This week, Seattle’s new “Vision Zero” plan to eliminate traffic deaths was announced by Mayor Ed Murray. Since this past year’s alarming spike of dangerous collisions in and close to Columbia City, there’s a been a strong push to make Rainier Ave. safer. While by no means a solution, Rainier and MLK did get specific mention in the plan
Mayor Murray, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) launched Vision Zero, Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through innovative engineering, enforcement and education.
“Our Vision Zero campaign will educate people who drive, bike and walk on how we can all work together to make our streets safer,” said Murray. “We are rolling out a range of new safety improvements that will help get our kids get to school, reduce fatalities on city arterials and make our neighborhood streets safer. Our transportation system must work safely for everyone and this plan will save lives.”
While Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, more than 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. In 2014, 3,449 injury collisions were reported to the Seattle Police Department. Fifteen people died in traffic crashes, including five who were walking or riding a bike.
At the core of Vision Zero is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. The Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error. When paired with targeted education and enforcement, the effort will save lives.
“Implementing the Vision Zero initiative is vital to creating a safer transportation system,” said Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee. “The way we design our streets, enforce the rules, and educate the public does make a difference. But, most importantly, each of us whether we walk, bike or drive must do our part to make our streets safer for all.”
To make Seattle streets safer all, Seattle’s Vision Zero effort will include the following actions in 2015:
- Reduce the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 mph by the end of 2015.
- Improve safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes and other engineering improvements.
- Install 20 mph zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories.
- Enhance safety on arterials — like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and 5th Avenue NE where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur — by installing speed reductions, radar speed signs and enhanced street designs.
- Add twelve new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for kids as they make their way to and from school.
- Add seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes.
- Conduct targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement. SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road…
Reduce Arterial Speed LimitsReview arterial speed limits and reduce to 30 mph or lower. Pair speed limit reductions with tools like radar speed signs and street design changes. Review speed limits through our annual programs and Road Safety Corridor projects. Work with State partners to make changes to State Routes like Aurora Avenue North, Lake City Way NE and Sand Point Way NE. Lower speed limits on the following corridors in 2015:
- Martin Luther King Jr Way S
- Rainier Avenue S…Urban Center SafetyBring a higher level of safety to Seattle’s Urban Centers, where high volumes of vehicular traffic, transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists merge. Data-driven improvements may include modified signal phasing, traffic calming, protected turn phases and leading or lagging pedestrian intervals at the following locations:
- Lake City at NE 125th Street and Lake City Way NE
- White Center/Westwood at SW Roxbury Street and Delridge Way/16th Ave SW
- Columbia City and Hillman City on Rainier Ave S…
Road Safety Corridors
Reduce collisions through low cost engineering, enforcement and education efforts on targeted corridors including:
- Rainier Ave S