Tag Archive for 'safety'

Page 2 of 5

City says no light signal for ped collision hotspot

Capitol Hill Seattle reports on a dangerous intersection for pedestrians. An elderly man was recently hit at Pine & Boylston, as one of a few pedestrians who have been hit at that intersection over the past couple years.

SDOT studied the intersection but has indicated that a traffic signal isn’t the best solution. Spokesperson Rick Sherdian says, “Although this location did not meet the criteria for a signal, SDOT will study the types and causes of the collisions that have occurred at this location and determine what other traffic devices or methods could improve safety here.”

Sheridan explains the process that SDOT will go through in evaluating this intersection.

SDOT’s evaluation will review sight lines, markings, signs, pavement condition, time-of-day patterns, day-of-week patterns, bus zone placement, traffic volumes, distance to traffic signals and field observations. We will also study collision reports for any patterns of contributing pedestrian or motorist behavior. Given our significant workload, SDOT aims to complete this by year’s end.

That’s a long time to wait for a solution to be identified, but hopefully SDOT can address this problem before someone else is injured.


StreetZaps organizing “Seattle Remembers Sammy” benefit

StreetZaps is an organization aiming to increase awareness and reduce risk of electrical issues that can endanger pets and others while walking.

Last Thanksgiving, Sammy was killed by an electrical charge from an ungrounded light fixture on a Queen Anne street. The organization is currently trying to stage a benefit for owner Lisa McKibben in memory of Sammy.

The benefit is being scheduled for October. If you are interested in helping, advertising, or contributing silent auction donations to benefit Seattle Humane Society and Seattle Animal Shelter, please contact Blair Sorrel, the organizer behind StreetZaps, at blair@streetzaps.com.

For more information about avoiding the dangers of ungrounded electrical currents, keep reading:


Blair Sorrel, Founder

Contact voltage is a chronic hidden hazard that can readily victimize an unsuspecting dog, walker, or both. No dog lover could possibly observe a more horrifying scene than witnessing his beloved pet instantaneously maimed or tragically electrocuted. When you exercise your pooch, please exercise greater prudence. Common outdoor electrical and metal fixtures may shock or even kill your vulnerable dog. And depending upon the current, the walker will be bitten and like poor Aric Roman, suffer permanently. But you can, indeed, self-protect.

Just start to adopt this simple strategy — EYEBALL THE BLOCK, AND AVOID A SHOCK. Take a few seconds and make your trajectory toward generally safer, free standing, non-conductive surfaces, ie., plastic, wood, cardboard. Intuit your dog’s cues and if it’s resistant, change directions. Work site perimeters may be live so try to elude them. If necessary, switch sides of the street or your hands when leading to skirt hazards. If you traverse the same route, you may memorize locations of potential dangers. Carry your pooch when in doubt. Consider indoor restroom products like PottyPark when external conditions are chancy or RopeNGo’s hardware-free leash and harness. And don’t rely on dog booties as a palliative as they will actually
put your pet at even greater risk since the dog can’t tell you they’re leaking! To learn to more, please see StreetZaps. A safer walk is yours year round if you are willing to open to your eyes and mind to it.


Seattle ranked one of the safer US cities for pedestrians

Transportation for America has analyzed pedestrian safety data across the country to rank the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians and Seattle was ranked 46th out of 52.

The Seattle PI’s Traffic and Transportation News blog has a good writeup:

In a news release from Transportation for Washington, Mayor Mike McGinn credits the city’s pedestrian master plan and Complete Streets ordinance, which requires new roads be designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. The city’s Bridging the Gap levy has helped pay for a number of improvements since it was passed in 2006. At the state level, the Legislature this year passed a “Vulnerable User’s” bill, which boosts penalties for negligent drivers who kill or maim bicyclists, pedestrians and other “vulnerable roadway users.”

Still, the report notes that 398 pedestrians were killed from 2000 to 2009 in Seattle’s Metro area.

While traffic deaths have dropped nationally by 27 percent over the last decade, pedestrian deaths have been reduced by less than half that. “Despite the magnitude of these avoidable tragedies, little public attention – and even less in public resources – has been committed to reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in the United States,” according to the report. “On the contrary, transportation agencies typically prioritize speeding traffic over the safety of people on foot or other vulnerable road users.”

Transportation for America also has a searchable and interactive map of pedestrian fatalities.


Roadways safer than ever in 2010 but not safe enough

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that there were fewer traffic fatalities in 2010 than any year on record. SDOT Blog shares how the Seattle Department of Transportation works to make streets safer:

SDOT frequently partners with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to help improve safety on Seattle streets. We are currently working with the Commission on the Aurora Traffic Safety Project which, as previously reported, has been able to reduced collisions on Aurora Avenue North by more than 20 percent in the past year. From 2006 to 2008, SDOT and the Traffic Safety Commission partnered on the Rainier Corridor Traffic Safety Project which improved safety on Rainier Avenue in Southeast Seattle. SDOT also seeks Traffic Safety Commission grants annually to fund school zone flashing beacons. Flashing beacons have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to improve safety in school zones and can currently be found at more than 35 Seattle schools.

There is still a long way to go to reach Target Zero, a goal shared by transportation agencies in Washington state. SDOT encourages everyone to follow traffic laws and try to get around safely, but many roads in the city are still unsafe by design. Of all roadway users, pedestrians are most likely to die in a collision and dozens have been killed in the past five years. Asking drivers to slow down isn’t going to fix everything. To take safety seriously, SDOT needs to focus on designing roadways safer.

One way to do that is to continue implementing road diets where possible and looking at other ways to slow drivers down. 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. Look at the map of pedestrians killed in the past five years and take note of the streets where pedestrians have been killed. How many of these fatalities happened on a street with at least two lanes of traffic in one direction?


Help make 12th Ave E safer

From Capitol Hill Seattle:

Walking on 12th Avenue East between E Madison and E Prospect could get easier and safer soon. At least that is the hope of the Capitol Hill Community Council, which has been awarded a $17,000 from the Department of Neighborhoods for the 12th Avenue East Transportation Safety Initiative. But it’s a matching grant, so people will need to volunteer their time and effort to match the cash.

People interested in helping are urged to attend the CHCC’s meeting at 7 PM April 21 in the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House. If you can’t make the meeting, email the council at chcc.officers@gmail.com.

Click here for more info from Capitol Hill Seattle


All the sidewalks in the world don’t protect us from this

Drunk drivers are a menace to pedestrians, bicyclists, other drivers, and private property. But, to the legal system, well, maybe DUI isn’t really that big of a deal. As reported in the Times this morning:

Last year, when Dwight David Benson was sentenced to an exceptional three-year jail term for his 12th drunken-driving conviction, he promised to “never drink and drive again.”

Last weekend — while free on bond pending an appeal of that sentence — the 64-year-old Benson crashed another car, apparently while drunk.

So after 12 drunk-driving convictions, a three year sentence was an exceptionally high sentence, and the offender was bailed out last June on appeal. Well, at least he’s probably going to lose that appeal now. Who knows how many other people like this are out there, so this is a good reminder to look both ways when you cross.


Dangerous pedestrian profiles

Puget Sound Transit Operators profiles people on foot who put themselves and others in danger.

There are a few select folks out there who engage in behaviors on a day to day basis. They can turn something as simple as walking down the street into Mr. Magoo’s wild ride – at least for those around them. These folks seem to stroll on oblivious to their surroundings to such a degree that it is really up to everyone else to get out of the way, go around, and otherwise look out for the personal safety of the Other in a way they seem unwilling to do for themselves.

Do you fit any of these descriptions?

The Sampson

As the mythical Sampson had the strength to fell pillars, so does the Pedestrian Other Sampson (POS) believe themselves as strong. The POS will walk between buses parked only a couple of feet apart in downtown streets, apparently believing that if one should roll forward (or another back) that they will simply hold out their arms a-la the long-haired one, and push both vehicles away as they continue their journey across the middle of the street (where no other hazards await them, surely). The POS is often observed at more narrow points where buses bunch by design, such as the island stop at 4th Avenue South and South Jackson north-bound.

Click to read more.


Comments on pedestrian rights and responsibilities

A driver struck a pedestrian on Yesler a few days ago. The pedestrian did not have life-threatening injuries. However, the more interesting part of this is the many general comments on pedestrians rights at Central District News. A few excerpts below.

From gds:

I hope that the City takes this as an opportunity to do something about the cars that fly down Yesler in total disregard of the pedestrians trying to cross the street. I’ve almost been hit a few times, and seen it happen to others. While the crosswalk at 20th helps, I think we need a better solution.

From David:

I’m a responsible driver and I follow the rules. I’d like to think I’m doing my part to keep the road safe. For sake of argument, please allow me to place you in the shoes of the type of pedestrian against which I raise my complaint.

How are you treating me by imposing your will on me as a driver when you disregard the rules? How are you treating me when you willfully create a stressful and terrifying situation by jumping out in front of my car? I’d argue, you’re not treating me very well at all, all for the sake of saving yourself 30-60 seconds.

From LizWas:

people walking against a light at an intersection are still jaywalking and being irresponsible and unsafe. it’s so irritating! on the flip side, i work downtown and see cars running red lights daily. i have almost been hit numerous times. thankfully a more watchful pedestrian has pulled me back or called to get my attention when someone was running a red light. ridiculous. they’re (literally) going to kill someone.

I think all the east/west roads Union, Yesler, Jackson, specifically have become increasing dangerous. It’s the drivers and sure, sometimes it’s the pedestrians, aren’t paying attention .. and people drive very, very fast and many don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and also at corners. It is a huge problem for those of us who walk as well as those of us who drive as it forces pedestrians to foist themselves out into traffic. The city needs to address this in an aggressive way.

From Dennis:

I walk my dog every morning when people are going to work. I cross Jackson and Yesler at 30th and 29th. It is very rare for cars to stop for me when I am clearly waiting to cross at the intersection.

I have mixed feelings about this. If it’s pouring and cold, it can mke me a bit crabby. But if a line of cars going uphill stop for me, they all burn extra gas as they resume movement. My dog and I, standing on the corner, do not have much of a carbon footprint! So what’s better?

From mommywhowalksAND drives:

The law is pretty simple for the driver… stop for pedestrians…. in MARKED & UNMARKED crosswalks. Not if you feel like. Or if you are not in a hurry. STOP. For pedestrians in crosswalks.

My sister & her husband in Beaverton OR BOTH got ticketed in a “failure to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks STING” and gladly took the tickets and the lesson.

Seattle PD could seriously raise awareness with periodic emphasis patrols and ticketing @ most dangerous intersections.

Comment from C:

I drive from MLK and Yesler to 6th and Yesler twice a day most days, and 4 times a day on Thursdays and Fridays. I have done this for 15 years. I echo what David said so well, “I’ve been exposed to a Seattle culture that seems assume that if you’re on foot or on a bicycle, heaven forbid if a law or ordinance should ever apply to you. I don’t think it contributes well to mutual safety for any of us.” If someone is standing at a corner waiting to cross, I stop, no matter what. This is because my brother was hit crossing the street 20 years ago, suffered a brain injury, and made me acutely aware of how breakable the human body is. I’m careful. I don’t want to hit anyone with my car. But the jaywalkers and bikers give me heart palpitations. FREQUENTLY as I near the library, jaywalkers – mostly young people. As I pass the old folks’ home, jaywalkers – mostly ladies in ethnic garb jaywalking after seeing their kids off on the bus. When I get to projects, jaywalkers – mostly elderly ladies (one who was hit by a car recently), and kids. At the Yesler overpass, jaywalkers galore – many of them employees from Harborview parking on the overpass then jaywalking across it. And all the way down Yesler there are bicyclists don’t obey traffic laws at all! They’re on the wrong side of the road, at night, wearing all black, or going against the light, weaving in and out. It’s like a human obstacle course. I agree with David that there is a bizarre culture of “I’m not in a car, I dare you to run me over.” It’s insane.

More here.


Bill would allow cities to lower speed limit more easily

Seattle Bike Blog discusses a bill in Washington State’s legislature that would make it easier for cities to set non-arterial speed limits at 20 miles-per-hour.  Currently, cities are required to perform an engineering study in order to lower speed limits.  As Seattle Bike Blog reports, pedestrians hit at 20 mph have a 5% of dying, whereas the likelihood of dying after being hit at 30 mph is 40%.


Pedestrian safety laws being enforced downtown

Enforcement actions have begun downtown to keep pedestrians safe as part of the Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

As part of the Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign, targeted enforcement efforts by the Seattle Police Department will occur at high collision locations in the Center City area from December 29, 2010, to January 19, 2011.

The main goal of enforcement is to deter unsafe behavior by drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, and to encourage people, whether they are driving or walking, to obey traffic laws and share the road safely. The effort will not detract from other policing duties or require additional funding, but will be part of the regular duties of the Seattle Police Department’s Traffic Section.

Drivers and pedestrians are both at risk of being cited for breaking any of these laws:

SMC 11.66.060 Blocking intersections and crosswalks
No person who is responsible for the operation of any railroad train or car shall stop the same within an intersection or on a crosswalk except to avoid accident or upon direction of a peace officer.

SMC 11.53.400 Further limitations on overtaking and passing
Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle. (RCW 46.61.235(4))

SMC 11.50.270 “Walk” pedestrian-control signal
Pedestrians facing a walking person symbol signal may cross the roadway in the direction of the signal. If pedestrians have begun to cross a roadway while facing such a signal, all approaching vehicle operators shall stop to allow them to complete their crossing.

SMC 11.50.280 “Don’t walk” pedestrian-control signal
Pedestrians facing a steady or flashing hand symbol signal shall not enter the roadway, but if pedestrians have begun to cross before the display of either signal, vehicle operators shall stop to allow them to complete their movements.

It’s good to see enforcement like this, even if it is only for a small part of the year.