Crosscut’s Josh Cohen is the latest to chime in on Rainier’s safety problems and the neighborhood’s (as well as SDOT’s) efforts to address them:
Rainier Avenue S is one of Seattle’s most dangerous streets. On Halloween this year, a man driving a pickup truck at over 65 mph near 52nd Ave lost control, slammed into 10 cars and injured 10 people before hitting a tree and coming to a stop. In August, seven people were injured when an SUV crashed into a salon in downtown Columbia City. From January 2011 through September 2014, the street saw 1,243 total collisions, 630 injuries and two fatalities.
“There’s nothing we can compare Rainier to in the City of Seattle,” said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Community Traffic Liaison Jim Curtin, referring to its traffic volume and high rate of crashes.
For anyone who has driven, walked or biked the road, the high collision rate is likely no surprise. The wide, four-lane arterial allows cars to drive fast. Its curves and “skewed” intersections (non 90-degree turns), obscure driver’s sightlines and allow for high-speed cornering.
There’s heavy vehicle traffic — an average of 19,700 to 26,600 vehicles per weekday. And the road connects many of the Rainier Valley’s main business districts, adding lots of people on foot and bike to the mix. High speeds plus heavy traffic plus vulnerable people is a recipe for tragedy…