What candidates have to say about safe streets and transportation investments around District 3

(Image: SDOT

If Monday morning’s CHS post on collisions around Capitol Hill, the Central District, and First Hill and the city’s difficulty in making headway on Vision Zero goals got you worked up about street safety — and you still haven’t cast your August Primary ballot which is due Tuesday, August 6th by 8 PM! — here’s a quick look at the District 3 candidates’ answers about safe streets and car dependence from our CHS Reader D3 Candidate Survey.

We asked each candidate for an overview of their plan to support safe streets and also which areas of D3 transportation infrastructure they feel is most in need of investment. You can also check out the full candidate survey answers on a variety of Central Seattle-focused topics.

Meanwhile, readers who responded to our CHS D3 Primary Poll who indicated they considered “transportation” as a “very important” factor in choosing their candidate, were mostly likely to have said they were supporting Sawant or Orion — also the top vote getters among the full group of respondents. What candidate gains the most support when focusing just on Transportation? That would be Bowers who ranks third after Sawant and Orion among the “very important” transportation respondents. The small percentage of voters who considered transportation to be less than “important” in their decision? They also support Orion and his competitor Murakami.

More survey results here. Answers from the candidates on transit and transportation issues, below.

What is your plan to support safe streets and continue to reduce car dependence in our district? Continue reading

Driver reportedly runs over man sleeping at First Hill parking entrance — UPDATE

A man reportedly sleeping along the sidewalk at a Terry Ave parking garage entrance was treated by medics after being hit by a driver early Monday morning, according to emergency radio dispatches.

Seattle Police says it responded to the incident and may have more information soon and we have not yet heard back from Seattle Fire on specifics regarding the man’s non-life threatening injuries. UPDATE: SFD reports the victim, a 57-year-old male, was transported to Harborview in serious condition. Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

Continue reading

Why it’s now even harder to find a car share vehicle on Capitol Hill

The number of floating car share vehicles flowing onto Capitol Hill at night and flowing right back off in the morning has dropped this summer. BMW abruptly pulled the plug on ReachNow last week.

Following a splashy Capitol Hill launch party in spring of 2016, the Mini Coopers and BMWs became part of the weird, wild, and somewhat reliable transportation options provided by the smartphone-driven era of car, bike, scooter, etc. sharing in Seattle.

The service’s abrupt cancelation leaves drivers in the Pacific Northwest turning to the remaining providers including Daimler’s Car2go. In February, CHS reported on bike share company Lime expanding into the car business in Seattle to join the traffic jam of options. Other car share options in Seattle include the old school, fixed-space Zipcar and Getaround, a startup that sounds like the “Airbnb” of motor vehicles.

The numbers show that share services are hugely popular in Seattle and are also contributing to the city’s clogged streets with around 40,000 motor vehicle rides a day starting in downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, and  on Capitol Hill.

Seattle’s promising, extremely early look at congestion pricing: Traffic down, CO2 down, money for mass transit up

London does it (Image: SDOT)

London does it. Singapore does it. Stockholm does it. New York is starting it. And now Seattle is considering becoming one of the cool kids who charge people to drive downtown.

A Seattle Congestion Pricing Study (PDF) report will be on the agenda Tuesday afternoon as Seattle Department of Transportation representatives will begin the discussion with the City Council about how Seattle might implement some sort of congestion pricing program. The study doesn’t really get into details or suggestions of how Seattle might implement a program. It gives an overview of how such programs work in other cities, and suggests how Seattle might take the next steps toward developing a program of its own.

Some of the study’s findings will make you want to implement a plan immediately:

In every case, congestion pricing has reduced vehicle trips (by 10% to 44%), reduced CO2 emissions (by 2.5% to 22%), and lowered travel times (by 10% to 33%).

Congestion pricing can take a number of different forms. The one common denominator in all of them is an area is designated for pricing. Basically, draw a circle (more or less) on a map, and attach conditions to people who want to go inside the circle. Continue reading

District 3 candidates for Seattle City Council talk safe streets

Transportation equity and city government transparency were the top concerns at Monday’s District 3 candidates forum at Central Cinema hosted by Central Seattle Greenways after a walk through the community featuring a number of specific issues, including bike lanes and automobile speed.

All of the candidates were in attendance at the evening forum and five of the six made it for the hour-long Central District walk beforehand as Seattle Public Schools Board member Zachary DeWolf was busy attending a graduation event. Incumbent council member Kshama Sawant got there a few minutes late walking because of what she called pedestrian deprioritization as the lights were not going in her favor.

Crosswalks came up as the attendees stood on 23rd and Union with talk that they are not always convenient and may not last long enough, which is why one organizer called for a signal policy directly from the city.

“It’s deeply important that we are making sure that our crossing signals prioritize pedestrians and people who bike, but also that they are long enough both for seniors, families, and [young people] to get across,” DeWolf said during the forum later. Continue reading

Hundreds rally at Seattle’s Ride For Safe Streets ‏– D3 candidate safe streets walk and forum tonight

Hundreds rolled and walked from Seattle neighborhoods to City Hall Sunday to protest inaction on street safety issues under the Jenny Durkan administration and to call for a new “Green Transportation Package” for the city.

Organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the MASS: Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition, the Ride for Safe Streets event came after the latest implementation schedule for the Seattle’s bike plan revealed watered down plans for new bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure across the city.  Continue reading

Meeting will pound out District 3 street and parks improvement ideas for ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ citizen budgeting

Work to improve safety at the Olive Way offramp from I-5 was part of the 2017 round of projects

Thursday night will bring one of the quirkiest elements of Seattle’s quirk-full citizen budgeting exercise, Your Voice, Your Choice for street and park improvements, district by district, across the city.

If you’re into safe streets and parks and are a patient soul, the District 3 project development meeting used to winnow down community ideas and suggestions is Thursday night, 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Central District’s Douglass-Truth Branch Library. There, ideas submitted by the public will be filtered and discussed for a final slate to be voted on in September. Continue reading

You can help save the 17th Ave E ‘impound notice’ community bench — UPDATE

Neighbors have a plan to save the bench on the sidewalk along 17th Ave E that nobody is quite sure who owns but the city says need to be fixed up if it is going to stay in the right of way.

“This bench is used and beloved by many in our small neighborhood of Capitol Hill, and if we don’t restore it the city will take steps to get rid of it,” neighbors write. “Thank you in advance for any support you can give to help us keep the bench for all to use in the neighborhood!”

You can add your donation here.

The effort is hoped to raise $2,500 to “replace the wood slats, dowels and metal bolts with the help of a contractor, and place a permanent receptacle for trash on it as well.” Continue reading

An update on Seattle’s ‘Vision Zero’ street safety efforts


With reporting from SCC Insight

Earlier this week, the Seattle Department of Transportation gave the City Council an update on the city’s “Vision Zero” initiative to achieve zero annual traffic fatalities. The bad news is that there has been little progress in the last several years. The good news? SDOT has some new ideas for how to change that.

According to the preliminary 2018 figures, Seattle had 14 traffic fatalities, and 170 serious injuries on its streets. That’s 14 human tragedies that we should all grieve for. But, while it is little consolation, that makes Seattle one of the safest cities in the country on a per-capita basis when it comes to traffic fatalities.

As for the trends, above are two charts that SDOT shared Tuesday. Continue reading