CM Johnson calls on SDOT, Mayor to have plan to fix 65th ready by Feb 14

Councilmember Rob Johnson addresses a neighborhood march demanding a safer NE 65th Street in June 2016.

Councilmember Rob Johnson addresses a neighborhood march demanding a safer NE 65th Street in June 2016.

As neighbors once again fired up the well-worn #Fix65th hashtag after yet another person was injured on that street, Councilmember Rob Johnson and Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to expedite an already-budgeted effort to improve safety on NE 65th Street.

“I join my neighbors in their demand that the City #Fix65th,” Johnson said in a joint statement with the Mayor late Thursday. “As a City, we need to emphasize and prioritize investments in critical road safety projects to prevent the next tragedy from occurring. I’m calling on SDOT and Mayor Murray to release a design plan and timeline by Valentine’s Day detailing how they will make NE 65th Street safer because everyone deserves to use our city streets without threat of injury or death.”

The neighbors of NE 65th Street have been very loud and very organized in their calls for a safety project on the street. In June 2016, neighbors organized under the #Fix65th banner and held a march along the street demonstrating the need and public demand for changes. That action was one of many efforts that helped push Councilmember Johnson to add NE 65th Street to the SDOT budget for 2017.

We’ve already waited far too long to fix this street. It’s good to see the city finally moving with the sense of urgency the deaths and serious injuries of our neighbors deserves. SDOT should not only expedite the plan, but also implementation. There are far too many streets like NE 65th Street in our city that need to urgency, as well.

Here’s the full statement from Murray and Johnson:

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Rob Johnson issued the following statements regarding the recent series of pedestrian crashes in Seattle:

“I join many Seattleites in my growing concern over the recent series of crashes involving pedestrians around the city. I am deeply committed to improving pedestrian and bicycle safety and I am directing Scott Kubly, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in coordination with the Seattle Police Department, to review the circumstances of these incidents and determine any action the city should take. Seattle remains committed to the goals of Vision Zero, the plan I announced in 2015 to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through innovative engineering, enforcement and education. Last summer, SDOT announced the reduction of speed limits on many arterial and residential streets in the city, in an effort to achieve this goal. Additionally, SDOT will be expediting $3 million in pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements announced earlier this month. We must do all we can to ensure our streets are safe for all Seattleites.”

“Over the past several days, we have had several tragic collisions on Seattle streets, including another terrible collision on NE 65th Street between a car and a pedestrian this morning,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson. “Today’s collision serves as a tragic reminder of the necessary urgency of actions to make our city streets safer for all users. I stand on NE 65th Street every day with my young daughters as we wait to catch the bus and bear witness to drivers exceeding the speed limits, ignoring pedestrians and bicyclists, and acting recklessly. I join my neighbors in their demand that the City #Fix65th. As a City, we need to emphasize and prioritize investments in critical road safety projects to prevent the next tragedy from occurring. I’m calling on SDOT and Mayor Murray to release a design plan and timeline by Valentine’s Day detailing how they will make NE 65th Street safer because everyone deserves to use our city streets without threat of injury or death.”

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12 Responses to CM Johnson calls on SDOT, Mayor to have plan to fix 65th ready by Feb 14

  1. Andres Salomon says:

    Why does it take multiple deaths, petitions, walks, and a Councilmember to finally get a street fixed?

    Also, wtf is this? “my growing concern over the recent series of crashes involving pedestrians around the city.” There was recently yet another person killed on a bike, but that didn’t seem to elicit a response from the Mayor.

    • William says:

      I am no big fan of the Mayor but the next sentence states “I am deeply committed to improving pedestrian and bicycle safety” so I think his intent is clear.

      • Eli says:

        I think the intent has been very clear from the start: gaslight your constituents into thinking you actually care through lots of words and plans, but no action.

        I couldn’t care less what Mayor Murray says — I only care what he builds. In that sense, he has been a worthless Mayor.

      • William says:

        @Eli – You can blame the mayor and he probably deserves it but is your fellow citizens who continue to drive 40 mph on arterials that now have designated speed limits of 25 mph, who accelerate when the green light turns to amber, who rarely stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crossings, who don’t even know that they are required to do the same for cyclists, and who drive at best with partial deference for the rules of the road. Maybe change needs to start with the residents of Seattle taking responsibility for their own actions rather than blaming it on a hapless mayor.

      • Eli says:

        Every behavior you describe is mediated by SDOT’s choice of street design and SPD’s choice of behavioral enforcement.

        So yes, the Mayor is ultimately 100% responsible.

      • William says:

        @Eli Running a light that has just turned red or failing to stop at a cross walk it is not mediated by Mayor, that is a choice that individual drivers make. There have been half-hearted attempts to install traffic cameras to catch offenders and they are almost universally unpopular and do not survive very long. It would be nice if we had a city government that had a bit more spine to lead on this issue but ultimately safety depends on individuals making the right choice and if a majority of citizens demanded safer streets and the sometimes unpopular measures needed to implement them then we would have them pretty soon.

  2. Travis says:

    I believe the Mayor and Council are committed to Vision Zero. And we’ve seen the Mayor ramrod controversial bike/ped projects thru, Westlake in particular.

    But we’ve also seen the Bike Plan scaled way back and projects delayed. Moreover, large swaths of the city are very poorly served by existing or planned projects.

    I’m optimistic that certain parts of Seattle will have world-class, safe and interconnected infrastructure in a few short years.

    But I’m highly skeptical that the city has the willpower to really connect Seattle’s ignored hinterlands and fix the dozens of 65th Streets all across the city.

    • Andres Salomon says:

      Where else have you seen the Mayor push controversial bike/ped projects through? Westlake was started by McGinn. It already had momentum, and the only way it was pushed by Murray was by trying to find compromise after compromise to retain as much parking as possible until most of the Westlake businesses were happy.. and then they sued anyways. Roosevelt is the only other project that comes to mind as being somewhat controversial, and advocates provided tons of cover for that one..

      Remember when Murray (mistakenly) opposed the NE 75th road diet because (extremely underutilized) parking was lost? It doesn’t get much more anti-Vision Zero than that, and I’m having a hard time convincing myself that his attitude has really changed since then..

      https://www.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/10/24/is-ed-murray-running-to-be-the-anti-bike-lane-mayor

      I’ve been waiting 3 years now for that NE 75th road diet to get extended. :(

      • Travis says:

        Yeah, I was trying to be generous w/ the Mayor. He did play a part in pushing it thru, but point taken.

        Anti-cynicism was my new year’s resolution. I picked a bad year for that.

    • Let's not lower to bar too far says:

      “Mayor ramrod controversial bike/ped projects thru, Westlake in particular.”

      HAhahahahaha. Ooh that’s a good one.

      Westlake was already fully funded and underway when it got held up by a self proclaimed Mega Yacht marina. They then delayed that project and made significant compromises on the design to get it through. Hardly ramrod.

      It would be nice to see the mayor ramrod a safety project, but it just hasn’t happened.

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