Police find Tahoe involved in hit and run of 7-year-old + City announces safety project on nearby Rainier Ave

Seattle Police announced Friday that they have found and impounded the red Chevy Tahoe they believe struck and critically injured a seven-year-old girl at MLK and Genesee Tuesday.

Now they are on the search to find the person behind the wheel who hit her and chose to flee the scene, leaving the child unresponsive in the middle of the street. They are still seeking information, so if you know anything that might help place a person in the driver’s seat you should call detectives at (206) 684-8923.

The child was crossing MLK in the crosswalk on her way to a tutoring session at the Boys and Girls Club with her two sisters when she was struck, KIRO TV reports. Witnesses, who were clearly shaken up by what they had seen, said the person driving did not even slow down before fleeing the scene.

She remains at Harborview. We send her and her family our best wishes.

City outlines plan for a safer Rainier Ave

In our original report, we noted that since 2007 there have been six serious collisions involving people walking or biking within a block of where she was struck (seven now, counting Tuesday’s collision). Expand the range to ten blocks and the count climbs to at least 32, according to a map of city data curated by the Seattle Times.

The city was already engaged with residents pushing for a safer Rainier Ave following some scary collisions on the street earlier this year, including two people who drove cars into storefronts in Columbia City. Community members took to the streets to protest the dangerous street and bring awareness to the need for more careful driving. The action led to a community meeting in September to kick-start efforts to improve safety on the street.

Wednesday, less than a day after the hit and run, the city Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang followed-up with neighbors by outlining the schedule for the road safety project on Rainier. The city will work with community members during the fall, winter and spring to develop a safety plan that will be implemented by next summer.

Here’s his email:

Thank you for attending the September 17th community meeting with SDOT about Rainier Avenue. SDOT will launch a Road Safety Corridor Project on Rainier Avenue South in November 2014. We will work in collaboration with the community to consider changes to Rainier Avenue South in an effort to reduce speeds and collisions to make the roadway safer for all users. Together we will determine the specific nature and design elements of these changes through the process described below:

Phase 1 – Issue Identification Meetings (Feedback Sessions). In November 2014, we will work with Department of Neighborhood to host a series of community engagement meetings. We will share traffic data, listen to community concerns, and develop strategies to lower vehicle speeds and reduce collisions. These meetings will be open to the general public and will be publicized through a variety of channels.

Phase 2 – Conceptual Designs

December 2014 – February 2015

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

Phase 3 – Design Alternative Review Meetings in February 2015. We will hold a series of community meetings to review proposed design alternatives, potential implementation timeline, and gather feedback from the community.

Phase 4 – Announcement of Preferred Alternative April/May 2015. Open house style meeting(s) to review SDOT’s preferred alternative and implementation schedule.

Phase 5 – Implementation

SDOT will implement in Spring or Summer of 2015

Sincerely,

Dongho Chang, PE, PTOE

City Traffic Engineer

This is great news for Rainier Valley, and a sign that after decades of largely ignoring the problem, the city finally wants to take action. If you’re looking for a way to submit your thoughts, the city has an online survey open for people who could not make the September meeting. You can also get involved with Rainier Valley Greenways, whose next meeting is 6:30 p.m. October 21 at the Bike Works programming space (3715 S. Hudson Ave).

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10 Responses to Police find Tahoe involved in hit and run of 7-year-old + City announces safety project on nearby Rainier Ave

  1. Steve Campbell says:

    Hopefully the latest Road Safety Corridor project on Rainier will be more effective than the one SDOT did a few years ago.

  2. Cheif says:

    Who exactly has decided that the city won’t do _anything_ regarding road safety improvements in areas that are well known to need restructuring until someone is killed (2nd ave), or a child run over (as in this case)? This reactionary streets improvement is a terrible policy that does nothing but guarantee people are going to keep getting hurt and killed. Something needs to be done citywide now. No more hit and runs on children. No more people on foot and bike getting killed because of inattention. Any politicians read this blog? Anyone who decides anything at all? I keep saying it: 20 MPH limit (that means NO FASTER THAN 20) on streets in city limits and enforcement cameras on every block. Nothing else is acceptable.

    • RTK says:

      You can add NE 75th St to your list. This freeway like arterial received a reasonably quick re-channelizing only after a high profile accident with multiple deaths and multiple people in the hospital. This was right by a school, but SDOT only acted in reaction.

    • ChefJoe says:

      And the bikes will have license plates and be limited to 20 mph too on all streets, right ? Because the last thing we need is more bicycles rocketing by faster than cars.

      • doug says:

        I would say less than 5% of folks on bikes are capable of maintaining anything close to 20mph on the flat. The only time this could even approach being a problem is on big down hills, the biggest of which are all arterials that will never have a 20mph speed limit anyways.

      • Anandakos says:

        Hey, motorized assasin, maybe one cyclist in fifty can ride faster than twenty except downhill. Your concern trolling is not welcome.

  3. Carl says:

    Chief I agree there should be cameras on every block in the city..
    But 20 MPH ? Wow where is the fire ?
    If the speed limit is 20 MPH you know people will be driving 25 or 30 MPH all the time.
    So if we made the city wide speed limit 15 MPH or even 10 MPH then when people are
    going 5 or 10 MPH over the speed limit they would still be traveling at a speed that
    that would help every one feel safer…..

  4. Van says:

    I’m relieved to hear she’s been upgraded to ‘stable,’ I hope she makes a full recovery and goes on to all the things a girl should get to do in her life, school, activities with friends. So very many things….

    I think 30 mph should be the speed limit in the city, at the absolute maximum, but honestly, I’d be happier with 25 mph. Try enforcing either, the outrage and reactionary vitriol would overshadow any tragedy involved. And the improvements on 2nd have a very long long way to go. There is still no audio signal for blind pedestrians (which who decided downtown would have NO audio signals?), no signal delay so pedestrians fight with oncoming cars to cross when both are signaled to go. I take pictures of it everyday not because I’m angry at the drivers, just scared. I’ve seen people mistake their pedals in a brain fart before. I’m angry at SDOT for constantly waiting on until there’s a body count.
    I’m not asking for a series of pedestrian bridges running north south east and west, though think how awesome that would be, if you knew you could walk and avoid cars straight through? But either a light delay or a series of upraising steel columns that blocked traffic timed to the signal, would save lives at so many crosswalks. Not just on 2nd, not just on Rainier, but all over the city.
    If that was the case I would encourage the ticketing of jay walkers, and even raising the speed limit to 35 mph for cars.
    Again, enforcing any of these ideas carries a whole lot of backlash that I don’t think most politicians have the spine to take.

  5. Joseph Singer says:

    Part of the problem on major arterials such as Rainier Ave. S. and 23rd Ave. S. is that people go too fast. Speed limit unless otherwise posted is 30 M.P.H. Cars often go 40 M.P.H. on those streets and collisions are often the result.

    • Anandakos says:

      That’s exactly the point of a road diet. Make Rainier through Columbia City and Hillman City one lane each direction with a center left turn lane and add bus bulbs so the buses can stop right in traffic.

      Yes, this would force traffic onto parallel MLK but it can be made more safe by actual enforcement.

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