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Councilmember Morales: ‘No excuse’ for city failing to make streets safer

Councilmember Tammy Morales gave a strong statement calling for Seattle to act on its street safety plans following the death of a person biking on 4th Ave S in SoDo last week.

“These fatalities are completely unacceptable because they are completely avoidable,” she said. “There is no excuse for not increasing the safety of our streets and sidewalks for the people of Seattle. No excuse. None. Even in parts of the city where industry thrives, there will be people who cannot or choose not to drive in the city. They deserve to be safe.” She then requested a Vision Zero update to hear the status of existing city safety plans.

“The safety of Seattleites is at risk, especially if we don’t make the investments in safety that we’ve been talking about for the past decade: protected bike infrastructure, sidewalk improvements, ADA compliance, and more,” she added on Twitter. “As part of Vision Zero, we have safety measures that have already been designed. I’m not interested in hearing about any more studies.”

Meanwhile, a recent update on the city’s Rainier Ave S design changes still fails to include desperately-needed bike lanes for the only flat and direct route option between Rainier Valley and downtown.

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2 responses to “Councilmember Morales: ‘No excuse’ for city failing to make streets safer”

  1. eddiew

    The collision was very sad and tragic. It appears the motorist did not look both ways well enough. The cyclist may have been on the sidewalk and came up to the driveway quickly. Fourth Avenue South has sidewalks and curbs; consider the infrastructure deficit on Aurora Avenue North north of North 115th Street where there are no sidewalks at all. Is more access management warranted on 4th Avenue South? The SDOT piece explains the high transit ridership of Route 7. Rainier and MLK are both diagonal and cut across the street grid; both are critical for transit. It is very difficult to provide priority for both transit and bikes on the same arterial. Right of way is often more scarce than funding.

    1. Rainier Valley Bike Commuter

      Rainier Ave S has five wide lanes including a wide center turn lane throughout the project area, and parking on at least one side. All are prioritized for private, often single occupancy vehicles. Buses, bikes, and freight (including the Dairygold factory and multiple grocers) are all left with no dedicated space and are regularly delayed or detoured because of dangerous driving and collisions. (In the last month alone there were several days with multiple collisions along the project area.) Rainier is consistently the first or second most deadly street in the city, despite carrying a fraction of the traffic of Aurora Ave N or Lake City Way NE.

      I agree with you that ROW can be scarce. Surely Rainier Ave S is not one of these cases. We can start by switching two general purpose lanes to Bus/Freight. That leaves the center turn lane, which is mostly useless for everything except for dangerous illegal passes because there are no cross-streets or even driveways for long stretches (see: the Dairygold building). We can easily squeeze a bit more space for 10-12ft of protected bike lanes. Heck, we can do all that without even affecting parking.

      If the city was serious about public safety or its climate change goals, this would’ve happened already. Of course, outside of a few leaders like Morales, it isn’t, and so unless you drive an oversized SUV, you’re left fighting for scraps.

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