Seattle is one of the best U.S. cities for pedestrians, but the city aims to become the very best. According to the 2016 Alliance Benchmarking Report by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, 9.3% of Seattleites walk to work. In Seattle between 2005 and 2013, there were about three pedestrian fatalities for every 10,000 pedestrians, and pedestrians accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities.
On March 22nd, Mayor Ed Murray submitted his Pedestrian Master Plan to the City Council. The entirety of Mayor Murray’s plan can be read here. The Pedestrian Safety Plan has four goals: Safety, which aims to reduce the amount and severity of collisions involving pedestrians; Vibrancy, to create a safe, energetic, and healthy community and economy; Equity, or making Seattle a more walkable, accommodating, and accessible city for everyone, including those with mobility, seeing, or hearing issues; and Health, by getting people to walk more and be healthier.
What has Seattle been doing so far to increase pedestrian safety? Since 2002, the city has installed 560 new pedestrian count-down signals, which let the person know how much time they have to cross the street. Seattle has also added over 50 marked crosswalks, and they aim to build 150 curb ramps a year for those using mobility devices. One concern pedestrians have is the speed at which cars are travelling. To address this and to get drivers to slow down, the city has been installing speed bumps and traffic circles. Speed limits in the city have been reduced as well. The city has also been adding sidewalks to blocks that are lacking them.
Where does Seattle want to improve? First, they want to build sidewalks along arterials, giving priority to providing access to public K-12 schools, and building along the “Frequent Transit Network,” areas where busses run frequently. The city also wants to create stricter laws for sidewalks built by private developers. Building isn’t the only thing Seattle is concerned about; they also want to make sure that current sidewalks are safe, and that residents know how to report a safety issue, using the Find It, Fix It app. The city also wants to add lights, signs, flashing crossing beacons, and other tools to increase pedestrian visibility.
Ken Selander is a personal injury lawyer and represents pedestrian accident victims. If you were injured as a pedestrian by a careless or negligent driver, please contact Ken today at 206.723.8200 for a free consultation.