The Seattle City Council is currently considering some significant budget additions to combat the terrible increase in traffic deaths and injuries in 2021. Seattle’s increase is part of a horrible nationwide trend, and the city should be a leader in finding solutions that keep people safe.
“Seattle has committed to Vision Zero, the goal to eliminate road-traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030,” wrote Seattle Neighborhood Greenways in a blog post. “But we are failing to reach that goal. One big reason why is that the Vision Zero program has been chronically underfunded. Decades of neglect have created a huge backlog of high-speed streets that see crash after crash, and often lack basic safe places to walk, roll, or bike. Right now, with your help we can triple the Vision Zero budget, and invest in safety projects like sidewalks, safety redesigns, crosswalks, and traffic calming where they are needed most.”
You can voice your support for the various budget actions by using their handy online tool to contact Councilmembers. Here is the text of their form letter:
Dear Seattle City Councilmembers,
Thank you for reviewing the mayor’s transportation budget and making improvements to better match our city’s goals around equity, safety, affordability, climate stability, and health. Please support the following budget priorities:
- Vision Zero: Increase funding for our Vision Zero program, which has strong equity and safety prioritizations. I support both the Mayor’s Vehicle Licsensing Fee spend plan proposal, and the idea to increase the Commercial Parking Tax to fund Vision Zero.
- Solidarity Budget: Defund the Seattle Police Department and reinvest in communities.
Specifically, please support proposed amendments for:
- Safe Places to Walk: Increase funding for sidewalk construction along critical transit corridors and Home Zones for non-arterial neighborhoods, improving safety and access for disabled people, elders, and others.
- Prioritize South End Investments: Including park space for people on Lake Washington Boulevard and street safety on Martin Luther King Way South.
- Remove Data Collection from the Police: Ask SDOT to analyze what it would take to collect street safety and crash data in order to move this work away from the Seattle Police Department.
- Smart Planning: Demand accountability for the “Citywide Integrated Transportation Plan,” which may undercut efforts to make safer streets.
Asking because I’m a bad person and not because I’m blaming them: does the Vision Zero team have an explanation for why pedestrian fatalities seem to have increased so much after Vision Zero was enacted? The trend actually seems to have been pretty flat from 2005-2015.
we can make educated guesses about the correlation. a plan is just a plan; implementation requires time, planning, action, funding, right of way allocation. in the meantime, we had Covid; that led to less driving and more speed; collisions at higher speeds are more deadly. vehicles are larger and more deadly. more folks may have been walking due to Covid outside of the CBD. are drivers more distracted?
Without a visual police presence street infractions will rise increasing both cycling and pedestrian risk. hen there is an incident ho will be called to sort it out? Will not support.