Tag Archive for 'intersection'

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All intersections legal for crossing

As many of you know, pedestrian crosswalks exist at every interesction in Washington, whether marked or not. But what about T-intersections? And what about odd-angle intersections? And, what about intersections where pedestrians are expressly forbidden? Well, the last one isn’t a legal crosswalk, but the other two are.

According to SDOT:

Legal pedestrian crosswalks exist at every intersection, including three way and odd angle intersections, whether the crosswalk is marked or unmarked. A marked crosswalk normally indicates a preferred pedestrian crossing point which is the safest place for a pedestrian to cross. Perhaps it is a location where lighting or visibility is best among a number of options, or where the potential for pedestrian-vehicle conflicts is lowest.

Safe crossings of streets are dependent upon good driver behavior and good pedestrian behavior. Any situation can become a dangerous one if poor driving or improper pedestrian or driver behavior is involved. While SDOT focuses on both traffic operations and the physical environment, everyone plays a role in pedestrian safety.

So, while three-way intersections and odd-angle intersections may not be particularly common, and while people may not cross at some intersections very frequently, they’re all legal crosswalks.


Improvements to Ravenna intersection

The intersection of NE 55th Street, Ravenna Boulevard NE and 22nd Avenue NE will be seeing some improvements soon. The intersection will be reconfigured to be safer for pedestrians. New pedestrian ramps will be added and the crosswalks will be restriped. SDOT has a PDF of the new design, which also includes a bioswale and new green space. This project is being funded by Bridging The Gap and the Neighborhood Projects Fund.


Vote for the Worst Intersection in Seattle

Note: The winning intersection has been announced.

The nominations are in. In no particular order, here are this year’s nominees for Worst Intersection in Seattle (click on images for map):

  1. Intersection at NE 45th St & 7th Ave NE 7th Ave NE and NE 45th – “The bizarre center-of-the-intersection crosswalk, the fact you have to wait three whole signal changes to cross catty-corner (which nobody does), the fact that it’s the only “safe” crossing of 45th for several blocks headed east (so you end up with mass jaywalking). Just awful.” (nominated by Tom F)
  2. Aurora and cross streets Republican, Harrison, Thomas, and John – “These intersections all suck for not existing, pedestrian-speaking. We have enough geographic barriers to movement in this town, we don’t need to create our own with concrete.” (nominated by Hans)
  3. Eastlake Ave & Fuhrman Ave Eastlake NE and Fuhrman E – “ear-crushing noise off I5, car drivers rushing to turn off or onto the University Bridge, which often means navigating around a ‘oh hey a pedestrian’ car stopped across the pedestrian walkway, which pushes you out into the Bicycle Lane, who in turn have their own troubles with cars failing to yield.” (nominated by Jeremy Mates)
  4. Aurora Ave & Bridge Way exit Bridge Way exit off of Aurora – “Has the most dangerous sidewalk in the city. I believe many people would get hit there were people actually using it. It is a soft turn off of Aurora, so drivers come flying around at 50+ mph. Drivers can’t see if anyone is on the crosswalk and pedestrians can’t see if anyone’s coming toward it. To make matters worse, there’s a two foot drop from the sidewalk to the street, so if you saw a car was coming at the last minute, it wouldn’t be easy to get back to safety. When I’ve walked up Aurora this way, I’ve gone way out of my way to 38th to get back onto Aurora, rather than put my life on the line trying the direct path.” (nominated by NJL)
  5. Mercer St / I-5 on-ramps & Fairview Ave Mercer / I-5 ramps and Fairview – “Basically a 8-lanes of freeway onramp / offramp. Not only can’t you cross Mercer at all on the east side of Fairview, but if you’re on the north side of Mercer, there are no pedestrian signals to cross any street – you’ll have to walk a block back north to cross Fairview at Valley.” (nominated by Troy)
  6. Latona Ave & Pacific St Latona Ave NE and NE Pacific St – Pedestrians have to “dodge cars, large trucks AND bikes at this intersection. The Burke Gilman trail merges with the sidewalk at this intersection so you have large numbers of bikes, many moving fast, that must be avoided by pedestrians. The noise from the I-5 bridge makes any attempt to warn “on your left” impossible to hear. Large trucks entering and leaving Dunn Lumber have a steep hill that they must stop on before pulling across the Burke Gilman trail/sidewalk and turning onto Pacific. Vehicles on Pacific turning south on Latona must not only do the usual checks but also look over their shoulder for fast moving bikes on the Burke Gilman. A mess for all!” (nominated by pat)
  7. Westlake Ave & Valley St Westlake and Valley/Broad – “It is particularly dangerous if you are trying to cross Westlake on the north side of the intersection. It is a soft right turn for people traveling east on Valley and turning onto Westlake, so most don’t slow down at all or bother to consider there might be pedestrians who have the right of way. Also, the cross walk a block up Westlake is mostly useless, as no one ever stops for it.” (nominated by NJL)
  8. Pine St & Boren Ave near Capitol Hill / First Hill Pine and Boren – A very busy pedestrian intersection, with pedestrians exposed to the noise from the freeway below and surrounded on all sides with cars and concrete. “I keep hoping those overpasses are near their end-of-life so they can be replaced with something that buffers the noise, ideally with some vegetation.” (nominated by Tom F)
  9. Fairview Ave & Eastlake Ave Fairview and Eastlake – “The sidewalk vanishes into a parking lot. The parking lot itself is barely distinguishable from the road when it isn’t filled with cars.” (nominated by NJL)

[poll id=”6″]

Update: The winning intersection has been announced.


Nominate your worst intersection in Seattle

Walking in Seattle is going to identify the worst intersection in Seattle, and you’re invited to submit nominations. Once nominations have been received, all readers will be invited to vote for the worst.

The worst intersection could be the most dangerous, or perhaps one with limited pedestrian crossings, poor signaling, or no curbs. Intersections like 23rd & Yesler or 12th & Madison are two intersections that might be worth nominating. Whatever qualifies as your “worst,” suggest it in the comments. The most nominated intersections and intersections with the most persuasive nominations will make it to the voting round.

Update: Time to vote!


First and University intersection should be improved further

The intersection at 1st and University was recently converted to an all-way walk signal, improving pedestrian mobility in the area. However, Dan Bertolet says that’s not good enough:

First and University belongs at the top of Seattle’s list for places where we ought to celebrate urban walkability. The city recently took a positive step in this direction by converting the intersection to a “scramble,” where vehicular traffic is stopped on both streets at the same time, freeing pedestrians to walk in any direction, including diagonally.

With the scramble came the super deluxe new white paint job you see in the photo. When I first saw those truncated diagonal lines I thought they couldn’t possibly be finished, but alas, I have since learned otherwise.

Yes, credit is due to the folks at the city’s transportation department who took the initiative to push the scramble conversion through the bureaucracy. And yes, there are probably arcane city regulations that dictate how intersections can be painted. But c’mon people, is this really the best we can do?

More white lines would be a good start, but what First and University deserves is a full pavement treatment across the entire intersection. Something like the paving on Pine St. between Fourth and Fifth Ave. would be nice, though it wouldn’t have to be that fancy. It just needs to visually distinguish the intersection as place where pedestrians take priority over cars. A raised tabletop would be ideal.

To Dan’s point, the city of Seattle has a special opportunity with this particular intersection. But practically every intersection in the city could be improved further. In this case, at least we have an all-way walk signal, which uses standard striping patterns, even though it may not visually cue drivers to watch out for people walking.

But, with limited funding, is it more important to pay special attention to the intersections that could benefit most from special treatment, or should SDOT focus on addressing the intersections lacking basic infrastructure like sidewalks and curb ramps?

To give credit where it is due, SDOT has done an good job of addressing basic, relatively inexpensive pedestrian needs by striping crosswalks, putting in curb ramps, and adding missing sidewalks.

But, when will they do more than just address basic needs? Will that have to wait for all the basic infrastructure gaps to be fixed?

At some point SDOT is going to have to target more expensive and potentially more controversial improvements like a raised tabletop on 1st and University. And with a pro-pedestrian mayor in place, now seems like a better time than ever.


Crossing improvements planned near Beacon Hill Station

A few months ago, Beacon Hill Blog drew attention to the unsafe conditions at the intersection of Beacon Ave S and Lander St. Since then, they have Beacon BIKES has met with SDOT to design a new crossing to allow pedestrians to cross more safely.


Beacon Hill intersection needs attention

The Beacon Hill Blog writes that the Pedestrian crossing at Beacon and Lander demands attention.

View Larger Map

Since the light rail station opened last summer, the crosswalk at Beacon and Lander has become the busiest on Beacon Hill. The majority of the people exiting the station are headed west to go to the bank, Red Apple, the southbound bus stop, or home. All of these people must cross Beacon, and many get very creative in the process. Because the crossing is way out at the corner and runs diagonally to the corner away from Red Apple and the bus stop, many people choose to just cross through the middle of the street. Because the crosswalk—which now has flashing beacons and signage, but once only had markings on the pavement—is at the intersection with Lander, there is not only north-south traffic moving through but also people turning onto Beacon from Lander. With the long crossing, the multitude of car approaches, and the scurrying light rail riders, it is ripe for an accident.

The post also includes videos of the intersection, showing plenty of close calls between pedestrians and cars. Beacon BIKES! has been working with SDOT to improve this crossing.

If you want to get involved please email me at dsahearn@gmail.com, and attend the next Beacon BIKES! meeting on Monday, June 21, at 6:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.


Dangerous intersections for pedestrians

Fortunately I’ve never seen or been involved in a car/pedestrian accident, but they aren’t uncommon in the city. The P-I has looked into it and ranked the most dangerous pedestrian intersections in the city.

Worst pedestrian intersections

Seattle is one of the few cities can charge a driver with assault for hitting a pedestrian. A pedestrian master plan has been drafted to address some of these safety issues, but budgetary considerations are slowing down progress.

It’s easy to become complacent as a driver or a walker. Walking on the sidewalk can offer a sense of isolation from the road, but these stats show how critical it is to be aware of vehicles.

The Seattle 911 blog has some more details on this subject.