Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle DOT, Seattle PD launch traffic safety initiative at Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council members and officials from the Seattle Police Department and Department of Transportation announced “Vision Zero Seattle” during an event outside of the Lake City Library on Thursday afternoon.

Vision Zero Seattle is a program with the aim of ending traffic deaths and injuries in Seattle.

From the Mayor’s office:

While Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, more than 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. In 2014, 3,449 injury collisions were reported to the Seattle Police Department. Fifteen people died in traffic crashes, including five who were walking or riding a bike.

At the core of Vision Zero is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. The Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error. When paired with targeted education and enforcement, the effort will save lives.

The effort will include:

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

  • Reduce the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 mph by the end of 2015.
  • Improve safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes and other engineering improvements.
  • Install 20 mph zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories.
  • Enhance safety on arterials β€” like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and 5th Avenue NE where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur β€” by installing speed reductions, radar speed signs and enhanced street designs.
  • Add twelve new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for kids as they make their way to and from school.
  • Add seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes.
  • Conduct targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement.
  • SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports that this is the second time City of Seattle leaders have gathered press for an announcement to end traffic injuries and deaths. The previous plan announced, the Road Safety Action Plan, had a similar goal. From the Seattle Bike Blog:

Since that plan, the city has launched a brilliant and successful school zone speed camera program, which slows down traffic and helps to fund safety projects like Safe Routes to School. The city also crafted a new Bicycle Master Plan.

But more must be done. Will the new Vision Zero plan be bolder? Will there be serious funding? Stay tuned for details.