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.
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.