Today, Mayor Ed Murray along with Council President Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Mike O’Brien, City planners, and pedestrian advocates announced a series of pedestrian safety investments guided by the City’s updated Pedestrian Master Plan and Vision Zero safety program. These new investments will further the City’s goal of making Seattle the safest and most walkable city in the country by improving street and intersection safety, and new sidewalks. Funding for these safety improvements were made possible through the Move Seattle levy.
“All of us depend on a safe, accessible transportation infrastructure to get to work, school, and everywhere we need to be in our daily lives,” said Mayor Murray. “The Pedestrian Master Plan calls for critically needed upgrades to sidewalks in under-served communities, and through our Vision Zero program, we are making busy streets and intersections safer for everyone. These safety investments can help make Seattle neighborhoods safer and more walkable for all residents.”
“By prioritizing investments and improvements towards more walkable neighborhoods, we build stronger, healthier, safer, and more inclusive communities,” said Council President Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “Our locally owned small businesses down the street thrive, residents walk more and become healthier, communities feel safer because of the social connections and eyes on the street, and the natural environment benefits.”
“Every investment we make in pedestrian infrastructure can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “I’m hopeful that these dollars and future funding keep us on track toward Vision Zero.”
The updated Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) directs $22 million for 50 blocks of new sidewalk improvements in 2017. The PMP focuses these investments by prioritizing sidewalks that provide safer access to schools and transit options. The PMP is guided by an equity consideration, ensuring under-served communities are prioritized for pedestrian improvements. These investments will be made in neighborhoods from Greenwood, Lake City in the north end, to Beacon Hill, Roxbury Heights and Rainier Valley in the south end. Click here for a map of the improvements. Mayor Murray is transmitting his recommended PMP update to Council for adoption later this week.
”Many people in the South Seattle community including myself have suffered due to the lack of safety improvements along the Rainier Avenue corridor,” said Phyllis Porter of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “I am thankful for the initial phase of the Rainier Avenue Safety Project in the Rainier Valley and look forward to continued improvements along the corridor.”
Additionally, the acceleration of the second phase of the Rainier Avenue corridor safety improvements was announced today. As part of Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Vision Zero program, Rainier Avenue between S. Kenny Street and S. Henderson Street will see $2.25 million in improvements to pedestrian safety at intersections. Vision Zero improvements may include marked crosswalks, dedicated left turn arrows, channelization upgrades, and new signal timing to prioritize pedestrians. The improvements will be completed by 2019. The first phase of the project made similar improvements in the Columbia and Hillman City neighborhoods. Rainier Avenue is one of many Vision Zero projects throughout the city to improve corridor and pedestrian crossings. These projects, along with SDOT’s expansion of new, lower speed limits will improve safety in neighborhoods across Seattle.
“We analyzed bicycle and pedestrian crashes that happened from 2007 to 2014 in Seattle so we could identify problems to address through better street design and traffic operations. We looked at different data sources to explore the relationship between where, how, and to the extent possible, why crashes happen,” said Scott Kubly, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “As a result, we have a better understanding of some of the most common issues, and where and how we need to focus our efforts for making our streets safer for all users.”
Vision Zero is SDOT’s approach to traffic safety with a goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injury by 2030. The program is a blend of safety measures such as lowering speed limits, improving traffic signals, pedestrian and bike crossing enhancements, and increasing transit efficiency to make streets safer for all modes of transportation, especially pedestrians. Despite a rapidly increasing population, fatal and serious injury incidents in Seattle have been declining since 2014.
Today’s announcement was made at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in South Seattle, which will receive $130,000 in new speed humps and curb ramps on all streets around the school and marked crosswalks at 44th Ave S. and S. Willow St. These safety improvements are part of SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, which encourages and funds easier, safer ways for students to get to school.