We gave the coming Broadway “all way walk” the headline but one of the safety improvements coming to the busy area around Capitol Hill Station will be part of a simple but hopefully effective change to pedestrian crossing signals across Seattle:
At intersections where the city knows accidents are likely, SDOT will preemptively add what Murray called “pedestrian-friendly signals” — walk signs that allow pedestrians into an intersection before drivers’ light turns green, giving walkers greater visibility — and traffic lights with left turn signals, which reduces conflicts between left-turning cars and pedestrians (or trucks) heading straight through an intersection. By adding leading pedestrian signals at 40 intersections citywide, Kubly said, the city expected to reduce crashes by 50 percent at those intersections.
After SDOT analysis, the re-timed signaling will be deployed at the busy Broadway/John/E Olive Way intersection to give pedestrians an advance walk signal before drivers get a green light. SDOT is also planning to add left turn lanes on John and E Olive Way to help better control vehicular traffic flow.
Dongho Chang, city traffic engineer, said pedestrian collision reports including near misses contributed to the decision. “Pedestrian-wise we hear about a lot of close misses,” Chang said.
The department found the majority of collisions were left-turn related from east and westbound drivers on Olive and John. Drivers heading north or south on Broadway didn’t experience many left turn collisions but did have a few rear-ending incidents.
SDOT is planning to implement the changes before summer.