News for Seattle's Ballard neighborhood and beyond

My Ballard header image 2

Progress made on Vision Zero Campaign, City reports

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on May 12th, 2017

The City of Seattle has released its 2017 Vision Zero Progress Report, which highlights steps the City has taken to move closer to its Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Vision Zero was launched in 2015 as a citywide, collaborative effort to improve street safety for everyone. Since then, the City has supported Vision Zero with more than $200 million in funding through the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle.

For the past two years, Seattle has moved forward on a number of engineering, enforcement, and education efforts to meet this aggressive goal and improve safety for all travelers:

  • Redesigned portions of Seattle’s most crash-prone streets, making them safer travel for people driving, walking, biking, and riding transit
  • Improved coordination between SDOT and the Seattle Police Department to enhance enforcement efforts and target top contributing circumstances to crashes (speeding, impairment, distraction, failure to yield to pedestrians)
  • Reduced the speed limit on 2,400 miles of residential (non-arterial) streets and 75 miles of center city arterials, because slowing down to the speed of life is critical to reaching Vision Zero
  • Partnered with transportation companies to reduce impaired driving by offering discounted rides in nightlife hotspots
  • Developed an approach to reach out to underrepresented communities, as they often bear a disproportionate burden of crashes

“Seattle is one of the safest cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean we should accept death and injury as a byproduct of commuting,” says SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “We will continue to retool our streets with an emphasis on safety versus speed.”

The City knows that ending traffic deaths will not happen overnight. Vision Zero is a long-term goal that Seattle can only achieve with a steady stream of changes to our streets and our behavior.

While SDOT has seen trends headed in the right direction,preventable tragedies still do occur. Over the past two years, more than 40 people have lost their lives as a result of traffic collisions. Another 300 people have been seriously injured. People walking and biking, and older adults continue to be overrepresented in serious and fatal crashes.

“I’m proud that Seattle is a national leader on safety, but there is more work ahead,” says City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “To reach our goal of zero traffic deaths, we need to do everything we can to make sure our kids, older adults, and everyone in between can get around our growing city safely.”

In the months ahead, SDOT plan to:

  • Continue focusing on high crash corridors
  • Improve pedestrian safety by installing more than 40 leading pedestrian intervals to give people walking a head start in crosswalks
  • Expand turn restrictions in some locations
  • Review speed limits in urban villages where vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur most often
  • Build 50 blocks of new sidewalks

Read more about has been achieved done and where the City is headed in their Vision Zero Progress Report, available at

Tags: Ballard   Share

38 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Kirk Robbins // May 15, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Why didn’t they include any data about traffic fatalities? How will they (and we) know whether their actions and expenditures are accomplishing the desired results?

  • 2 30sballarddad // May 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Anyone who drives through inner-bay on 15th/elliot should hate vision 0. 35 MPH on a 6 lane divided arterial is


  • 3 He Hate Me // May 15, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    First off, it’s called Interbay. Secondly, the speed limit is 30 there, not 35. Thirdly, it’s not a freakin’ highway, it’s a city street. Slow the fuck down and drive the speed limit. Fourthly, people driving cars kill people; slow the fuck down. And finally, slow down. Because it doesn’t make a difference, you’re going to get stopped at the next stop light anyway and anyone you passed will catch up to you.

  • 4 gobigblue // May 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    15th/Elliott is not a 6-lane divided highway. There are only 2 lanes in either direction, and BAT lanes. Before commenting, you should check your facts.

  • 5 Johnny // May 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I don’t think you can call it a highway when there’s a traffic light every 1/2 mile or so.

    Believe it or not, I see many pedestrians on Elliott, not so many on I-5

  • 6 guesty // May 15, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    @3, your language is uncalled for. this stretch can be safely navigated at much higher speeds than 30 mph.

    the “vision zero” storyline is nice if you live in a fantasy world. there will always be traffic/ped/bike related fatalities – way too many humans. its a nice slogan for politicians though.

  • 7 shane // May 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    It is easy enough to drive 50 mph on 15th/Elliot. No cars ahead and clear sailing at the right time of day. The only speed limit is the bumper in front of you!

  • 8 Profile photo of JM98107 JM98107 // May 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Yahoo, you still see people speeding with a phone up against their head.

  • 9 Truth // May 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

    @guesty: Ability to safely navigate a roadway (as subjective as that is) is a small part of determining the speed limit. Read through AASHTO sometime.

    I think He Hate Me’s language fits the situation perfectly. We are sick and tired tired of people getting killed because some selfish fuck thinks they have the right to go as fast as they can.

    And your comment on “way too many humans” as the reason that there will always be traffic related fatalities: you are right, no matter how safe people drive, how attentive pedestrians are and how safe our infrastructure is, there will still be fatalities. But the rate of fatalities in Seattle and the rest of the country is on par with a lot of second and third world countries. Most first world countries seem to have figured it out. The key is to stop treating driving like the right it isn’t and start treating it like the privilege it is. If someone doesn’t want to drive like a civilized human being, they can find some other way to get around.

  • 10 Josh // May 16, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    If it didn’t take long enough to get where you are going in Seattle, it just keeps getting longer and longer since potty mouth bicycle riders are terrorizing the locals with their green agenda.
    The problem on Elliott is vehicles making left turns. If they would do there what they did on Hwy 99 north of N 145th St there would be a lot fewer vehicle collisions.
    The other accidents are caused by bicycles using the express bus lanes, forcing everyone to move in and out of it to get around them and riders hit because someone pulling out did not see them since they were worried about seeing Metro buses. They also do not tow parked cars blocking the lane fast enough.
    Granted people drive too fast, but the more you try to force them to a crawl, they more they resist by driving like lunatics.
    Let’s not leave out derelicts that walk across the street everywhere. Hard to keep from hitting a few of them once in a while. How about some jaywalking enforcement?
    How about enforcing traffic laws against bicycles? That would save a number of injuries.
    Cars are getting all the blame but they are not the cause for all of the problems. Just blamed for them by the bicycle lobby.

  • 11 Rodney // May 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm


    Cool story bro

  • 12 AW // May 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    There are reasons we have speed limits and other traffic laws – they are to keep the users of the road safe. If you speed or otherwise drive like a d*ck then you are putting others in danger and you do not belong on the road.

    It is absolutely feasible to just about eliminate traffic deaths and injuries and it requires getting the d*cks off the road by either taking away their privilege to drive or retraining them not to be d*cks.

  • 13 AW // May 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    @Josh – What laws aren’t being enforced against bicycles that are enforced against drivers and cause injuries ?

  • 14 Kirk Robbins // May 16, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    @AW : What is the meaning of “absolutely feasible to just about”?

    Let’s see some DATA supporting all these claims. Driving 35 or even 40 mph on 15th Ave W is not inherently unsafe to drivers or passengers or law-abiding pedestrians, presumably and until data is presented to the contrary.

  • 15 Truth // May 16, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    @Kirk: A quick Google for “Pedestrians and their survivability at different impact speeds” will show many, many, many studies, complete with data and analysis showing that 30 is more conducive to pedestrian safety than 40.

    I’ve shown you my data, now you show me yours. Or are you chicken?

  • 16 Biff Sparky // May 17, 2017 at 6:52 am

    # 15/9; do you do everything you’re told, all the time? You do realize until these same theoreticians/authoritarians are NEVER going to be happy until they force us out of our autos. You see, they bring freedom, something you hero’s don’t care for. Until I see bicyclists with license plates, I don’t believe these clowns are serious. Until they ban alcohol + stop every car and confiscate each cell phone, this is a joke. But the conditioning goes on, unabated. It gives touchy-feely folks like you yet another opportunity to get on your high horse and look down on “the little people”. God I get so effing tired of this and your hero’s running my life.

  • 17 Kirk Robbins // May 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

    @Truth — I was asking about the experience on 15th W, the rates and causes of fatalities there. What is the record on that road? Doesn’t anyone know?

  • 18 Truth // May 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

    @Biff: Oh dear, you’re off your meds again, aren’t you, snowflake?

    No one is going to or can force you out of your car, unless you commit a certain infraction that results in the loss of your license. Good lord, you’re just like the people that cry that every Democratic president is “coming for their guns”. Yet, they now own more guns than ever, to the delight and profit of the gun manufacturer industry.

    And we’ve gone over this before: Seattle tried bicycle license plates. The program cost too much, was losing money and was effectively unenforceable.

  • 19 Truth // May 17, 2017 at 9:12 am

    @Kirk: Google “SDOT Traffic Reports”. The latest is the 2016 report. Lots of good data in there.

  • 20 Kirk Robbins // May 17, 2017 at 9:28 am

    How many pedestrian fatalities on 15th W. by year, and who was at fault?

  • 21 Speedy Gonsmithy // May 17, 2017 at 10:18 am

    It’s easy to hit 50 on I-15 Ave. Just slow down by the Dravus st bridge, that’s where the cops hang out.

  • 22 Speedy Gonsmithy // May 17, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Can the buses at least be allowed to run down the cyclists doing 15mph in the bus lane, holding up all the transit users?

  • 23 Truth // May 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    @Kirk: I can’t tell if you’re serious, but if there’s a 2016 report, obviously there’s also a 2015, 2014, 2013, etc. Each report has a section that shows spots of pedestrian fatality on a City map.

    If you want the cause/fault, look up the police report.

    If you want to know about the change to 30 MPH, call up SDOT and ask for their study that justified the change.

    If you want to know the answers, do some fucking basic research.

  • 24 Speedy Gonsmithy // May 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

    “their study that justified the change.”

    Yeah, I looked at their fatality map. There were 15 roads deaths on I5. That’s right, pedestrians on I5.

    Several on Aurora ave between the zoo and downtown (no lights).

    Problem in this town seems to be the pedestrians or maybe we should make the speed limit on I5 20 mph and insist all cars get wrapped in bubble wrap so they don’t run down hobos stumbling across streets?

  • 25 30sballarddad // May 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    1) I did not call it a highway
    2) It’s 6 lanes. If the rapid transit lanes (which I used this morning on the bus) were sectioned off, I would have called it 4 lanes. Cars can use them to turn, diverting slower traffic to the side. Bikes can use them to ride in.
    3) The federal highway administration, on its published methodology for determining speed limit standards lists as:

    Arterial/Minor/Urban/Undivided: 45mph
    Arterial/Major/Urban/Undivided: 50mph
    Arterial/Minor/Urban/Divided: 50mph
    Arterial/Major/Urban/Divided: 55mph

    Yes, the FHA goes on to state these are the upper speed limit suggestions. But 30 is incredibly slower than the suggested 55mph (which I’m not advocating). Virtually anywhere else in the U.S., this would be a 45 mph zone (and was 40 mph until a few years ago).

    I’m also pro-residential streets being 20mph in Seattle. The majority of residential streets in Seattle are chocked full of parked cars making viability poor.

    Somewhere there has to be a reasonable trade off between the cumulative time it takes to get from point A to point B and safety. As others above have pointed out, why not just make everything in the whole city 25 mph.

    Surely anywhere that is currently 25 mph or above in Seattle could still result in a pedestrian death (yes I have read the same vision 0 statistics). Wouldn’t be worth it to save just one life and make street 25mph or lower? How about making the sounder and freight trains go at 10 mph through Seattle so they can stop in time if there is someone on the tracks. That would save lives too.

    Lastly, I will not slow the heck down when I drive 35. I still get passed by almost everyone on the road.

  • 26 marissa // May 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    What’s the rush? I’m all for slowing it down and potentially saving lives. Driving a single occupancy vehicle is a privilege and a convenience, not a right.

    Needing to get somewhere fast sounds like a personal time management problem that you need to fix on your own time (emergency and first responders get a free pass, of course).

  • 27 Kirk Robbins // May 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Sounds like an argument for a 10 mph speed limit everywhere. The logic is the same — and so there’s a study showing that 10 mph is less fatal than 15 mph. What’s your rush?
    15th Ave W is a truck route. The slower you make travel time, the higher are transport costs. Raises the price of everyone’s everything since almost all our tangible goods come to us by truck.

  • 28 Truth // May 18, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    @Kirk: Sure, release your studies justifying a 10 MPH speed limit. Until then, you’re just grasping at straws. An extra 90 seconds won’t raise the price of goods. Trust me.

  • 29 Richard // May 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Seattle has a War on Cars. SDOT has won and we (drivers ) have lost. It would be a dream come true to remove every Bus lane, Bike lane and Idiot Circle and return the roads back to the day when SDOT spent Our time and money fixing roads and not ruining them. But its to late its just not going to happen they are intent on making it worse. I have lived in Ballard 51 years. I’m in the process of selling my Ballard Restate and moving. I can no longer make a living sitting in traffic. Maybe when this latest surge of prosperity has died out and people find out they need to work a real job again SDOT will realize what they have done. Will the last one leaving Seattle please turn off the lights.

  • 30 He Hate Me // May 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    War on Cars? Maybe, but the cars are winning. The vast majority of our roadways are dedicated to the automobile and automobile use is heavily subsidized by our government.

    Traffic is much worse now and getting worse everyday. It’s not because of bike lanes or bus lanes, it’s because more people are moving here and driving.

    The answer isn’t more cars or even more roads or higher speed limits, because they’ve been proven to not make a difference. Roads are made for moving people and goods, not cars. Roads move people more efficiently with buses and bikes.
    Just because you can’t envision the future doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.

  • 31 Truth // May 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    @Richard: We can’t thank you enough for moving out and letting the more future minded people take over.

    Traffic is only going to get worse, because there’s no more room to build roads. Bus lanes actually help your commute because the bus lanes can carry way more people than a single occupancy lane ever will. And believe you me, a 5 ft bike lane does not have the negative effect on traffic that you might think it does.

    So have fun wherever you may move to get away from traffic. I hear Twisp is nice during the summers. Omak has no traffic, but the summers are hell and the winters are worse.

    And don’t worry: after your sorry, out of touch ass leaves town, the City will continue to prosper. Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you!

    Sorry for telling it like it is, snowflake.

  • 32 Richard // May 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

    A Bus has no advantage over a Car in terms of efficiency. Its only advantage is it takes less room on the road. I see that the 3 percent of people who ride a bike to work are well represented here.The future must be coming slowly as 3 percent seems to be holding steady.

  • 33 Truth // May 20, 2017 at 10:04 am

    @Richard: The average passenger miles per gallon for a metro bus is 44 mpg. That’s almost double the average SOV, which is around 24 mpg. That coupled with your true statement that they take up less room on the road (understatement of the year, but true, nonetheless) makes it seem like we should devote MORE space and money on buses.

    And 3% will grow in time. It would also grow faster if we spent 3% of SDOT’s budget on bicycle facilities. Considering SDOT’s 2016 budget was around $410 million, wake me up when they spend $12/year on bicycles.

    These facts were brought to you by Google®. If you want to post on the internet and not look like a fool, use Google®.

  • 34 Richard // May 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Google is very clear about how a Bus is no more efficient that Cars.

  • 35 Kirk Robbins // May 20, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Citing Google as a source is likf citing the Libeary. It’s a transparent bluff. The difference is that libraries don’t use algorithms to loop back to confirm your biases

  • 36 Kirk Robbins // May 20, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Citing Google as a source is likf citing the Libeary. It’s a transparent bluff. The difference is that libraries don’t use algorithms to loop back to confirm your biases.

  • 37 Truth // May 21, 2017 at 10:51 am

    @Truth: You say that, but there’s a large portion of our population that would have their outlooks on life completely changed if they actually used Google or a library to test their opinions. Is it an end-all for citations? No, but it’s better than nothing.

  • 38 Truth // May 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Aw jeez, looks like I’m talking to myself again. Obviously that was directed at Kirk.

Leave a Comment (read our comment rules)

News from the Seattle Times

Skip to toolbar