Meeting between city, neighborhood representatives yields NE 75th St improvement plan

In the early afternoon of Monday, April 1, before the Memorial Walk for the Schulte family, neighborhood groups, pedestrian/bicycle safety advocates, and staff from Eckstein Middle School, gathered at Eckstein (3003 NE 75th St). They met with representatives from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the Mayor’s Office, and the Seattle Police Department and discussed plans to improve the safety of NE 75th Street.

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The Mayor’s Office met with SDOT several times throughout the last week, and developed a list of planned improvements and actions for NE 75th Street (4 KB PDF; presented to the assembled groups that afternoon), including:

• Installing a flashing school zone beacon on Northeast 75th Street in front of the school

• SDOT will begin the process of evaluating and potentially installing a school zone speed camera on Northeast 75th Street

• The crosswalk at Northeast 68th Street and 25th Avenue Northeast will be remarked with fresh and highly visible paint

• The intersection of Northeast 68th Street and 25th Ave Northeast will be evaluated for a traffic signal

• SDOT will install new pedestrian countdown heads [crosswalk signs with timers] at 75th Street Northeast and Northeast 31st Street

• SDOT has already installed pedestrian countdown heads at 75th Street Northeast and Northeast 35th Street

The timeline for these improvements shows a tentative completion date of August 2013 (just before Seattle Public Schools are back in session for the 2013-1014 school year).

Read more about the planned street safety improvements on the Mayor’s blog, here.

Comments

  1. David Johnson says:

    These are all welcome improvements but none of them will prevent a drunk from getting into their vehicle and plowing through all of the improvements to create another tragedy. It is very easy to make these type of improvements in the face of tragedy and feel like we are doing something when the real problem for our society is having the will and the laws to keep drunks from driving. In this case we cannot blame the road, which has a fairly good safety record; it is the drunk who chose to drink and drive that deserves all of the blame.

  2. Joey McFeron says:

    Our hearts go out to the family. We are heartbroken at their loss, and we pray daily for the recovery of those who were so badly injured.
    I agree with David’s comment above. If pedestrians were hit by a sober person driving at or about the speed limit, then it would make sense to make traffic changes. But that is not the case. The driver’s blood alcohol was extremely high, he was speeding, not looking, did not even slow down, in short, he was breaking the laws we already have in place to protect people.
    Keep in mind that a school zone camera will forever annoy and punish those who live responsibly nearby, who drive this street multiple times a day and who are careful to obey the laws and watch out for pedestrians. One slip up and here comes the ticket in the mail. Also, this didn’t happen during school hours.
    When something terrible happens, there is an urge to take control and we think that if we just DO something, we can stop this kind of thing from happening again. We can’t always stop bad things from happening. Let’s think this through and make sure when we act, instead of responding emotionally, we are doing something that makes sense.

  3. William Wilcock says:

    I agree with the two earlier comments that none of these improvements will prevent a drunk from creating another tragedy but nevertheless this portion of NE 75th St is unsafe compared with other arterials in the neighborhood. I am surprised that there is no discussion of putting traffic lights at the intersection of NE 75th St and 30th Ave NE. For traffic heading north on 30th Ave NE it is extremely difficult to turn left onto NE 75th St because one has to negotiate poor vision down the hill to the west due to shrubbery and a dip in the road and cars coming over the crest of the hill to the east. It is bedlam at this intersection in the morning when large numbers of parents are dropping of kids on 30th Ave NE and in the process trying to exit and/or enter the flow of traffic on NE 75th Street while also avoiding children crossing 30th Ave NE on their way to school. A school zone speed camera would certainly help calm this the junction but is also unsafe at other times.

  4. The roads are TOO good: too smooth, too wide, too easy to drive FAST. One solution would be to tear up the asphalt and let everyone struggle along SLOWLY on dirt roads — the sure solution to too-fast driving.

  5. Roosevelt Dad says:

    My wife just yesterday witnessed an angry driver who only reluctantly stopped at the crossing at the top of the hill in front of Eckstein for a woman with a 2 or 3 year old (both on foot). The driver was westbound on 75th, (as was the drunk who caused the most recent tragedy). My wife said the sun may have been in his eyes, but he was angry about being required to stop even though she had the light and a crosswalk. A large part of the problem is entitled drivers for whom pedestrians are an inconvenience, just a fly on the windshield.

    I think speed bumps might be a good idea, on the approach to the top of the hill in both directions.

  6. I went to a meeting on April 2nd, and I noticed that city sadly did not promise absolutely anything to address drunk driving, but instead is seriously thinking to increase congestion on 75th by putting artificial restrictions. It will just make residential streets more congested and more dangerous!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] UPDATE #2 (Tuesday, April 2):  The City of Seattle released a plan to improve safety along NE 75th Street. [...]

  2. [...] These flashing school zone beacons are one of the first projects listed by SDOT as planned improvements to NE 75th Street. [...]

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