There have been more than 60 collisions on Rainier Ave since May 20, when a group of neighbors held an afternoon of protests calling for a safer Rainier Valley for everyone.
So far this year, the street is keeping its normal pace of one collision every day. Sometimes people involved get away with just property damage and higher insurance rates. But sometimes, people are seriously injured or killed. It’s a roll of the dice on Seattle’s most dangerous neighborhood street.
But the city is finally taking safe streets in Rainier Valley seriously, and they have a whole bunch of different projects in motion to address the problem both short-term and long-term:
- Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor
- Rainier Valley North-South Neighborhood Greenway
- Accessible Mt. Baker
- Rainier Beach Traffic Safety Improvements
- And (news to me) an MLK Way Traffic Calming Project
You can learn more about all of them at an open house 7–9 p.m. today (July 30) at the Rainier Community Center.
This would be a good time to emphasize the need for safe bike lanes on Rainier Ave, even if they don’t make it into the quick safety redesign planned in the coming months. But most importantly, support safety improvements and get involved.
Speaking of safe streets in Rainier Valley, Josh Feit at Seattle Met wrote a great story about Zeytuna Edo and the community uprising against dangerous streets in the neighborhood. It features Phyllis Porter from Bike Works and Rainier Valley Greenways explaining how the neighborhood conversation about the outsized danger of this street has shifted in a very short period of time. It’s definitely a must read.
More details on the open house, from SDOT:
Want to help make Rainier Valley a safer and more mobile place to live and work? Join SDOT at our open house on July 30 from 7-9 pm to learn about the projects improving the way people live and travel.
The meeting will be held at the Rainier Community Center on 4600 38th Avenue South. Interpreters in Cambodian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Somali, Amharic, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Oromo will be present, along with treats and child care.
At the open house, we’ll share updates on current projects and the results of intensive data collection and public input on how to make Rainier Avenue South operate more safely for all travelers. We will also facilitate questions and field answers and comments to reflect the priorities of the Rainier Valley community.
With the help of the public’s feedback and use of data we are taking steps to achieve Seattle’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries. Working in Rainier Valley is one way we hope to improve the lives of all who value this neighborhood. Once completed, these projects will make it easier and safer for people to walk, bike, ride transit and drive in the area.
Key projects that we will discuss include:
Rainier Valley North-South Neighborhood Greenway
We’re excited to unveil the most promising route for this neighborhood greenway Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016. The greenway extends six miles from Rainier Beach to the I-90 trail through a series of streets with slower posted speed limits. This route provides additional connections to existing greenways and one under construction. It will also create a bicyclist and pedestrian friendly solution to community destinations such as parks, schools and stores. . Check out a map of the route and recommended safety improvements on our project page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/rainiervalleygreenways2.htm
Accessible Mt. Baker
This project is currently studies ways to implement safety improvements for those using the Link light rail station and traveling through the Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Rainier Avenue South intersection. The project encompasses a long-term multimodal approach that is consistent with the North Rainier Neighborhood Plan. Some of the proposals under consideration include restoring historic boulevard connections, creating additional links to parks and recreational areas, as well as maintaining unique cultural and community elements. For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/accessibleMtBaker.htm
Rainier Avenue South Road Safety Corridor
Once this project is built, people who travel along this busy street will notice safety enhancements and increased traffic predictability. Using tools like retimed traffic signals and pedestrian enhancements will help us address current behavioral issues like people speeding, or driving distracted. The project limits extend along Rainier Ave S from Charlestown St to Seward Park Ave S with construction planned for this year. For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/rainieraves.htm
Jay inslee’s smart choice to keep alternative transportation funding in place and politicians and society finally showing respect to non motorists helps us move forward with this goal. I have been hit before, my fault. This is before now, much smarter about bicycle riding safety then before. I was in the shoulder riding against traffic and front rim hit and destroyed. If it had been 2 seconds later, my leg would have been crushed. Luckily I was riding a cheap bike. Even in cases like mine, some have little money, they would not able to repair a quality bicycle, that could devastating, let alone being permanently disabled. I support safer riding. It is sad all these accidents. What we need to do as well is get rid of criminals there as well. The high crime adds to danger. If we can lower crime and make safer streets that would really clean up that community.
This routing is a disaster. Coming north you could simply follow Renton Avenue on its natural route, merge onto 35th Ave S which become Letitia, and end up on 35th Ave South on the other side of Rainier at an already controlled intersection. This is already a signed bike route. The proposed route is not, and for a reason I can’t comprehend, they literally make a hard right off the most natural route and go on this fantastic journey of turns, chicanes, etc. saving riders nothing and confusing the heck out of them.
The route turns left then right every 2 blocks for over a mile – new cyclists looking for their way to downtown will lose the path. There were 2 alternatives with streets that naturally flowed into one another, both scuttled. How do the stop signs for crossing traffic work when every 2-3 blocks you’re pulling these Left-then-Right maneuvers? Drivers in the area will get confused or frustrated or both and hit cyclists. With this routing it’s just going to happen.
Halfway down a long, smooth hill on Renton Ave S, we want people to come to a screeching halt and turn past 90 degrees to their right, then immediately turn left again, go for a few blocks, cross Rainier going 2 blocks east so they can come back 1 block west so they can continue north? This made sense to someone? Do they ride a bike?
The route veers AWAY from the light rail, a common cyclist intermodal with established, covered racks, lockers, etc. It veers away from the massive residential development and density (which we’d love to be more bike-able) It ignores established routes, goes 12 blocks out of its way to serve Orca school and can’t be bothered to go 2 blocks on a route with an EXISTING BIKE LANE to touch Hawthorne Elementary?
This smacks of a process that a few people from the nice part of the neighborhood rode hard until they bent it to their will. People will ignore this route and go the more logical way. It’s a terrible plan. It won’t get used – people will use the more logical paths north and south. As a result it’s a waste of money.