Progress made on Vision Zero Campaign, City reports

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 www.seattle.gov/visionzero.

Vision Zero campaign launched in effort to stop local traffic deaths

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Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT and SPD came together yesterday to launch Vision Zero, a comprehensive plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through a combination of engineering, enforcement and education.

“Our Vision Zero campaign will educate people who drive, bike and walk on how we can all work together to make our streets safer,” said Mayor Ed Murray.

Despite Seattle being consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the US, according to the City of Seattle, over 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. During last year alone, 3,449 injury collisions were reported to the SPD. 15 people died in traffic crashes, including five who were walking or riding a bike.

The fundamental belief of Vision Zero is the notion that death and injury on Seattle streets is preventable. The campaign aims to emphasize smarter street designs, launch targeted education campaigns and enforce regulations in an effort to save local lives.

“Implementing the Vision Zero initiative is vital to creating a safer transportation system,” said Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee. “The way we design our streets, enforce the rules, and educate the public does make a difference. But, most importantly, each of us whether we walk, bike or drive must do our part to make our streets safer for all.”

During 2015, the Vision Zero campaign will make the following changes to make local streets safer:

  • 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.

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In terms of changes in our local area (see map on right), locals are set to see the following areas with reduced speed limits (most reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph):

  • Two miles of Greenwood Ave N
  • Areas on Holman Rd NW
  • Areas on Seaview Ave NW
  • The Magnolia Bridge

In order to enforce the new changes the following measures will also be put in place:

  • At least 12 new cameras will be installed in six school zones.
  • SPD will inform and enforce risky behaviors including distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding in high crash locations.
  • Pedestrian Safety Emphasis Patrols will be out enforcing laws about drivers failing to yield to pedestrians and “blocking the box” at crosswalks.
  • Corridor Safety Patrols will be targeting corridor specific safety issues on major streets.
  • Bicycle Safety Emphasis Patrols will enforce traffic laws in locations where bicycle collisions are frequent.

“The Seattle Police Department’s number one priority is public safety,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “Our officers are often the first responders to traffic incidents and we know that more can be done to increase traffic safety,”

Click here to read the entire plans for the Vision Zero Seattle campaign.

Photo and image courtesy of City of Seattle.