NE 75th Street has not been significantly redesigned since 1957 – Meeting tonight

Image from the SDOT website

Image from the SDOT website

Not long ago, NE 75th Street was just another dangerous street cutting through a Seattle neighborhood. But a March tragedy at NE 75th and 33rd Ave NE left two grandparents dead, their daughter-in-law and baby infant in critical condition and a community searching for answers.

Since then, NE 75th Street has become a symbol for unacceptable roadway danger, and the city has promised action to make it safer. Speeding emphasis patrols and flashing crosswalk beacons are already in place, and the city set to hold public meetings to develop a larger road safety plan to be implemented this year and early 2014.

The first public input meeting is tonight (Tuesday), 6 – 8:30 p.m. at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center.

An image on the SDOT website (see above) shows a problem that is all too common in Seattle: NE 75th Street’s design has not been significantly updated since 1957. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since the 1950s, as have modern safe street design standards, and it is borderline negligent for the city to allow such outdated infrastructure to remain in use. Just like fire codes have changed to require old buildings to install sprinkler systems and other safety features, our streets require complete streets updates to ensure that every person using them can easily and confidently do so without fear of death or injury.

But this won’t happen unless the city hears loud and clear from the people that we demand it. Start by getting to an upcoming meeting listed below. First NE 75th, then the dangerous street by your home and the street by your co-worker’s home and the street by your friend’s home and the street by your mother’s home…

NE 75th Street plan outline, from the SDOT website:

A series of community meetings have been scheduled to listen to community concerns, share traffic data, and develop strategies to lower vehicle speeds and reduce collisions. These meetings are open to the general public and all are welcome.

Issue Identification Meetings – April-May 2013

Purpose: Review existing conditions and traffic data, discuss toolbox of potential improvements, and hear concerns and ideas from residents

Conceptual Designs – May-June 2013

SDOT will synthesize community input and define roadway improvement alternatives based on community input and data

Design Alternatives Review Meetings – July 2013

SDOT will share conceptual improvement options and seek feedback from the community

Implementation – August 2013

  • Short-term improvements, such as changes to signs and pavement markings, will begin
  • Design for civil improvements will begin with construction/installation in 2014
  • SDOT will develop a funding strategy for longer term improvements

Evaluation – Ongoing

  • Seek and respond to community feedback
  • Collect and evaluate speed, volume and collision data at one-year intervals
  • Make adjustments if needed
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2 Responses to NE 75th Street has not been significantly redesigned since 1957 – Meeting tonight

  1. Al Dimond says:

    From SDOT’s page: “… Collision data tells us that the majority of collisions are caused by behavioral issues such as speeding, distraction, and impairment (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)…”

    OK. Apparently the best way to reduce drunk driving is publicly increasing enforcement. As for speeding and distraction, well, do it the Dutch way. Don’t put up signs telling people to slow down and watch out, they’ll ignore them. Don’t call a meeting and tell people to slow down and watch out, they’ll forget. Design the roadway so people will slow down and watch out. That means narrowing it. That means letting go of the idea that it can flexibly become a four-lane road during peak.

    I’m not sure I agree that the neighborhood has changed dramatically since the 50s. This is actually a place that hasn’t changed much. It’s probably filled in a little, but it’s still mostly freestanding houses and a few neighborhood focused businesses. The overall needs of residents haven’t changed much, but traffic growth and responses to it have eroded safety. Traffic growth has as much to do with growth beyond the neighborhood as growth within it. But there will continue to be this kind of pressure until we actually do change the way we build our cities. So much of the northeast is still monolithically residential. Live in the middle of it and you have to drive out at least a couple miles to get anywhere, and that’s where this demand for lots of vehicle throughput through the neighborhoods comes from.

  2. Angie says:

    There was another nasty looking accident on NE 75th st and 35th Ave NE today during the 6 PM hour. People speed around each other there too, and it looked like someone turned in front of someone else.

    I live on 35th Ave NE and have to cross at an intersection without a light every morning to get on the bus. 9 out of 10 cars don’t even slow down when I am standing in the street waiting to cross. I have taken to dramatically holding up my hands to stop traffic, which is completely ridiculous. It’s not I-5.

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