Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales (District 2 – Southeast Seattle, Yesler Terrace & Chinatown-International District) released the following statement after the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Vision Zero Top-To-Bottom Review was released at 12PM today:
“I am glad to see Director Greg Spotts and the department are committed to making a cultural shift to prioritize people’s safety where it has historically prioritized convenience for cars. The report outlines several important strategies to improve safety, and I will partner with Director Spotts in filling the $5 million gap in federal assistance so that all projects in the grant application can be completed.
At the same time, this report stops short of calling for dramatic or swift action to combat the unprecedented number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities on our streets, particularly in District 2. Changing signal timing and adding leading pedestrian intervals will not change the geometry of our streets, and as a result, will likely not change the behavior of users on these dangerous stretches of roadway. These actions are a start, but we need to fundamentally change our streets to address this crisis. For example, the families of South Shore K-8 and Rainier Beach High School were promised traffic calming efforts on Henderson Street. This project needs to be done before school lets out.
This is also more than a downtown problem. This is why I have shared with Director Spotts that I plan to strengthen any legislation implementing the No-Right-on-Red Zone recommendation in this report by extending it past the borders of downtown and into all neighborhoods, on our arterials, where people walking, biking, and rolling face the most peril. I am continuing to work with our central staff and the department on identifying other rapid changes that can be pursued this year.”
BY THE NUMBERS
In 2022 SDOT reported that, 93% of fatalities between people walking, biking, or using a mobility device and drivers happened on arterial streets and 40% of serious or fatal collisions occurred at signalized intersections. In 2021, 56% of all Seattle pedestrian and bicyclist deaths happened in District 2.
According to data from the Washington Department of Transportation, in 2022, there were 64 collisions along Martin Luther King Jr. Way S between S McClellan Street and S Henderson Street. The corridor serves multiple functions as a transit route, freight route, an I-5 alternative to people commuting into downtown, and a neighborhood main street for several commercial areas. Mere blocks away, Rainier Avenue S, formerly State Route 167, serves a similar function as an all-purpose corridor and as the main street for several neighborhoods. According to data from the Washington Department of Transportation, in 2022, there were 17 pedestrians struck by drivers, and a total of 139 collisions between Interstate 90 and S Henderson Street on Rainier Avenue S.