trip you make; not just trips to work. If you convert 24 (or two per week) drive-alone car trips to walking, biking, car/vanpooling or riding transit between June 15 and September 9, you get the chance to win:

  • A brand new bike and helmet from Gregg’s Cycles
  • Family pack tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo
  • $200 REI Gift Card
  • $100 Nordstrom Gift Card
  • $100 Farmers Market gift certificate
  • $150 Zipcar gift certificate
  • Car2Go membership and four hours of driving
  • And more to come!

The more trips you report, the higher the chance you have of winning, so get riding, walking, rolling, and reporting right away! Sign up NOW for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge to create your individual profile, start a neighborhood, workplace, or other type of team (if you like), and invite your friends to join in the fun. You will also be entered in a weekly raffle to win a $20 ORCA card if you get a friend to take the Challenge.

Once you sign up for the Walk Bike Ride Challenge you become part of a community making your neighborhood and Seattle as a whole a more active and better place to live. The Walk Bike Ride Challenge is partnering with Luum this year and using a new on-line platform to track your progress, provide tips, and engage with fellow Challengers. So, what are you waiting for? Get moving, get active, get prizes!

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Feet First to lead free neighborhood walks May 4 & 5

Feet First is leading a series of free neighborhood walks on a May 4 and May 5. These walks are part of Jane’s Walks, a worldwide annual walking event, named for Jane Jacobs, the advocate for livable urban cities.

After the huge success of Stairway Walks Day in February, which had over 250 walkers attending 15 free walks, this event looks to be a hit as well. The walks will be led by Feet First’s volunteer Walking Ambassadors and “the conversation topics are as varied as the people taking part, from art and architecture to potholes and shortcuts and from video surveillance to the urban forest: anything that helps you and others better understand our cities and neighborhoods as places and spaces.”

The walk times are spread out throughout the weekend and the list of walks is as follows:

Saturday May 4 Walks

  • Central District
  • West Seattle Triangle
  • Urban Orchard Walk
  • Greenways, Festival Streets, Transit, and More on Beacon Hill!
  • Pioneer Square, Present and Future (and Past)
  • Exploring the Queen Anne Community
  • Community at Work in Fremont

Sunday May 5 Walks

  • Ballard’s Urban Diversity Celebrates the Past & Present
  • Explore Fauntleroy
  • Explore Rainier Beach
  • Modern and Historical International District
  • The Olmsted Vision

Visit Feet First for more information on times and locations.

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Walking in Seattle: When the Sidewalk is Home

This is a guest post by Ray Lumpp.

When traversing the lush and rugged urban jungle of Seattle, it is not uncommon to meet a person experiencing homelessness. Many of the locals are very used to their presence, and often know the person’s name or story, but because Seattle is a city of transplants, not everyone knows how to interact with these stigmatized and misunderstood people.

If you encounter a homeless person in the street, please do not ignore them. He or she is a human being who deserves dignity and your averted glance will only make him or her feel worthless. Something as small as eye contact or a nod is all it takes. Put yourself in their shoes: those selling Real Change especially are often among the “poorest of the poor,” but at least they are working to change their situation.

If someone asks for money, consider taking them to Starbucks and buying them a sandwich or a coffee (or a gift card). While giving them cash is a personal choice, it may only allow them to continue being homeless rather than seeking a positive path out of the streets. If you have nothing to give, say something nice to brighten their day (at the very least, a simple “Sorry” will do).

Seattle has a longstanding reputation for having a large homeless population, with historically high rates of homelessness compared with its general population (8th highest in the U.S. in 2011). Some believe this is due to being the western “end of the line” for the railroads and I-90, but the truth is that Seattle supports its homeless population quite well through various foodbanks and hygiene centers, as well as temporary shelter or transitional housing.

Vital statistics (from Seattle’s Homeless Needs Assessment in 2009):

  • 70% of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle have been living without shelter for over 1 year; 23% have been living without shelter for over 6 years.
  • Nearly two thirds were living in Seattle (and 19% elsewhere in Washington) when they became homeless.
  • 60% report health conditions requiring professional care (60%)
  • 36% were hospitalized in the past year,
  • 35% reported mental health treatment in the past year, and
  • 31% were taking medications.

If you’d like to do more for people experiencing homelessness, donate clean clothes (especially shoes), books, toys, diapers, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, blankets, or old cell phones to local shelters. Volunteer at a local shelter or homeless advocacy coalition, or make a financial contribution to support their work. Shelters and feeding programs are almost always not-for-profit and run by community members looking to give back: now is your chance.

Ray Lumpp is a writer for AllTreatment.com, a website devoted to helping individuals and families facing addiction and mental health issues in Washington State.

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Hundreds join memorial walk

Seatteites walk for safe streets

Seatteites walk for safe streets

After a collision took the lives of an elderly couple and put their granddaughter and daughter-in-law in critical condition one week ago, hundreds marched in their memory and for safer streets in North Seattle.

The group assembled at Top Pot Doughnuts on 35th Ave NE, which provided free doughnuts and coffee to participants. From there, people followed the path similar to the one that Dennis and Judy Schulte followed before being hit.

The crowd included numerous families walking with their bicycles and strollers, local government representatives like Mayor McGinn and SDOT Director Peter Hahn, as well as walking advocates.

Memorial to victims at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE

Memorial to victims at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE

Some people brought flowers and laid them at the memorial site at NE 75th St and 33rd Ave NE. The crowd stood on the wide roadway of 75th to pay their respects before heading back to the starting point.

It was a somber occasion and an important reminder of the need for safe streets advocacy as well as a reminder of the fragility and preciousness of human life.

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Memorial Walk for Crash Victims – Tomorrow

Last Monday in North Seattle, a woman and her infant were put in critical condition and the infant’s grandparents were killed when struck by a driver with a history of driving under the influence.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has organized a memorial walk to take place one week after the crash – Monday, April 1, at 4pm. The walk will convene in front of Top Pot Doughnuts at 6855 35th NE.

The walk will pay respects to the family, but will also send the message that Seattle needs safer streets. The city has seen too many incidents like this – where neighborhood streets are the setting for car crashes and destroyed lives. The situation on our streets needs to change before something like this happens again.

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Stairway Walks Day this Saturday

This Saturday, February 9, is Stairway Walks Day in the Seattle area. Pedestrian advocacy group Feet First and authors of Seattle Stairway Walks, Jake and Cathy Jaramillo, have partnered to organize a day of 15 different stairway walks.

The event will start at 10 am in 15 different locations as Feet First walking ambassadors will take groups along one of the walking routes featured in Seattle Stairway Walks. The book, published by Mountaineers Books, features 25 walking routes up and down stairways.

Seattle has about 650 public stairways, which is third highest in the country behind Pittsburgh and San Francisco. These stairways are often known only by locals and are a special urban amenity that connect neighborhoods across topographical features that vehicles can’t traverse. This event provides an opportunity to discover new areas and learn some of the history behind this infrastructure that links our city together.

Participation in the walk is free after signing-up online. Several walks have already filled up, but the following have spots still available. Registration closes this coming Friday, so sign up soon.

  • Bellevue: Kelsey Creek
  • Burien: Eagle Landing
  • Deadhorse Canyon (Renton / Rainier Beach area)
  • Eastlake/N Capitol Hill
  • Downtown Seattle
  • Fremont
  • Golden Gardens
  • Lakewood – Seward Park
  • Longfellow/Pigeon Point (West Seattle)
  • Madrona & Leschi
  • Mercer Island

The event is sponsored by Caffe Ladro, which is offering free and discounted coffee to participants.

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A walker wonders: Where can I walk when there are no sidewalks?

A reader sends in a tricky question about walking in Seattle where there are no sidewalks.

I live in the area colloquially called “East Ballard” or “Frelard” (etc). There are many blocks in my area that are relatively industrial in nature and don’t have sidewalks. I rarely drive and often find myself walking on these blocks (they’re hard to avoid…).

I’m wondering if there is technically a public right-of-way between the property line and the roadway for these sorts of properties. In many instances, the area between the roadway and the structure on the property is used for parking, and there is literally nowhere to walk without stepping into the street. This seems wrong to me, just on general principle. But I’m not sure if it’s technically illegal to block what would be the sidewalk if there were actually a sidewalk on the block.

Here’s SDOT’s response:

Yes, it is technically illegal to park in the area that would be a sidewalk (between the curb –or between the edge of the roadway–and the adjacent property line). A width of not less than three feet is generally assumed for this area. (Please see the code below.) Since locations vary, especially in older parts of town, we would need to inspect the area to determine the boundaries in a particular situation.

Parking over the sidewalk area is a common problem on streets with no curbs or sidewalks, and the prohibition of parking in the sidewalk area is difficult to enforce. When a curb is constructed, there is no question regarding the location of the boundary line, and most drivers will respect it. In an industrial area, businesses may be interested in supporting such a project for the safety of their customers and employees as well as for other pedestrians.

Some neighbors have joined together to request Neighborhood Street Funds from the city for this type of improvement. This generally requires strong support from the local community, including residents and businesses.

Seattle Municipal Code 11.14.570 Sidewalk.
“Sidewalk” means that area between the curb lines or the lateral edge lines of a roadway and the adjacent property, intended for the use of pedestrians or such portion of private property parallel and in proximity to a street or alley and dedicated to use by pedestrians. For the purposes of this subtitle, there is always deemed to be a sidewalk not less than three (3)feet in width, whether actually constructed or not, on each side of each street except where there is less than three (3) feet between the edge of the roadway and a physical obstruction which prohibits reasonable use by pedestrians. The sidewalk is located where constructed, or if not constructed, adjacent to the property line or as close thereto as can reasonably be used by pedestrians; provided, that no sidewalk shall be deemed to exist on private property unless it is actually constructed.

To be direct, it’s illegal to park in the area where a sidewalk would be and pedestrians who are not able to walk in the sidewalk area due to parked vehicles can call SPD. For ongoing issues, contact the Parking Enforcement Unit at 206-386-9012. They may be able to come out to investigate the situation and work to correct the issue through new signage or more regular enforcement. For more immediate attention, call SPD’s non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

It’s unfortunate that pedestrians have to compete with drivers for area along the roadway that’s technically not for parking and not really a sidewalk. The Neighborhood Street Fund is one way to have the city build new sidewalks, but is a very competitive process that requires broad community support, which doesn’t come easily in an industrial area. SDOT doesn’t even allow industrial land-owners to fund the construction of a sidewalk by themselves.

With the cost of building all of Seattle’s missing sidewalks estimated at up to $4.5 billion, there’s no realistic solution to create lots more sidewalks. Enforcement of existing laws is the only reasonable option to improve pedestrian accessibility in areas where the infrastructure has been neglected.

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