A new petition under the hashtag #GivePedsTheGreen is calling on SDOT to make an essentially invisible and low-budget change to traffic signals that could have a big impact on walkability, safety and accessibility in all corners of Seattle. It wouldn’t require any new infrastructure at all, and people driving would likely not even notice the change.
The idea is to program traffic signals in urban villages, the urban center and other areas with many people on foot so the walk signal is never skipped. Instead, just make the program behave as though someone pushed the button every cycle. It’s a pretty simple idea that could pack a big safety benefit.
The campaign was started by Troy Heerwagen, who has written for years at his blog Walking in Seattle. He wrote a post for the Urbanist Thursday explaining the idea and urging people to support the petition. He also says to always push the button when walking so SDOT has proper counts of how many people are trying to cross the street and can adjust signals accordingly.
I can’t possibly support this idea enough. So many safe streets projects require tough trade-offs or big capital budgets, but this one doesn’t. It’s a simple tweak, but it would improve comfort, efficiency, safety and accessibility for people walking around town.