SEATTLE – Councilmembers Tammy Morales (District 2, South Seattle and the Chinatown / International District) and Alex Pedersen (District 4, Northeast Seattle and Chair of the Transportation Committee) reacted to the troubling update on traffic fatalities and serious injuries from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) “Vision Zero” report presented today. Vision Zero is Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.
Councilmember Tammy Morales, (District 2, Chinatown-International District and Southeast Seattle):
“Today, Councilmembers saw a presentation from the Department of Transportation that only reinforces what we in Southeast Seattle already know: Our streets are not safe. They are not safe for kids. They are not safe for elders. They are not safe for people with low vision or those who are blind. They are not safe for anyone who cannot drive for health-related or economic reasons. The fact of the matter is that South End streets were built for the ease and speed of heavy large vehicles, not for the safety of people outside of them. Having a report is one thing. This is SDOT admitting a problem and that is one small step toward a solution, but without actions from the department, this is one just more reminder that the lives of people in the South End don’t stack up to the lives of those in Magnolia, or Queen Anne, or Laurelhurst, or Green Lake, or Eastlake in the eyes of the City. Here’s your data: last year, 56% of people who died on Seattle streets, died in my district. That number represents human lives lost. Mothers, fathers, sisters, aunts, uncles – gone. They will never again laugh, or share a family dinner, or hug their kids. That number represents countless shattered families, and all that loss was and is preventable. That’s devastating. The department should know this. Now, what actions will SDOT take to change that? Until the City values the lives of people in the South End at the same level as those in wealthier, whiter areas of the city, they aren’t doing enough. I want to thank Chair Pedersen for honoring my request for a Vision Zero briefing after we saw the most recent fatality in District 2.” A portion of Councilmember Morales’ remarks at the committee can be viewed here.
Councilmember Alex Pedersen, (District 4, Northeast Seattle and Transportation Committee Chair): “Safety must be the priority for everyone using Seattle’s roads and, unfortunately, the first part of 2022 continues the disturbing national trend of unacceptably high numbers of traffic-related injuries and deaths, especially among pedestrians and people experiencing homelessness in South Seattle. While we have lowered speed limits, expanded access to mass transit, and increased crosswalks, we must also respond to the drop in police enforcement by increasing use of speed cameras and fines based on ability to pay, and we must reduce the traffic-related harms to people experiencing homelessness by having City departments redouble efforts to bring more people inside faster. While I’m hopeful the City Council’s additional investments for pedestrian safety in South Seattle will reduce injuries once SDOT finishes those projects, today’s initial 2022 data sounds the alarm that the Mayor’s upcoming budget proposal must continue to increase our investments in South Seattle and other underinvested areas, so that our transportation infrastructure is quickly made safer.” Councilmember Pedersen’s remarks may be viewed here.
More information about the City’s plan for Vision Zero can be found on SDOT’s website.
# # #