Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

How Seattle Residents Won a Fix for the City’s Most Dangerous Street

10:58 AM EDT on August 16, 2016

"Crosswalk protests" helped make the case for a safer Rainier Avenue. Photo: Seattle Bike Blog
"Crosswalk protests" helped make the case for a safer Rainier Avenue. Photo: Seattle Bike Blog

Sometimes calling your city council person or circulating a petition isn't enough. Here's an inspiring story about Seattle residents who got creative to highlight their fight for a safer street. Phyllis Porter and Gordon Padelford at Seattle Bike Blog explain Seattle's Rainier Avenue was badly in need of intervention:

With a crash every day on average, 7 businesses hit in the past year, and 630 injuries over the last three years, something had to be done. Business, community groups, and residents had had enough.

Last year the community came together to demand Rainier Ave S be made safer. For instance, a group calling themselves the Rainier Road Diet Supporters held a number of crosswalk protests.

The community group Rainier Valley Greenways rallied around a campaign called Safety Over Speeding to bring more attention to the problem. We collected signatures and photo petitions, created a Get Well Soon Rainier Ave Card for people to sign, posted flyers with the number of crashes next to dangerous intersections, and hosted a big crosswalk protest and rally.

And it worked:

The Department of Transportation responded to the community and overwhelming data by doing a safety corridor “pilot” between S Alaska St and S Kenny St, and planned to study an expansion of it for 2016. The pilot included adding a center turn lane to reduce turning collisions, adding bus priority to keep the popular route 7 on time, and improving crosswalks and signals for people walking.

The results are in and they are great! In the part that got improvements, aggressive speeding (over 40 MPH) is down 95%, injuries involving people walking and biking are down 41%, the fear of bus delays never materialized (the #7 bus has not been slowed down), traffic still flows, and it is now much more safe and comfortable to be in Columbia City and Hillman City. King 5 did a piece on the results and interviewed the owner of Lottie’s Lounge who said “The road diet has really improved the quality of life. The benefits far outweigh the downside.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says a big win for Cleveland trails in the latest round of TIGER grants is part of a larger trend that is making cities safer and better connected. Streets.mn says divisions within the cycling community are harmful to each group's shared interests. And Urban Indy shares a poll showing Indianapolis-area voters support plans to dramatically expand regional transit.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

To Help Save the Planet, Take the ‘Week Without Driving’ Challenge

Former Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz is urging Americans to give up driving for seven days — and support policies to make it optional for everyone.

September 29, 2023

Labor Gains: NYC Judge Tosses App Giants’ Suit to Stop Deliverista Minimum Wage

Justice Nicholas Moyne cleared the way for a long-delayed wage hike for workers who brave dangerous roads to bring food directly to New Yorkers.

September 29, 2023

Friday’s Headlines Are Charged Up

Expect a lot fewer ordinary gas stations and a few more Buc-ee's in your area as the electric vehicle transition continues.

September 29, 2023

Commentary: Let’s Talk About the Real “Fatal Flaw” on Valencia

How many people have to die before professional advocates stop endorsing the Valencia Street "experiment" on people?

September 28, 2023

Talking Headways Podcast: Beyond Greenways

This week we’re joined by Bob Searns to talk about his new book and grand ideas for walking trails that circle whole regions and more local routes that make up a new mode of green infrastructure in cities.

September 28, 2023
See all posts