Post navigation

Prev: (01/15/11) | Next: (01/16/11)

Pedestrian struck by car at East Olive Way and Melrose

A significant medic response was dispatched to East Olive Way and Melrose Ave late Saturday night after a person was struck by a vehicle in an incident described via Seattle Fire radio as a “severe impact.” We’re still gathering details but a medic and police response closed Melrose Ave at East Olive Way after the 10:15 PM collision. It is not yet clear where at or near the intersection the person was struck.

The victim was transported to Harborview with serious injuries.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

38 thoughts on “Pedestrian struck by car at East Olive Way and Melrose

  1. I hate crossing Olive there. it’s dangerous enough with the folks coming off the freeway, but adding the others coming down the hill to go north on the freeway and it’s slightly more dangerous than a game of Frogger.

  2. Completely agree. I have trouble thinking of an intersection on the hill more unaccommodating for people on foot than this one.

  3. I live just above this intersection and work downtown. I was hit in 2008 crossing Bellevue on foot, by a driver in a car that didn’t see me. I froze when I realized I was about to be hit (I couldn’t believe it). I wasn’t physically hurt, because he heard me screaming and saw me (then took off). To get to my office I have to somehow get from Cap Hill over I-5. Every day I wonder if that’ll be the day I get flattened. If I look at oncoming traffic, to assess whether it’s safe, I see cars coming at me and the adrenaline starts to flow. Then I freeze up again. I tell myself it’s the price of living in a city…but is it? This is a particularly dangerous bit of roadway for anyone on foot or bike. I’m careful, I cross on the light when I legally have the right of way, I respect the greater power of cars and watch out for them as best I can. I also am committed to living a physically active lifestyle and walking as much as possible. In 2008, greatly disturbed by being hit, I called City Hall to report the incident and ask about improvements to the intersection. The person taking calls was super nice and empathetic but (and this is my understanding): the city has to weigh all the complaints they get about incidents, and decide what intersections are dangerous enough to merit improvements. The way this is decided is “report of incidents/fatalities”. I was pretty bummed. My understanding is that more people have to be injured and/or die before something would be done. Does anyone know anything about this? Anyone else called the city to report this as a danger area?

  4. When you design a street to be a continuation of the freeway, pedestrians tend to not be very well accommodated. Or even tolerated. I wish this exit had stayed closed, no matter whether or not the driver of this car was entering or exiting I-5.

  5. It’s too bad that this is an instance in which a lot of drivers feel it is okay to not follow the law. I see it on the hill more times than I can count, each day. Most people just have too many important things to do so they cannot stop at an intersection, especially ones that are not marked, but take it away RCW 46.61.235:

    “The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.”

  6. The part that says don’t be a dumb ass and jump in front of a car (which happens to be a subsection of the law)? Because most people aren’t stupid enough to try to die while crossing the street. Thus, this rarely happens, but you could probably count at least 60 drivers an hour not obeying the first (and main) part of the law at any main intersection on the Hill on any given day.

  7. Here is the text of that subsection for interest of being impartial:

    “(2) No pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.”

  8. Oiseau,

    We are not talking about most people, we are talking about people on Capitol Hill. I can’t comment on their intelligence so we can leave that up to you.

    Most drivers aren’t stupid enough to run down a pedestrian. Please note that I used the word “most” as you did. Not sure how accurate the statistic you are using is.

  9. Pedestrians don’t want to be hit by cars. We don’t need any subsection of municipal code to tell us not to walk in front of cars. But the section about being “so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop” does not mean if I am standing waiting to cross that all drivers should keep driving and assume I will cross the street when they are done. These drivers are breaking the law on a consistent basis.

    I think it’s safe to assume this was not a suicide attempt, therefore the driver should have been more careful. DRIVERS SLOW THE HELL DOWN on Olive and everywhere else.

  10. Ryan in the Sky:

    Respectfully friend, it actually does mean that. Drivers are under no obligation to stop for you if you’re hanging out on the sidewalk waiting to enter into or upon a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

    Now if you’re IN the crosswalk and already legally crossing, it is ABSOLUTELY on the driver…unless for the aforementioned section about the leaving a place of safety (ex. the sidewalk)…

    Seattle po-po use the Seattle Municipal Code to write their tickets, it’s SMC 11.40.040 (Basically the same thing as the RCW).

  11. There’s pretty much no other city in this country where you see people on foot with so little regard to cars.

    It’s really just an extension of the self entitlement attitude so prevalent here in Seattle.

  12. Eyes open,

    Respectfully, it does actually mean that. If you are standing waiting to cross, the car is obligated to stop for you.

  13. My interpretation was that I could be on the curb, but if I have to take one step into the street in order to get cars to stop for me, that’s ridiculous. Guess what drivers? You’re already going to get where you are going faster than I am. Put yourself in my shoes.

  14. Ped,

    My stats are qualified by the word “probably.” this being said I have counted 20 instances of entitled reckless drivers swerving AROUND pedestrians, who were already in the crosswalk well before the vehicle reached the intersection, over the course of about 15 minutes at Boylston & Pine.

    The thing that everyday drivers don’t get about pedestrians in a pedestrian oriented neighborhood is that we just want you to pay attention and realize that the world won’t end if you stop for someone at an intersection. In fact, you will still probably reach your destination before said pedestrian.

  15. Yes, the self-entitlement that people might be able to walk. I have no regard for cars, because they have no regard for pedestrians. Driving is not a right, it’s a privilege. Walking is in fact a right. The number of close calls I have every week when drivers turn without looking, fail to yield, etc, tells me that a good number of people shouldn’t be afforded the privilege.

  16. Also, think for a minute what you’ve just said and where you’ve said it: you are admonishing Seattle pedestrians in a post about someone who was SENT TO THE HOSPITAL after being hit by a car. Screw you.

  17. Jo, I take it you’ve never been anywhere outside of Seattle and Portland, ’cause pedestrians are more aggressive pretty much everywhere else. We hardly even jaywalk here for christ’s sake.

  18. ped:

    Give me a hand and find the SMC backing your position if you will, I seem to be having difficulty finding it. Not sure if I can bold text, but I’ll give it a try to demonstrate how I’m reading the SMC. Not perfect, I’ve been wrong before, but on this one, the language seems pretty clear. Most people will do what you mentioned earlier (stop for those waiting on the sidewalks), but I’m hoping it’s more out of courtesy than anything else.

    SMC 11.40.040 Right-of-way-in-crosswalk

    [B]The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian using an unmarked or marked crosswalk or a disabled person using a curb ramp[/B] as provided in Section 11.40.090 to cross the roadway [B]when the pedestrian or disabled person is [I]upon or within[/I] (1) lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning[/B]. For purposes of this section, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one (1) direction of travel and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway. This section shall not apply to
    pedestrians crossing a roadway at a point where an accessible pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided. (RCW 46.61.235(1))

  19. Well…I guess that’s one way to look at it. Have a SMC to quote? Like I said before, the statute seems pretty clear. Vehicular traffic is REQUIRED to stop and WAIT for pedestrians legally in or upon the roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

    I still don’t see anything anywhere stating that drivers are required to stop for pedestrian on a sidewalk or unimproved roadway in anticipation of a pedestrian desiring to cross. Help me out a little with something more substantial that what type of defense you would claim for stepping out in front of a car.

  20. I agree with the comments about the danger of crossing at this street and about irresponsible motorists.

    But of course pedestrians aren’t blameless either. A pet peeve of mine is people at unmarked crosswalks who refuse to clearly signal their intention to cross. Too many people shift around, distracted on the sidewalk, waiting for traffic to pass. Worse, some watch the traffic but make no move. Yielding the right of way in this manner only makes motorists more aggressive and sows confusion.

    If you have the right of way, make clear your intention to take it. That doesn’t mean step in front of a car. Instead, it means you time your crossing such that it is clear you have no intention of stopping, though you don’t put yourself in the vehicle’s path until it’s clear they’ve committed to stopping.

    This is how pedestrian-centric cities across Europe and the east coast work: people know the rules and they follow them.

  21. “…when the pedestrian or disabled person is upon or within (1) lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling…”

    technically, if you’re hanging out on a sidewalk cars don’t have to stop for you and as a pedestrian, you can’t just walk out in front of a car that’s six feet away doing 25-30 mph. now, if the car in the above situation is three or more car lengths away (say 300 feet, about how far it would take the car to come to a complete stop) and you step off the curb and onto the street, that car MUST stop.

    but yes, even with that law, i’ve still had cars that nearly grazed me when i was legally in an intersection. the worst part? it’s the little wave that the driver gives. like he’s saying thanks for not killing yourself on my grill. i’ve thought about carrying a brick when i’m walking so i can “tag” those cars that won’t obey the law.

  22. you’re blaming pedestrians for being cautious about stepping in front of traffic that might not stop for them? think about what you’re saying. how do you that person trying to cross the street hasn’t been hit by a car before and is nervous about trying to time how far away a car is and how fast they’re coming? how do you know they aren’t trying to be as cautious as they can so they don’t wind up crippled or worse?

    and what kind of signal am i supposed to give you? should i start carrying semaphore flags for the benefit of poor put-upon motorists? hey, here’s a suggestion. if you see someone at the curb and you think they might be wanting to cross the street – just stop. STOP. what’ll it cost you, a few seconds? and then the awful pedestrian will cross the street and you won’t be peeved any more.

  23. ped:

    That is true. Hanging out on the sidewalk vs wanting to cross are not the same. However, demonstrating intent to cross the street by standing at the crosswalk is not the same as a pedestrian legally IN or UPON the roadway. You’re right, the key word is in fact “UPON”.

    I still can’t find, nor can you seem to be able to provide, any SMC or statute that states that vehicular traffic must stop for a pedestrian that is not actually IN or UPON the roadway itself. Unless I’m mistaken, and I have no problem being corrected, the reason I can’t find one and you can’t provide one is because, as previously stated, vehicular traffic is not required to stop for pedestrians if they’re not in or upon the roadway itself.

    I’d LOVE to see vehicular traffic be required to stop for pedestrians waiting at the crosswalk. It just makes sense. Vehicles need to be more aware of their surrounding and the fact they share the road with pedestrians and bicycles (my personal bias is more towards bicycles). However, the law is written the way it’s written, and unless we advocate for change in the legislation, that’s the way it’s gonna be.

  24. Crazytrainmat, I was going to post a message along the same lines as yours, but you state my pet peeve so well that I won’t bother. As a motorist, I make it a priority to stop for pedestrians if they have given just slight notice that they are crossing….by stepping off the curb, making eye contact with me, etc….but many times they just linger on the corner, looking somewhere else, preoccupied with some digital device…and I’m not as patient in those situations.

    Another pet peeve is when I stop to let a pedestrian pass, but then they continue to linger or even wave me by. If a motorist has the courtesy to stop for you, you should damn well move and get across as soon as possible.

  25. Amen to that, Jo. Seattle pedestrian’s don’t quite get that the 4,000 lbs. piece of metal coming down the street might kill them. Do parents around here not teach their kids to “look both ways before you cross the street?” Dan, “aggressive” and “little regard” are two different things. Seattle is the land of amateurish idiots who think their “right of way” is good enough to protect them from death. What you probably witnessed in other, cooler cities and labeled as “aggressive” was pedestrians trying to get somewhere they needed to do, most likely AFTER they looked both ways and made sure they weren’t going to get killed. Those same people probably drive like they have a sense of purpose, too, which is another thing we can’t do around here…

  26. The article says it was at Olive and Melrose. Not on the Olive off ramp (one of the best designed and safest in the city) or at Bellevue and Olive (one of the worst designed for pedestrians or cars).

  27. @zeebleoop and ped: I don’t own a car — I bike and walk everywhere.

    Drivers around here won’t murder in cold blood. But they will implicitly threaten your life when ambiguity in the situation allows. At first glance, pedestrian traffic in New York (or better, Rome) looks suicidal. But if you look closer, everyone is following certain rules and little is left to chance.