We’re a few days late to report this, but the mayor has authorized SDOT to move forward with the road diet on 125th St.
The project was originally proposed by SDOT last August, and faced some initial opposition. As a result, SDOT spent additional time reviewing public input and doing further analysis, resulting in a reaffirmation of SDOT’s proposal to change the roadway. SDOT’s recommendation to the mayor re-energized opposition, however the mayor has approved SDOT’s proposal, and the road diet will happen.
The mayor sent a lengthy response to people who had contacted him on the issue, explaining his rationale on the decision. Seattle Bike Blog has reproduced the mayor’s letter in its entirety.
In response to opposition to changes that SDOT has recommended to 125th St NE, Cascade Bicycle club is circulating a petition in support. From Cascade (via Seattle Bike Blog):
NE 125th was chosen for this kind of project because too many drivers speed at over 40 mph – a deadly speed for the most vulnerable users of the road. More than half of collisions cause injuries on this stretch of road for drivers, passengers and bystanders. This is far higher than for most streets in the city. SDOT made the decision to move forward after careful study, and they will continue to collect data on the effectiveness of this safety project.Unfortunately, a group of well-meaning but misinformed people is pressuring our elected leaders to cancel this project. That is why it is so important to show our support for a safer street.
Click here for the petition
SDOT is recommending to move forward with its plan to rechannel the lanes along 125th St to make them safer for everyone, including pedestrians.
This idea had been discussed in August and SDOT has spent the past few months considering input from the public and doing additional analysis. The 85th percentile of traffic currently travels along this 30 mph road at 39 mph. 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.
The project would bring speeds closer to the posted speed limit, make turning on and off the street easier, allow safer crossings by pedestrians and provide dedicated space for bicyclists.
Tom Fucoloro with Seattle Bike Blog has a good writeup on SDOT’s decision to recommend this and on the opposition to the project. The project will delay vehicle travel time during peak hours by only 4-25 seconds, though opponents claim that buses will bottleneck the route. SDOT’s recommendation is currently pending Mayor McGinn’s approval and he will likely do so this month, however the opposition is urging people to call the mayor.