Between 2011 and 2014, people driving on West Seattle’s 35th Ave SW (AKA “I-35”) crashed 294 times, injuring 128 people and killing two. That’s an average of two crashes and one injury nearly every week.
This high rate of collisions and injuries will not stop until we do something to stop it. And that’s exactly what Seattle’s highly-successful Road Safety Corridor program aims to do.
You can support the city’s street safety plan at a public meeting 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday at Neighborhood House High Point.
The southern section of the street already received safety improvements last year. Let’s finish the job.
Unfortunately, the plan does not include bike lanes on the street. Instead, the city has committed to build a “parallel” neighborhood greenway. As usual, it’s important to push back on this idea that a parallel greenway meets the safety and access needs of people on bikes, especially when the options are less direct and more hilly than the arterial street near it.
In this case, calming the street to reduce injuries is the primary goal, and bike lanes are not on the table. It’s important to support the safety changes and not let perfect be the enemy of good (this is a compromise). And there are some people in the neighborhood who don’t want any changes at all, which would maintain the unacceptable collision and injury rate on the street.
But the city also needs to know that a nearby neighborhood greenway very often does not fully serve the needs of people trying to get around by bike. It’s also important to make sure the neighborhood greenway is high quality, including all needed connections and traffic diverters to reduce cut-through traffic. And most importantly, it needs to be as direct as possible, unlike the nearby Delridge greenway, which has six turns and crosses the same busy street twice over the course of just six blocks as you can see in the map above.
Neighbors in favor of the safety changes including West Seattle Greenways updated supporters with this message:
What can you do? Let the city know safety is a priority for you, and that you want them to expand the safety redesign, build safer crosswalks across 35th Ave SW and a parallel neighborhood greenway for people walking and biking.
Where/When: This Thursday, August 4th 7-9 PM at Neighborhood House High Point, Room 207, 6400 Sylvan Way SW.
Why? We know there will be many opponents at the meeting trying to turn back the clock to recreate the infamously dangerous “I-35.” But if people who care about safety, like you, show up we can make a better street for everyone.
Thank you for caring and taking action! It’s people like you who make our city a great place to live.