Tag Archive for 'poll'

Campaign supports “All-Way Walk” intersections in Seattle

A new local campaign hopes to improve pedestrian safety at intersections by making all traffic light intersections turn in to “all-way walk”.

An all-way-walk signal allows pedestrians to cross streets in all directions with no vehicle traffic. However, the drawback is that pedestrians have to wait through two light cycles, one for each direction of vehicle traffic.

This group is on Facebook as “Seattle Campaign for Pedestrian-Safe ‘All-Cross/Walk Intersections’.

The city of Denver, as well as parts of San Francisco, have many more all-way walks than Seattle does. The Seattle Department of Transportation installed a couple all-way walks along 1st Ave within the past couple years, to go along with 1st and Pike downtown and Alaska Junction in West Seattle as the more prominent all-way walk intersections in the city.

The campaign says:

This common-sense safety campaign seeks “ALL CROSS/WALK” signal lights at signal light intersections in the city of Seattle.
ALL CROSS/WALK signal light intersections SAVE LIVES.
To help make the ALL CROSS/WALK intersections workable we’re asking the Council & Mayor to authorize the DOT to install NO TURN ON RED DURING PEDESTRIAN WALK TIME signs @ each intersection the DOT changes to all cross/all walk intersections.

ALL WALK/CROSS intersections are a COMMON SENSE, SAFETY FIRST solution to Seattle’s EXTREMELY DANGEROUS INTERSECTIONS . The current system preferred by Seattle’s DOT allows drivers to be moving behind and simultaneous to pedestrians – for pedestrians – especially those with babies, toddlers, children, seniors, the disabled, and the elderly, it’s horrific and frightening.

The group suggests the intersections of 23rd Ave S & Yesler and Madison & Boren as the first two intersections for implementing an all-way walk.

On the other side of the issue, SDOT says that implementing all-way walks would slow down traffic significantly. In fact, SDOT studied 70 signals in the downtown retail core and found that pedestrians and motorists would experience a significant delay at these intersections and at other nearby intersections – and that the delay for buses would be even worse.

For my part, I’m not sure that providing an all-way-walk at all intersections would be reasonable, but there are probably some intersections that would deserve it. Maybe some intersections on Capitol Hill, or the center of the Greenwood business district at 85th and Greenwood Ave N.

What do you think – are there other areas that are deserving? Or should all of them get the all-way walk treatment?

Where should Seattle implement all-way-walk intersections?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share

Vote for the Worst Intersection in Seattle in 2012

The nominations are in and we have a large group of terrible places for peds, cyclists, and motorists who want to get around a safe and comfortable way. Here are this year’s nominees for the Worst Intersection in Seattle (click on images to see map):

  1. Pine St & Boren Ave near Capitol Hill Pine and Boren near downtown – “Dangerous for cyclists and remarkably unpleasant for pedestrians for an intersection that’s unavoidable for the commute of thousands of us.” (nominated by Hans Gerwitz)
  2. Queen Anne Dr / Raye St
    Raye St / Queen Anne Dr / 4th Ave N / 6th Ave N in Queen Anne – “This is a 6-way intersection, controlled by all-way stop signs, with no sidewalks, and is filled with cars. Completely chaotic atmosphere on foot or on a bicycle.” (nominated by Louis)
  3. Broadway Ave / Terrace St
    Broadway and Terrace St in Capitol Hill – “The crosswalk is NOT striped yet it is a busy intersection with people crossing to/from the #9 bus stop for Harborview. Lots of elderly folks too … and drivers WILL NOT STOP for people crossing because they are in too much of a hurry to make the light at Broadway/Boren.” (nominated by Gordon Werner)
  4. 5th Ave / Denny Way
    5th Ave and Denny Way – “My vote is for 5th Avenue and Denny Way. Or as I call it, the 5th Avenue onramp.” (nominated by Ryan on Summit)
  5. Montlake / 520 Montlake and 520 – “It stinks no matter what your mode of transportation. Crowded roads, terrible pavement, many crossings.” (nominated by Mike)
  6. Eastlake Ave / Harvard Ave Eastlake and Harvard – “The trip north isn’t so horrible (relatively speaking), but going south over the University Bridge, then quickly merging into traffic and across two lanes is nightmarish. Cars are dodging backed-up left-turn traffic at Fuhrman, bicycles are moving fast on the downhill with visibility limited by the bridge, and the street is a torn up mess. At least most of the grit from after the snow has been cleared out of the bike lane.” (nominated by Jason)
  7. 15th Ave / John St
    15th Ave and John St – “This intersection is rather bizarre as the street grid on either side of 15th Ave doesn’t match up. John and Thomas (on the other side of 15th) are rather busy arterials that carry two of Metro’s busiest bus routes (8 & 43) plus a huge amount of cars trying to access the neighborhood and Group Health. Typically cars trying to go east to west have to make a right turn on the red light at 15th onto John try speeding around the corner while pedestrians have a walk signal.” (nominated by Chris Mobley)
  8. 37th Ave / Lake Washington Blvd / Harrison St
    37th Ave E & Lake Washington Blvd & E Harrison St – “No crosswalks or other clear intersection markings, limited visibility for and of cars coming up the hill on Lk WA Blvd, most cars speeding. This might seem like an intersection in the boonies, but this is the flattest way to get from Madrona and Leschi to the Montlake Bridge or University Bridge.” (nominated by Maggie)
  9. 35th Ave and Avalon Way 35th Ave SW & Avalon in West Seattle – “Terrible for walking and biking. It has heavy traffic, no bike lanes, badly marked crosswalks, and there has been no sidewalk on the southeast corner for several years.” (nominated by Peter)
  10. 15th / Beacon Ave 15th and Beacon Ave in Beacon Hill – Long light cycles and long crossing distances make for an intersection worth avoiding if you can. (nominated via Twitter by @BeaconBIKES, commentary by Troy)
  11. Lafayette / Spokane Lafayette Ave and Spokane St – Would be a perfect way to access Jefferson Park from the residential area, except there are four lanes of speeding traffic to cross, there is no marked crosswalk, and there is no sidewalk on the south side of the street. (nominated via Twitter by @BeaconBIKES, commentary by Troy)

Which is the worst intersection in Seattle in 2012?

  • 5th Ave and Denny Way (26%, 6 Votes)
  • Raye St / Queen Anne Dr / 4th Ave N / 6th Ave N (22%, 5 Votes)
  • Pine and Boren (17%, 4 Votes)
  • Montlake and 520 (13%, 3 Votes)
  • 35th Ave SW and Avalon (9%, 2 Votes)
  • Lafayette Ave and Spokane St (9%, 2 Votes)
  • 15th and Beacon Ave (4%, 1 Votes)
  • 15th Ave and John St (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 37th Ave E & Lake Washington Blvd & E Harrison St (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Broadway and Terrace St (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Eastlake and Harvard (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

Loading ... Loading ...

Note: Poll will close on April 1st.

Share

Deadly Seattle Street: 23rd Ave

23rd Ave

23rd Ave, another good road diet candidate

Walking in Seattle is looking at deadly streets that may be good road diet candidates. The list included 28 different locations – just a fraction of the 90 locations throughout the city where a pedestrian had been killed between 2001 and 2009.

With four people having been killed in less than one mile of roadway between Yesler St and I-90, Walking in Seattle nominates 23rd Ave as a good road diet candidate. A road diet on 23rd Ave would improve road safety by re-striping the roadway to add a center turn lane and bike lanes, thus slowing vehicle traffic. Pedestrians are much more likely to be killed by a car traveling at 40 mph than by a car traveling at 30 mph.

At 10 pm on January 4, 2008, a 53-year-old female pedestrian was killed at 23rd & Lane in the Judkins Park neighborhood. On May 21, 2009, a 74-year-old man was struck and killed at 23rd & Main at 3 in the afternoon. In 2004, a 57-year-old motorcyclist died at 23rd and S Judkins St. Two years later, in 2006, a 26-year-old police officer was killed at 23rd and Yesler, when a speeding car ran a light.

This particularly deadly section of 23rd has four lanes of vehicle travel, with no sharrows or bicycle lanes and few marked crosswalks. There is also a curve and an incline that limit visibility. The daily traffic volume here is only 13,400 vehicles per day, well below SDOT’s maximum threshold of 25,000 for implementing a lane rechannelization. With the low visibility, low traffic volume, and high number of fatalities, this section of roadway would be an ideal candidate for a road diet that could prevent further death of all roadway users.

Should SDOT implement a road diet on 23rd Ave?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share

Could Seattle support a strong volunteer-run pedestrian organization?

As of 2009, 3% of Seattle commuters bike and almost 8% walk to work. Over 13,000 bikers in Seattle and the region make up the membership of Cascade Bicycle Club, however there’s no organization for pedestrians with that type of membership.

Could an organization dedicated to walking be as successful as Cascade?

Feet First is a walking-focused organization, but they’re not trying to bring pedestrians together on a large scale. They do support walking in the city through their grant-funded safe routes to school program and neighborhood maps.

Perhaps since walking is such a common activity, pedestrians have no group identity the way bikers do and would not join together in such strength. I’m not aware of a large, successful walking organization in any other American city, but the benefits of one could be significant.

A visible, volunteer-led organization could do the following: Lead and coordinate social, educational, and historic walks open to all fellow walkers; Effectively disseminate news and events related to walking to the pedestrian community at large; and Work together as a group to improve conditions for walking.

Walkers around the city could get involved with this organization and partner with existing organizations to support, not replace, an organization like Feet First.

One concept to unite pedestrians into a single pedestrian body focused on the aspects of learning, acting, and walking is outlined in this presentation.

While there may be some interest in a new organization for pedestrians, could an organization like this earn enough support to become “Seattle’s walking body”?

To be successful, this volunteer-run organization would need a dedicated group of leaders and supporters, in addition to partnerships with other organizations. Are there enough walking enthusiasts out there to lead something like this? And enough people who identify as pedestrians to join in support?

This linked survey is intended to gauge interest and support to answer the questions above. Please feel free to distribute this link to others who may be interested and respond to the poll below.

Could a new volunteer organization succeed as "Seattle's walking body"?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share

Should jaywalking laws change?

Pedestrians in Seattle, unlike those in some other American cities, often seem hesitant to jaywalk. While that may show us to be a patient and obedient sort of people, strict obeisance to marked crosswalks can impede pedestrian mobility as broken pedestrian signals add time to pedestrians’ perambulations.

Waiting for light signals adds up to a lot of wasted time and reduces the efficiency of walking compared to other modes of transportation. This seems to conflict with the goal of the city’s Walk, Bike, Ride program to make walking one of the easiest ways to get around.

For what it’s worth, only 1 of 4 city council members who participated in our Q&A clearly denied ever jaywalking.

By voter-approved ordinance, marijauna use is the city’s lowest-priority law to be enforced by the city. Our city council members are willing to admit to jaywalking, but would they admit smoking pot? If jaywalking is something that even our elected officials do, should jaywalking be the new lowest law-enforcement priority?

Or should the laws change? Should we make jaywalking legal unless it obstructs other vehicular movement?

Should jaywalking laws be loosened?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share

What do you dislike most when you’re walking?

Which of the following annoys you the most when you're out walking?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share

Should signal countdowns exceed standard?

Our earlier post about some Seattle crosswalk signals not meeting the federal standard has raised an interesting question. The post points out that most Seattle intersections start the flashing “don’t walk” signal using the old design standard based on a pedestrian crossing at 4 feet per second (fps). SDOT will be changing these signals over the next several years to meet the new standard of 3.5 fps to extend the pedestrian clearance time for people to cross in the pedestrian clearance interval once the “don’t walk” signal starts flashing.

Pedestrian Intervals from MUTCD

Pedestrian Intervals from Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

However, a reader asked, is meeting the standard good enough? “This isn’t about ‘meeting the standard.’ Are we a pedestrian friendly city? If we are, let’s lead and prioritize pedestrian mobility.”

So, should signals in Seattle allow more time for pedestrians to cross once the don’t walk signal starts flashing by, for example, designing for a pedestrian traveling at 3 fps? The drawback to this would be that the walk signal (the only time during which a pedestrian can legally enter the intersection) would be shorter because the don’t walk signal would need to start flashing sooner. The good thing is that people who have started crossing would have even more time to get to the other side before cross-traffic starts moving. And, in reality, people would still cross the intersection after the don’t walk signal has started flashing and they would be given more time to get out of the intersection, though this change might increase the number of people who would be given a citation.

When should the "don't walk" signal start flashing?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

A better solution in my opinion would be for the countdown seconds to be displayed for the duration of the signal, so that even during the walk signal, people know how much time they have to get across. Unfortunately that is expressly against the MUTCD standard. Perhaps this is not recommended because it could give a conflicting message to people who are not used to seeing a walk signal with a countdown.

Anyway, what do you think?

Share

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)

Which is the Worst Intersection in Seattle?

  • 2. Aurora and John/Thomas/Harrison/Republican (no crossing) (25%, 13 Votes)
  • 7. Westlake and Valley/Broad (19%, 10 Votes)
  • 1. 7th Ave NE and NE 45th (13%, 7 Votes)
  • 4. Bridge Way exit off of Aurora (13%, 7 Votes)
  • 5. Mercer / I-5 ramps and Fairview (11%, 6 Votes)
  • 8. Pine and Boren (6%, 3 Votes)
  • 9. Fairview and Eastlake (6%, 3 Votes)
  • 3. Eastlake NE and Fuhrman E (4%, 2 Votes)
  • 6. Latona Ave NE and NE Pacific St (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

Loading ... Loading ...

Update: The winning intersection has been announced.

Share

The longest walk

What is the farthest you've ever walked in Seattle?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share