Tag Archive for 'dark'

More support for pedestrian safety campaign

Since our article on SDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign, more local blogs have spoken out in defense of the controversial campaign, including PubliCola, Seattle Transit Blog, and Seattle Bike Blog.

Here’s a dancing, umbrella flash mob, using umbrellas as part of the safety awareness campaign:

Following this, King 5 reported that a local business owner wants to know why we didn’t have a dancing, street-shoveling flash mob to clean up the snow. (that’s a joke)

Seriously, though, SDOT is getting their $47,000 out of this safety awareness campaign. While some people may criticize it, more people know about the campaign and the safety umbrellas than would have been possible without mainstream media coverage. Even if it’s the umbrellas that are receiving all the attention, people across the city are now more aware of the risks to people on foot. Whether that awareness translates to safer driving and fewer collisions downtown, however, remains to be seen.


SDOT’s pedestrian safety initiative critcized

SDOT is working to make downtown safer for pedestrians during the dark winter months as part of their Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign. There are more pedestrian collisions during the winter months as shoppers rush around dark downtown streets.

One way they are doing this is by providing bright umbrellas for pedestrians downtown to borrow. The umbrellas make people more visible to drivers and also serve as a visual reminder of the safety campaign, which also will use advertisements, posters, and other ways of getting people to think about safety.

However, some people aren’t happy with the campaign and feel that the $47k that SDOT is spending to reduce the risk of collisions would have been better spent on snow removal or in myriad other ways.

While the region’s response to Snowpocalypse 2010 (also known as snOMG) was underwhelming, the factors that contribute to Seattle’s snowpocalyptic tendencies are greater than what SDOT can solve, even if they took money away from safety initiatives like this.

It’s easy to second-guess how money is spent, but it’s not as easy to keep pedestrians safe in the street. This Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign takes a relatively small amount of money ($47,000 or 0.00015%0.015% of SDOT’s budget) and uses it to help stop collisions and potentially save lives.

SDOT makes a strong argument in support of the campaign:

So, as highlighted in Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan, changing behavior is one of the keys to making everyone safer, especially when traveling around downtown. It’s convincing pedestrians to look before entering the crosswalk and getting drivers to be more aware of people walking.

Some have argued that trying to change driver and pedestrian behavior is a waste of time and resources. However, to create a walkable city we must use all available tools to reduce the number and severity of crashes. That means engineering improvements, enforcement and education. Our campaign this year includes bus ads, posters, stickers, displays for merchants, umbrellas, publicity events and public service announcements. The money we are investing in this pedestrian awareness campaign is worth it if we prevent one collision or save one life.