The rest of the city is about to join Capitol Hill’s core and downtown with 25 MPH speed limits on arterial streets. The lower speeds were implemented here in 2016. They have not done enough.
Citing a troublesome rise in dangerous collisions, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced plans Tuesday for the expanded citywide limits plus more crossings that give pedestrians a head start, more red light traffic cameras, and a new Major Crash Review Task Force “which will convene a panel of experts to analyze every serious and fatal collision” in Seattle.
“We must make our sidewalks and roads safe for everyone – too many of our residents have lost their lives in traffic incidents, often the most vulnerable. That is unacceptable,” Durkan said. “We are rolling out a series of investments and changes we know will work to improve safety in our City and help all our residents feel safe getting where they need to go.”
In addition to the new speed limits and more signs added over the next 18 months, SDOT will also double the number of intersections with “leading pedestrian interval safety enhancements” to 250 by the end of 2020. “These intersections give pedestrians a few seconds head start before cars get a green light, making pedestrians in crosswalks more visible,” the announcement reads. The city says the head starts can reduce the number of people hit by cars by 60%.
SDOT also plans to add cameras to five school zones and double the city’s red light cameras. SPD will provide “1,200 additional hours of enforcement on high-injury streets focused on giving warnings and driver education.”
“Patrols will monitor intersections and bike lanes to discourage unsafe practices by drivers,” the city promises.
Seattle’s 2020 budget includes $20 million for Vision Zero projects on Highland Park Way, Boren Ave, Rainier Ave S, and MLK Jr Way.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways called the efforts “excellent and long overdue.”
“We see today’s announcement as a tremendous step in the right direction,” executive director Gordon Padelford said. We will continue our work until every neighborhood is a great place to walk, bike and live — where no one loses their life or is seriously injured trying to get to where they need to go.”
The Seattle Times reports 25 traffic related deaths in 2019 — one of the worst years in the city this decade as annual totals for crashes and injuries remains stubbornly steady despite increase safety spending.
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