After attending the Seattle Department of Transportation’s December drop-in sessions to learn about planned safety-related changes to be made as part of the NE 65th Street Vision Zero project, RBCA board members agreed that not enough is planned for increasing pedestrian safety. Following is a letter RBCA sent to SDOT regarding our primary concerns.
Seattle Department of Transportation
Dear Mr. Sparrman:
We were encouraged to preview some much-needed and overdue safety improvements to the NE 65th Street corridor at SDOT’s NE 65th Street Vision Zero drop-in sessions last month. But pedestrian safety at intersections and a lack of crosswalks, two of the neighborhood’s greatest concerns as determined in surveys by RBCA and SDOT alike, are not sufficiently addressed in the current proposal.
While the numbers of pedestrians counted crossing NE 65th Street between signalized intersections may not warrant the addition of marked crosswalks, SDOT’s 2017 survey data found that 85% of respondents considered lack of safe crossings a barrier to walking in the area. RBCA’s 2016 mobility survey collected similar feedback from residents. With additional crosswalks and curb bulbs, we will see an increase in pedestrians and with this increase will come greater safety.
Data included in the 2017 Vision Zero Progress report indicated that 60% of pedestrians killed in the last three years were 55 years of age or older and 80% of pedestrian collisions occur within or near our urban villages. Ravenna’s business district is within one block of two facilities that house close to 150 of our most vulnerable neighbors. A resident of one of those facilities was killed by a left-turning vehicle at 20th Ave NE and yet significant safety issues related to pedestrian visibility and right-of-way are not addressed in the current proposal.
In working toward our shared Vision Zero goals and to address pedestrian safety on NE 65th Street, we ask that SDOT consider the following:
• Painted crosswalk and curb bulbs at or near 21st Ave NE to emphasize common pedestrian crossing point for neighborhood businesses as well as the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center.
• Curb bulbs at NE 20th Street and No Right on Red signage to address severely limited visibility of pedestrians entering the crosswalk as well as signal to drivers to not enter the crosswalk, as they commonly do now.
• Left turn lights at intersections to reduce dangerous conflicts, particularly at 15th and 25th Avenues NE.
In addition, without left turn lights we are concerned that resulting backups will decrease pedestrian safety on side streets as a result of diverted traffic.
We would be happy to discuss these significant and widely-held safety concerns with you further if needed.
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association