Update: Pedestrian hit and killed at 35th/Graham

December 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts, WS breaking news | 89 Comments

(UPDATED MONDAY MORNING with police announcement that pedestrian died)

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand, looking southeast from 35th/Graham)
9:34 PM: A car-pedestrian crash at 35th and Graham has closed 35th, at Morgan on the south.

(This photo and next one by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
9:41 PM: The pedestrian has been taken to Harborview. Injuries are serious enough that the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is being called out, so 35th may be closed a while, between Morgan and just north of Graham.

10:25 PM: Christopher Boffoli is at the scene now for WSB and says police tell him the victim is in surgery with injuries including broken leg, broken pelvis, and internal bleeding.

12:44 AM: Just went back over to check; 35th is still closed between Morgan and Raymond.

8:21 AM: Seattle Police say this morning that the pedestrian died. From the update on SPD Blotter:

At around 9:15 pm, a Ford sedan was traveling northbound on 35th Avenue SW. As the Ford entered the intersection of SW Graham Street, the Ford struck a pedestrian. The Seattle Fire Department responded and transported the man to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, the man succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

As is routine, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer responded to the scene and evaluated the male driver of the Ford. There were no signs of any impairment on the part of the driver.

This is the same intersection where a bicycle rider was killed in 2006 after colliding with a van.

8:55 AM: SPD did not have ages for either the driver or the pedestrian at the time of its update. Seattle Fire tells us the pedestrian was 69 years old.

5:58 PM: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identifies him as James R. St. Clair.

89 Comments

  1. This is so horrible, I really hope they make it.

    Comment by alki resident — 10:50 pm December 29, 2013 #

  2. Scary, I was just running there a few hours earlier. I hope he is ok.

    Comment by Brandon — 10:58 pm December 29, 2013 #

  3. That intersection is awful. There is no streetlight at Graham, just halfway in the middle of each block.

    Comment by Jeremy — 11:06 pm December 29, 2013 #

  4. It’s been quieter lately but there was big trouble not far north (35th/Juneau) in the past. A teenage girl was hit in 2008:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2008/09/traffic-alert-35th-closed-between-findlay-and-graham
    .
    Another round of trouble in 2011 led to a “slow down” demonstration:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/05/happening-now-slow-down-rally-on-35th-sw
    .
    No indication so far about the cause here – usually no report until after TCIS is done, so we’ll be asking in the morning. There is a development proposal now on the empty 35th/Graham lot, so perhaps that will bring more lighting/pedestrian improvements … TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:16 pm December 29, 2013 #

  5. That is a terrible intersection…my brother was in a car accident there many years ago, and my husband also. When you try to turn from Graham onto 35th West side turning left, hold your breath that you don’t get hit because you can’t see the cars coming….hope the person makes it

    Comment by Diana — 11:19 pm December 29, 2013 #

  6. I happened upon the guy laying in the Street before the Crusaders arrived, Everyone was in Horror, I talked to A guy who witnessed, he said that “it looked like he was crossing slowly like he was walking wit A kane, and that car hit him” I noticed his Tennis shoe about 20 yards South of where he laid,.. For some reason the Peds. in that part of town don’t seem to think that they need to watch for cars, on more than one occasion I have had to dodge Peds. stepping out in the road as if I wasn’t coming down the road at the speed limit, 35th and Morgan and 35th ave SW Misc.

    Comment by James — 11:26 pm December 29, 2013 #

  7. Thanks, James. I’m sure you know this but if you cross at a corner, even without a marked crosswalk, you have the right of way. Meantime, where the victim wound up lying in the road isn’t necessarily where he was when the driver hit him … Hoping we will be able to get more details by morning – getting the victim’s condition will be difficult without a name. Adding a few more photos that Christopher has sent – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 11:45 pm December 29, 2013 #

  8. Crossing anywhere on 35th is taking hour life in your hands even at lights. People are driving way too fast.

    Comment by Char — 12:06 am December 30, 2013 #

  9. 0300- 35th is now back open.

    Comment by valvashon — 3:12 am December 30, 2013 #

  10. Thanks WSB for pointing out the law re: pedestrians. Crosswalks do not have to be marked. Under the law, a crosswalk is a point “between any two intersecting corners”. Like Char said, to attempt crossing 35th anywhere is to risk your life. Where’s the enforcement?

    Comment by anonyme — 5:42 am December 30, 2013 #

  11. Any update on the pedestrian’s condition?

    Thanks WSB!

    Comment by Lisa — 7:28 am December 30, 2013 #

  12. I the person makes it. Plenty of drivers either don’t know the law or disobey the law: Cars must always stop for pedestrians at marked crosswalks and when crossing “two intersecting” corners. That being said pedestrians disobey the law when they jaywalk, which puts their lives in danger, drivers’ lives in danger and disrupts traffic flow.

    Comment by Seattlite — 7:29 am December 30, 2013 #

  13. I drive 35th many times a day, and at night the Peds are crossing the street, not paying attention and wearing dark clothing….a recipe for disaster. Not saying that’s what happened in this case, but at night, slow down and look ahead if you’re driving 35th….

    Comment by Gary — 8:00 am December 30, 2013 #

  14. Sounds like there is a need for an awareness compaign of some sort – like a PSA. I find it frightening that drivers like James above – are not aware of the law. Based upon my observations over the years, many drivers out there that do not seem to understand (or maybe care) that drivers are obligated to stop for pedestrians at intersections.

    Comment by Franci — 8:06 am December 30, 2013 #

  15. Having a law that we are supposed to stop for pedestrians is stupid and clearly doesn’t work. I am not saying that is what happened here. When you have a law like that in which pedestrians know a car needs to stop, they don’t bother to look like they should. It takes away their responsibility to protect themselves. I have had so many times that I am hyper drive looking for pedestrians only to have to slam on my breaks because they just walk out into the street (crosswalk included). I lived in a state that didn’t have this law (or laws for bicyclist) and there weren’t any more deaths than here. We can’t babysit everyone.

    Comment by Steph — 8:10 am December 30, 2013 #

  16. This is a horrible accident. I hope the victim recovers. That said, I’m all for making our pedestrian walkways and crossings safer, but accidents do happen and we can’t just have knee jerk cries out for more legislation every time an accident occurs! “More government! Save us! Put cops everywhere to stop everyone from speeding!” Jeez – it’s pathetic.

    Comment by common sense — 8:11 am December 30, 2013 #

  17. This is a horrible accident. I hope the victim recovers.
    .
    That said, I’m all for making our pedestrian walkways and crossings safer, but accidents do happen and we can’t just have knee jerk cries out for more legislation every time an accident occurs! “More government! Save us! Put cops everywhere to stop everyone from speeding!” Jeez – it’s pathetic.

    Comment by Captain Common Sense — 8:12 am December 30, 2013 #

  18. I agree Captain! Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for more safety (understandably within reason). But the government always seems to answer by taking the rights away from good people.

    Comment by Mandi Walters — 8:19 am December 30, 2013 #

  19. SPD Blotter announced this morning that the pedestrian didn’t survive; our story is updated.

    Comment by WSB — 8:45 am December 30, 2013 #

  20. This is very sad indeed.

    Crossing 35th without a light is dangerous and ill-advised. I wouldn’t call it a dangerous intersection any more than any other that crosses 4 lanes of traffic.

    Comment by Breezy — 8:50 am December 30, 2013 #

  21. This area is very dark at night. Chances are, the pedestrian was wearing dark clothes and was not seen by the driver. I’ve had similar experiences around town. More lighting would help, and, as a driver, always being on the lookout for people crossing without looking.

    Comment by Joan — 8:56 am December 30, 2013 #

  22. We have added another update; police didn’t have ages of either pedestrian or driver, but SFD did have the pedestrian’s age – 69 years old. To some earlier comments: Pedestrians have as much rights to use the road, if following the law (see below), as drivers do. I don’t always see my fellow drivers behave as if they understand that. We stop for pedestrians waiting at corners and are greeted with horn blasts from behind us, or we see cars slam on the brakes just before rear-ending us. On the occasions we ourselves are pedestrians, we wait at corners and watch cars just keep zooming by. As motor-vehicle drivers, we are the ones operating thousands of pounds of metal machinery and it’s our responsibility to be as safe as possible. That said, yes, of course, at night, the driver might not have seen the man until it was too late, but please remember that there could be someone on foot in ANY intersection at ANY time. Pedestrian-related laws can be read here:
    .
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/walk/laws.htm
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:04 am December 30, 2013 #

  23. I am so sad about this tragedy.

    James’ comment did not indicate he didn’t understand the law, necessarily. His experience is shared by many. Right of way or not peds should not step into traffic and walk without making sure cars see them. It’s your life you are risking. Even the most ped-conscientious driver may miss seeing you at times. Make yourself seen.

    Of course pedestrians have the right of way at unlighted intersections. That doesn’t mean you just step out into the street though, especially at night. When cars are going 35mph it does no one any favors for peds to suddenly step out into traffic.

    I cross 35th a lot and I hate it. I always walk the extra blocks to get to a light so I can cross more safely. When I do have to cross at an unmarked intersection, I wave my hands and wait until I see the drivers stopping before stepping out into the street.

    Comment by Gabby — 9:08 am December 30, 2013 #

  24. I can’t believe people are whining about their “rights” when someone was violently and tragically killed.
    .
    I’m so sorry for the victim and his family–not at ALL sorry for the whiners.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 9:09 am December 30, 2013 #

  25. I am so very sorry for this man’s loss of life and my most heartfelt thoughts are with his family and his friends…. That is a very DANGEROUS place to cross the street. There is no stop light there, no cross walk and people just walk out into traffic… Just because the law says, corner to corner-pedestrians have the right of way… doesn’t excuse people for not taking some of the responsibility for not walking into traffic… NOT SAYING that this is what this man did..AND THEN, you have the idiots that think 35th is a Pacific International Raceway!!! SLOW DOWN!! I can see this intersection from my living room window and there seems to always be a car accident or someone getting hit on foot/bike there. I’m watching traffic drive through that spot right now and there are cars going Northbound doing WELL over 35mph (can’t see the Southbound until they get by U-haul)…. PLEASE DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT PEOPLE!!! Be safe……………PS…I saw a car accident there one day, because a driver DID stop to let a pedestrian cross there, the car behind that car, plowed into the back of that driver and the cars in the other lane/other direction never even stopped..

    Comment by ~HockeyWitch~ — 9:09 am December 30, 2013 #

  26. I’m saddened to hear of the loss. I agree that more lighting is needed. It is way too hard to see people crossing at night. Breaks my heart to think of a 69 yo, possible crossing w/a cane in the dark. It truly is a recipe for an accident on 35th.

    Comment by trl — 9:14 am December 30, 2013 #

  27. This is so tragic and all of us are at risk on 35th. We in humor call it I35 due to the high speed we all drive these narrow lanes. I worry will I hit a parked car that is not perfectly aligned or have a headon in the left suicide lane. The poor pedistrians don’t have a chance when drivers are navigating an already dangerous environment. What is the solution? More police patrol? Change the road to one wider lane each way? End street parking to widen the whole thing? Traffic lights that stall traffic like Ambaum does? But most important we as citizens need to just slow ourselves down. Not easy in our hurry up word. R

    Comment by batgurrl — 9:18 am December 30, 2013 #

  28. Also, my condolences to the driver.

    Comment by trl — 9:20 am December 30, 2013 #

  29. some of the comments about pedestrian right of way make it sound like the driver chose not to stop for the man. Sure a pedestrian has the right of way but what good is being right if you’re dead. Use some common sense, crossing 35th at an unmarked, poorly lit intersection is literally putting your life at risk.

    Comment by MarcO — 9:22 am December 30, 2013 #

  30. Horrible that the pedestrian died. As a driver and a pedestrian, I am always amazed at how fast people drive in neighborhoods and low speed streets, but I am also astonished at how many pedestrians think since they have the right of way, they don’t even look to see if a driver is coming. I have seen so many ridiculous moves from both drivers and pedestrians. I would not be surprised if this is deemed a regular accident with a tragic outcome. Sad way to end the year.

    Comment by ttt — 9:26 am December 30, 2013 #

  31. I didn’t witness this incident, so can’t really comment on what might have happened.
    just wanted to say that I am sorry this man lost his life.
    and I am sorry for the driver as well. I am sure that they have a heavy heart.

    Comment by sam-c — 9:29 am December 30, 2013 #

  32. Very sad, that is very bad intersection and soon to be much worse if and when they develop that corner. That said if people have the attitude they have the right of way there is going to be a lot of people hit by vehicles. I see this happening more and more in this area where people are walking right out in front of cars with out even looking or making some kind of eye contact because the way this city says and people keep saying pedestrians have the right of way. Wake Up People motor vehicles and even bicycles don’t stop instantly and need room to stop at any speed. People crossing any street need to make sure traffic sees them by eye contact or waving. All this talk of people having the right of way is just irresponsible, law or not with sad results for everyone.

    Comment by wetone — 9:33 am December 30, 2013 #

  33. I know the pedestrian rule, but I have decided to no longer stop for them on 35th. Twice I have had cars change lanes and zip around me, only to miss the pedestrian I stopped for by a few feet. Many other times I sit at the intersection while cars zip around me and continue the other direction, and have come close to being rear-ended, as a previous poster mentioned. A four-lane road with the speed and volume of traffic that 35th carries is just too dangerous. I know what people “should” do, but in this case, doing the right thing turns out to be unsafe.

    Comment by Elikapeka — 9:59 am December 30, 2013 #

  34. I heartily agree that drivers don’t “see” pedestrians, even when they do! I bus to work, and cross Barton St. when I go to catch my bus. The cars coming off the ferry and going up Barton St. are unbelievable in their audacity of believing “I have the right-of-way over any and all pedestrians.” I will be on the corner, in the street, trying to cross, and they will literally drive into the other lane to get by me with out slowing down, just to hurry up to get to the red light at 35th…un-freaking-believable! I sometimes pass them as I get to the bus stop, where they are still sitting at the red light. I have a one-finger salute I would like to give those jackadoodles. That said, I now cross whenever I can, wherever I am: middle of the street, no matter, as long as no cars are coming. People are so rude when they get behind the wheel. I now realize I take my life in my hands everytime I stand in the street and wait for them to stop; better to just cross “illegally” when cars aren’t close by.

    Comment by Since '91 — 10:11 am December 30, 2013 #

  35. 35th needs a road diet to limit speeds. We need to go from 4 lanes with no turn lane to 2 lanes with a turn lane.
    -
    The city of Seattle also needs to launch a media campaign to publicize that EVERY intersection contains an unmarked crosswalk where pedestrians have the right of way.

    Comment by WSRes — 10:24 am December 30, 2013 #

  36. Agreed WSRes. As much as commuters will not like it, 35th needs a road diet. 35th is a 4 lane road that is PRIMARILY residential. I lived on 35th for 11 years and the number of accidents was horrible but not at all surprising in light of the near misses. I am not interested in assigning blame to pedestrians or drivers (I am both as most of us are). I think a road diet with lower speeds and more clearly delineated rights of way will cut down on the carnage. I don’t think there isan “acceptable” minimum.

    Comment by 35this35mph — 10:37 am December 30, 2013 #

  37. I agree with Elikapeka. I always think about that poor kid on Holman Road in Crown Hill several years ago. Someone stopped in the middle of Holman Road to let the kid go, and someone in the other lane did not, and he got hit and died. On a four lane road, either all the cars stop before you walk, or none. I, as a pedestrian, will never let one car stop.

    Comment by AmandaKH — 11:05 am December 30, 2013 #

  38. This is so sad. I don’t know if the driver in this case was speeding, but speeding on 35th is an ongoing problem that will only be solved by the introduction of speed radar cameras.
    .
    On another note, a question: if I observe a pedestrian waiting on the curb to cross, am I obligated to stop? RCW 46.61.235 says you are only obligated to stop WHEN the ped is in the road/crosswalk. It also states that peds and bikes cannot step into traffic. This implies to me that the ped must wait until they can safely start their crossing before entering the crosswalk, and at that point, drivers must stop and wait.
    .
    Any thoughts? This has puzzled and frustrated me, as I want to be a good driver, but am annoyed by the ‘Alfonse & Gaston’ situation that sometimes arises (‘you go’ ‘no, you go’ ‘oh no, you go, I insist’), or the militant peds who flip you off or yell at you if you don’t stop while they’re standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross.

    Comment by Citizen Sane — 11:06 am December 30, 2013 #

  39. Review page 39 of the WA State Drivers’ Guide and the Right-Of-Way section.

    http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/guide.html

    Nowhere in this report does it indicate the driver was over the speed limit, or that it was even an issue.

    Definitely feel terrible for the man and the loss to his friends and family. I imagine the driver feels horrible as well.

    As a pedestrian who is going to cross at an unmarked crosswalk (or even a marked one) at night, one should NEVER assume drivers can or do see you. Err on the side of being overly cautious, no matter WHAT the law says.

    Comment by OP — 11:18 am December 30, 2013 #

  40. @WSRes, I was just getting ready to suggest the same thing. They re-channeled Fauntleroy Way and that slowed the traffic that previously sped through. The re-channeling would also prevent the weaving and dodging that I see (and have been part of) every time I head down 35th. Seems a simple solution. Is this something the West Seattle Transportation Coalition is addressing?

    Comment by Ryan B. — 11:19 am December 30, 2013 #

  41. 35th doesn’t need to be made into a 2 lane street. It’s a major arterial… People JUST NEED TO DO THE DAMN SPEED LIMIT!!! Slow down and drive the posted speed limit. Everyone one wants to get to where they are going and get there safe.. whether its on foot, bus, bike, skateboard, etc. Put your phones, away, slow down and pay attention. What is SO IMPORTANT that you need to drive 40+ mph on a street that is clearly marked at 35 mph.

    Comment by ~HockeyWitch~ — 11:45 am December 30, 2013 #

  42. HockeyWitch, people have been saying that for years. If just telling people to go the speed limit were effective, I wouldn’t have people blowing past me every time I drive on that road.

    Comment by datamuse — 11:52 am December 30, 2013 #

  43. @CitizenSane: RCW 46.61.235 states that the driver “shall stop or remain stopped” when the individual is the road/crosswalk, and that the individual will not enter when it is “so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop” — i.e., if the driver has the ability to stop, the individual can begin crossing, thus causing the driver to safely stop.
    .
    If you see someone on the curb attempting to cross, you should slow down, indicate clearly to the pedestrian that you see them (make eye contact, wave them over, flash your lights), and they can safely begin crossing without the situation you’re describing. Courtesy and clear communication while on roads saves lives.

    Comment by Thomas — 12:09 pm December 30, 2013 #

  44. My sympathies to the family of the pedestrian, and till proven otherwise, also the driver.

    A lot of the weaving on 35th is due to the bad condition of the road. I drive on it twice a day and I have a set pattern of lane changes (bout 6 changes between Holden and Avalon) to avoid being distracted and damaged by the barrage of pothole/rough vibrations in my compact sedan.

    35th already has a road diet – they are called potholes and ruts. At some point some older sedan/truck is going to have suspension failure due to the road and cause a worse accident or some new baby is going to have health issues due to all the head shaking (I already take California/Fauntleroy when I have fragile cargo onboard).

    I would love to see the city invest even 1 more cent, done correctly, on 35th whether it is for pedestrians or cars.

    35th is a critical arterial but also goes through residential and business areas. Close to home, a mini Kenyon Junction is forming on Kenyon/35th with new bars, restaurants, businesses with no crosswalks around.

    Till we have well engineered *mechanisms* like lighted, marked crosswalks or better yet, well timed and sensor driven signals (to help arterial flow when nobody is around), it is naive to expect right of way privileges when you have cars (with fallible humans operating them) even doing reasonable 35 mph.

    Comment by wsn00b — 12:13 pm December 30, 2013 #

  45. The entire lighting situation at night across much of West Seattle is plainly put, sh-t. Speaking just as me, every time I’ve asked about this, I would figure 10% of the arguments against vastly improving lighting are claimed as “cost” and the other 90% a mix of apathy and “we don’t want more lighting”. Who rationally does not want more lighting on roads? It’s crazy. Every inch of every arterial if it gets above a certain amount of total daily traffic should be heavily lit up. There are some arterials in this city that are so nicely lit up at night that unless you were legally blind and dealing with someone in black clothes you would be severely hard pressed to not see them.
    .
    When I walk down the stretch of 35th by us at night, and people have to walk their dogs with HEAD LAMPS LIKE THEY WERE MINERS, all arguments of “we don’t want lights” should be summarily discarded as the minority that can and must be ignored. We need to get more lights, cost and opposition be damned.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 12:17 pm December 30, 2013 #

  46. Pedestrian does not have the right of way in unmarked crossings :
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.240

    Comment by dsa — 12:40 pm December 30, 2013 #

  47. I agree with you 100% Joe S.
    Our neighborhood requires headlamps to walk on the sidewalks at night – dogwalking or not.
    It is scary and completely unsafe IMO.

    I am so sad to hear of this man’s passing, and the driver must be in total shock as well.
    Crossing 35th in the early morning, or after 4:30pm should not be a life or death scenario.

    What can we do to make it better for all?

    Comment by Sassy — 12:45 pm December 30, 2013 #

  48. I’m rather intrigued by all of the posts here, including the WSB claiming that the pedestrian always has the right of way. Allow me to preface before proceeding that this is tragic and I feel terribly for the victim and his family. However, as someone else said, you are taking a risk when you cross the street, so you should expect something like this is possible. The RCWs are fairly clear, indicating who has the right of way.

    This intersection is not marked with a traffic light or crossing indicator. It also is not marked with crosswalks from what I saw. I am not blaming the victim, but everyone here who wants to blame the driver should wait for the investigation to complete.
    I’ve had my dog run over on Fauntleroy (after it was narrowed from 4 to 2 lanes), so changing the number of lanes will not stop this from happening.
    I’m also someone who was hit while on foot by a truck, and I’m well aware of the RCWs myself, probably more than any of you. I was in a marked crosswalk, and I was at fault. All of you need to calm down and stop pretending to be experts here, including WSB.
    Watching all of the posts here with RCWs cited just shows that interpretation of the law is left up to the citizens, therefore arbitrary.

    Comment by thatoneguywhoedoesthings — 12:59 pm December 30, 2013 #

  49. @dsa: that link states that pedestrians do not have the right-of-way outside of “marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk” — but a crosswalk, by
    RCW 47.04.010, is: “The portion of the roadway between the intersection area and a prolongation or connection of the farthest sidewalk line or in the event there are no sidewalks then between the intersection area and a line ten feet therefrom, except as modified by a marked crosswalk;”
    .
    Therefore, a pedestrian crossing at an intersection is within an unmarked crosswalk and right-of-way is yielded to them.

    Comment by Thomas — 1:05 pm December 30, 2013 #

  50. What scares me is the number of kids getting off Metro and School busses on 35th and having to cross to the other side at unmarked intersections. A large number are dropped off after school on the west side of the street and cross back towards high point.

    I was recently stopped in the center lane waiting for a group of high school girls trying to cross after getting off the bus, but cars continued to fly by in the outside lanes. One girl ran out and barely made it. Others were standing in the road peaking around cars to see if the next lane would stop. I’m a commuter that would be affected by a “road diet” but I’d take it to prevent a tragedy that is not out of the realm of foreseeable.

    Comment by Heidi A — 1:06 pm December 30, 2013 #

  51. DSA, if you are trying to say that pedestrians only have right of way at marked crosswalks, you are incorrect. Pedestrians have right of way at ALL crosswalks, marked or not. The law you cite deals with places that are NOT crosswalks.

    Comment by KBear — 1:26 pm December 30, 2013 #

  52. DSA — You have misinterpreted the law you posted. Please read it again. That said, jaywalking is illegal in WA state.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that tons of people that drive w/legal WA state drivers licenses don’t know what WA state’s driving laws are — incredible and disturbing. So if the legal drivers don’t know what they’re doing think about the illegal drivers — oy vey!

    Comment by Seattlite — 2:18 pm December 30, 2013 #

  53. It says: …(1) ….”or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

    Frankly, I think it’s poorly written if they mean something else.

    Comment by dsa — 2:52 pm December 30, 2013 #

  54. Many condolences to the pedestrian and the driver. Since this has sparked a debate about the safety of car and pedestrian traffic along 35th, I’ll throw in my thoughts. The problem is not that people treat 35th as a highway. It IS a highway–it’s a major arterial that needs to move a high volume of cars from north-to-south and south-to-north quickly and efficiently. The street cannot bear more stoplights. Drivers understand that 35 mph is simply too slow for the purpose of that road, and therefore naturally average a higher speed. What needs to be done is all parking needs to end on 35th. They should use the added space to widen the lanes and put a proper turn lane down the middle. That way people can travel efficiently, there will be less zig-zagging to get around slow drivers, people who are turning, and buses. I don’t think as many pedestrians would try to cross at unmarked intersections if this were the case–they’d walk a couple of streets up or down and cross with the lights.

    Comment by david — 3:27 pm December 30, 2013 #

  55. It is very sad that this accident happened. I do not like crossing 35th on foot unless I walk all the way to the stoplight on Raymond or Morgan. 35th is an arterial road with several intersections that do not have crosswalks because many of the little side streets that intersect with 35th were built before 35th became a major thoroughfare for cars. The problem for pedestrians is that there are long stretches of 35th that do not have stoplights or crosswalks. Putting in more stoplights is not the answer because it causes traffic to back up. The answer is for drivers to SLOW DOWN and for pedestrians to WEAR REFLECTIVE CLOTHING OR CARRY A LIGHT WHEN CROSSING AT NIGHT (or walk to the nearest intersection that has a stoplight).

    Comment by Harley — 4:29 pm December 30, 2013 #

  56. I read the law like DSA, and in practice, it makes more sense.

    “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

    It (and the content in the driver’s guide) indicate that. Roadway markings are there (and not) for a reason. There are many times I’ve been driving and a pedestrian wants to cross at a corner with no crosswalk markings. I do NOT have to yield and (assuming I am doing the speed limit) I do NOT have to slow down. That being said, the law then states I shall not hit them. So, I would operate my vehicle in accordance with that. A lot of times, particuarly on busier streets, a crosswalk is not installed because slowing/stopping traffic at that location might be hazardous.

    If you’re crossing the street (especailly a main road like 35th and even California) at a point other than a clearly marked crosswalk or at a light, you’re taking your life in your hands. And if you’re doing it at night or if you’re old/hanicapped and need extra time? That’s even worse.

    Comment by MichaelSeattle — 5:12 pm December 30, 2013 #

  57. @dsa, it’s saying the pedestrian doesn’t have right of way over vehicles if not at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Yes, jaywalking isn’t encouraged in the section of the laws headed as “PEDESTRIANS’ RIGHTS AND DUTIES” .

    (1) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway _at any point other than_ within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

    also, we have this section telling drivers how to yield at unmarked crosswalks.
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.61.235
    Crosswalks.

    (1) The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

    Comment by ChefJoe — 5:21 pm December 30, 2013 #

  58. Yes, it’s written badly, but it’s very clear. Read it the other way: Every pedestrian has the right of way if they are crossing within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk. (IOW you don’t have the right of way if you are crossing midblock.)

    Comment by WSB — 5:26 pm December 30, 2013 #

  59. Also, page 48 of the English PDF for the Driver’s Ed guidebook.

    http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/guide.html

    The following right-of-way rules apply at intersections:
    •Pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, whether the crosswalk is marked or not. Drivers must yield where necessary to avoid striking pedestrians and bicyclists who are crossing the road

    Comment by ChefJoe — 5:34 pm December 30, 2013 #

  60. The manual is contraducting itself. On page 39 it says, “A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway.”

    Then on the very next page, it says, “Pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, whether the crosswalk is marked or not.”

    So which is it? I, personally, would go with what the RCW says and not what someone interpreted it as saying, as it is included it in the manual.

    Comment by MichaelSeattle — 5:42 pm December 30, 2013 #

  61. Condolences to the family of the deceased, and also positive thoughts going to the driver.

    .

    No road diet, please. What is needed is more police presence and emphasis patrols. 35 mph is a perfectly safe and efficient speed to travel on that road.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 5:47 pm December 30, 2013 #

  62. Something is wrong with the law if it states : ***Pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections, whether the crosswalk is marked or not. Drivers must yield where necessary to avoid striking pedestrians and bicyclists who are crossing the road ****
    The bicycles need to be removed from this if they are sharing and using the roads with vehicles then they should follow the same rules as the vehicles. Either go by the road rules or go by the pedestrians can’t be both. Time to update some laws or there is going to be some big problems.

    Comment by wetone — 7:40 pm December 30, 2013 #

  63. My condolences to the family of the victim, to the driver and to anyone who has had a traffic accident this year.
    .
    Accidents happen. I understand. But, how many more accidents are acceptable here? Really?
    .
    High Point Residents continue to ask for a Road Diet to get people coming down 35th hill south of Morgan St. to pay attention.
    .
    You can see for miles, so if the Morgan light is green people feel safe to lose focus. It is not safe.
    .
    There’s always fresh glass from a new accident at Juneau & at Graham. Raymond’s safer with the turn lane.
    .
    We High Point Residents have been asking for a change in the road. We put guard-rails up for accidents on ice. A road diet on the South-of-Morgan hill would make it pedestrian friendly. 35th at Juneau, Graham, and the So Mo hill need this. Police can’t always be around to remind people to pay attention.
    .
    If you don’t like “the diet” that Fauntleroy took, (even though it’s so nice!), at least paint colorful street murals and plant trees all over the So Mo hill & north to SW Juneau St, to wake people up to the dangers there.
    .
    We have seen too many close calls.

    How many MORE people need to die crossing 35th before we make our neighborhood liveable?

    Comment by 35th is 35 MPH, Miranda — 7:42 pm December 30, 2013 #

  64. MichaelSeattle – Read it like this:
    “A pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than (in a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection) must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway.”

    There are two places a pedestrian doesn’t have to yield the right of way.
    1. in a marked crosswalk
    2. within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

    Here’s what the SDOT says:
    “Pedestrians – Right of Way
    (1) Stopping for pedestrian. The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk unmarked or marked when the pedestrian is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning….”

    Comment by WS Lynn — 7:44 pm December 30, 2013 #

  65. Michael, there is no contradiction. The first paragraph you cite says pedestrians must yield when they aren’t in a crosswalk. The second paragraph says pedestrians have right of way in all crosswalks. What you don’t seem to grasp is that ALL INTERSECTIONS ARE LEGAL CROSSWALKS unless there is a sign to indicate otherwise. The crosswalk itself does not need to be marked.

    Comment by KBear — 8:23 pm December 30, 2013 #

  66. So sorry for everyone involved. Condolences to James family and friends.

    Comment by Laura — 8:51 pm December 30, 2013 #

  67. Really tragic loss of life. Condolences … Some of the comments here are pretty insensitive. Hey it’s simple , put down the distractions and drive the speed limit . If you feel unable to spot a pedestrian in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) then perhaps you shouldn’t be driving.

    Comment by Haole — 9:15 pm December 30, 2013 #

  68. Haole, dude why are you assuming the driver was distracted? I agree it is tragic, but just because this happened doesn’t mean the driver was inattentive.
    It is tragic, very sad the victim was stuck and died, but I would wait to see the details of the investigation to see who is at fault.

    Comment by thatoneguywhodoesthings — 9:26 pm December 30, 2013 #

  69. There are already parking issues in W. Seattle, but with the parked cars on the side of the road, the narrow lanes and the long stretches without stop lights/marked cross walks, this stretch of road is my least favorite way to drive to my home in Arbor Heights. I will take Delridge and the single lane road, over 35th. Who knows what the solution is? Widening the road on 35th by omitting the parking so it can be four lanes with a center turn? Adding more lights? Reducing the speed to 30 mph and enforcing the speed the the best of SPD ability?

    There isn’t an easy fix to ANY of the traffic safety issues in W. Seattle. It’s really, really sad it takes a tragedy like this to remind people that there are people out there who are not in the safe confines of their vehicle and we drivers need to be aware of those pedestrians to the best of our ability. I have been that person, pushing a stroller who has felt unsafe walking that stretch of road.

    Also, until we know otherwise, this driver could have been doing everything “right” and the timing of Mr. St. Clair’s crossing was just tragic.

    Regardless, I hope Mr. St. Clair’s family feels the prayers being sent during this profoundly difficult time. And I send energy to the driver, who I would believe, is feeling pretty low right now. I can’t imagine the pain either party is feeling.

    Drive safe West Seattle. Stop texting, talking, turning dials and speeding. There’s just too much at stake!

    Comment by West Seattle Mama — 9:28 pm December 30, 2013 #

  70. Contrary to popular belief, ROAD DIETS have reduced speeding without adversely affecting traffic volumes or trip times. Traffic flows more efficiently and steadily and crashes & injuries are reduced. There are studies that back this up for Seattle projects.

    I was sitting in an ice cream shop in Wallingford yesterday with a clear view of a crosswalk on 45th st. Only 1 out of 5 drivers stopped for pedestrians waiting to cross in a marked crosswalk on a slow street with one lane in each direction. Even families with children received no attention. Crosswalks are treated by drivers as an optional courtesy they choose not to give, when it is in fact a moving violation to not stop for pedestrians.

    Driving shows the most selfish behavior by all kinds of people. Even moms with kids of their own in their cars do not stop for other families trying to cross.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 9:54 pm December 30, 2013 #

  71. We must remember to wear reflective clothing, and yes lights if possible, anywhere while walking at night.

    I’ve crossed at that corner myself, but only in the daytime. I never step out into traffic and I wait for the lull between the stop lights at Morgan and Raymond. Definitely not safe at night or during heavy traffic times. I’ve had to cross at other places when I felt as though the cars wanted to see me run. Like one car, no other traffic either way and they’re in such a hurry.
    I’m even cautious at traffic-light crossings, when “walk” sign comes on I don’t step out until looking to my left, watching for the eager beaver making a right turn. Also watch for whoever may decide red lights aren’t meant for him to stop. So you I don’t feel 100% safe even there.

    So sorry for the gentleman who lost his life and the driver having to deal with the trauma.

    And–part of the delay on development at that corner is the IN & OUT access because of the busy 35th Av., or so I was told at one point. If ever a plan is accepted might be a traffic light will be considered. We’ve waited 7 years so far.

    Comment by gmabetty — 10:14 pm December 30, 2013 #

  72. To reiterate the law, nowhere does it state that pedestrians have the same rights to use the road as a motorized vehicle. Link from above:
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/walk/laws.htm

    “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway”

    There is no intersection there, it’s a double solid yellow which means no vehicle is permitted to cross, which makes it a non intersection access point. There are ramps that point in the direction across 4 lanes and double solid yellow lines, but that’s not an unmarked crosswalk according to the law, it’s just a bad design by the city. The city is liable.

    Comment by Mike — 11:25 pm December 30, 2013 #

  73. Mike, I don’t understand how it is not an intersection? Two streets intersect, right?

    Comment by Marianne — 11:40 pm December 30, 2013 #

  74. It seems to be a commonly held misinterpretation that double yellow lines cannot be turned across. I learned a while back that while you cannot go across them to pass, you CAN turn over them. See references such as http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/sdotfaqs.htm

    Comment by WSB — 11:48 pm December 30, 2013 #

  75. Right of way, no right of way… good grief.

    Whatever happened to common courtesy?

    Oh, that is right, it’s been flushed down the terlit as a result of people asserting their individual rights to be arrogant, ignorant, and irresponsible.

    Comment by Jeffrey — 12:41 am December 31, 2013 #

  76. Make 35th similar to California with:
    1 lane of traffic each way
    A middle turn lane
    Fat bike lane on each side
    And street parking…
    It would keep every Tom dick and Harry from burien and white center from using 35th as a west Seattle freeway…

    Bam problem solved.

    Comment by John — 5:57 am December 31, 2013 #

  77. dsa, MichaelSeattle, Mike, you continue to disregard the crucial phrase “other than” in the RCW. It’s simple English which the editor has translated for you. You’re wrong. Give it up. The only thing you’ve proven is that the bullheaded refusal by many drivers to either understand or obey the law is killing people.

    An arterial is NOT a highway, and the vast majority of the 35th corridor is residential. Marked crosswalks, much less those with signals, are few and far between on 35th. Even so, pedestrians are struck in crosswalks on a regular basis, and not just on 35th. Clearly the problem is not just RCW definitions, but with reckless bad attitudes.

    Comment by enid — 6:53 am December 31, 2013 #

  78. WSB — Here’s what I found on crossing double yellowCan I turn left over a double yellow line?

    “Q: What is the law regarding left turns across double yellow lines?

    To get into work, most people at my company turn left across double yellow solid lines, which to my knowledge is illegal. Is it illegal at all times, or is it allowed when “it is safe to do so”? I’ve heard different accounts from different people.

    A: It may be legal to cross a double yellow line, but it depends on the street.

    Trooper Julie Startup said she’s never seen a problem if people are crossing over a double yellow to turn into an alley, private road or driveway.

    That’s detailed in subsection 3 of section 46.61.130 in the Revised Code of Washington.

    “But there may be a problem if people are not turning into something,” Startup said. “Technically in that case you’re not allowed to turn over a double yellow line.

    “The double yellow line indicates designated no-passing zones that have reduced visibility or any other safety concern for drives that would be cause an increased danger if passing. Intersections would most likely be marked with breaks in the double yellow but private roads, driveways and alleys would be instances where a driver could turn over the double yellow.

    “This is still a no passing zone for safety reasons and drivers should only make the turns when safe to do so.”

    Comment by Seattlite — 7:22 am December 31, 2013 #

  79. Mike, that’s a bunch of nonsense. 35th & Graham is both an intersection and a legal crosswalk. I hope you do not drive. You clearly do not understand the rules of the road.

    Comment by KBear — 7:39 am December 31, 2013 #

  80. There is no intersection there, it’s a double solid yellow which means no vehicle is permitted to cross, which makes it a non intersection access point.

    .

    Welllll then, SPD could probably make a killing ticketing drivers crossing 35th east-to-west/west-to-east/making left turns to 35th, from either direction of Graham!

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:01 am December 31, 2013 #

  81. Sounds like SPD needs to do some more crosswalk enforcement, such as
    http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2011/10/03/trafficpedestrian-crosswalk-enforcement-operations/

    Maybe a few $124 tickets would clear up the confusion for those who don’t understand to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, marked or not.

    Comment by JP — 8:56 am December 31, 2013 #

  82. No no no. The RCW regarding pedestrians may be very unclear, but courts have interpreted it for the purposes of finding fault when accidents like this occur. Pedestrians do not have “the right of way” — that is, they cannot simply step out into traffic whether at a marked or unmarked crosswalk expecting cars to stop for them. That is what section 46.61.235 (2) says. However, when drivers see a pedestrian not waiting to cross the street, but already crossing — that is, upon or within one lane of the direction of travel — they must stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross, and no vehicle may pass the stopped while the pedestrian is crossing. The difficulty is in determining whether cars coming from the opposite direction see and stop for the pedestrian. The law, with the sections taken together, says that vehicles must be aware of pedestrians who may be in the road and allow them safe passage, pedestrians must be aware that vehicles may not have time to stop for them, particularly on a busy street such as 35th, and they DO NOT have the right to jump out into the street if a car cannot stop for them, whether at a crosswalk or not. Additionally, a vehicle that is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross must take surrounding traffic into consideration when deciding to stop. No one road-user has a complete right of way; everyone must take traffic, congestion, raid conditions, and the ability to stop into consideration.

    In my opinion, the mentality that one must stop because the pedestrian has “the right,” or must not stop because the vehicle has “the right” is a dangerous idea. Take all surroundings into consideration and be as courteous and as safe as possible.

    Comment by Seattle Law — 10:48 am December 31, 2013 #

  83. If a driver can safely stop for a pedestrian, he should do so under RCW 46.61.235.

    Of course one cannot run out in front of a car and expect it to stop with no warning. This exact same situation happens when cars turn left crossing oncoming traffic: The left-hand turn must yield, yet if something happens in the turn, such as a stall, cars that are a clear distance away simply should not fail to stop expecting to claim right of way.

    Comment by JP — 11:59 am December 31, 2013 #

  84. Lets remember the human being that died and try to do something that will prevent a similar accident …. I knew James St. Clair and he was a kind and endearing man. My thoughts are with his family.

    Comment by Victim's friend — 2:17 pm December 31, 2013 #

  85. Friend – I couldn’t find any address information about Mr. St. Clair but if you know any relatives and if they would like to share any information about him and his life for publication – whether an obituary or something simpler – they are welcome to contact us at 206-293-6302 or editor@westseattleblog.com. I couldn’t help but be reminded of a previous pedestrian death blocks away (35th/Othello) in 2007 – that of 85-year-old retired educator Oswald Clement. Meantime, RIP, Mr. St. Clair. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 2:44 pm December 31, 2013 #

  86. WSB: “Stop for Pedestrians or else”

    http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/west-seattle-crosswalk-sting-stop-for-pedestrians-or-else/

    Comment by JP — 3:10 pm December 31, 2013 #

  87. For those that said I should not drive, don’t know the law and apparently think that SPD tickets for every infraction (which obviously a lot on here are doing without getting a ticket).

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.130

    ” (3) This section does not apply under the conditions described in RCW 46.61.100(1)(b), nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road, or driveway”

    Where is the alley, private road or driveway?

    Comment by Mike — 9:04 pm December 31, 2013 #

  88. What does 46.61.130 have to do with stopping for pedestrians?

    Comment by JP — 12:30 pm January 1, 2014 #

  89. Mike, you don’t seem to understand that one either. It says you can’t DRIVE left of the double line. It does not say you can’t turn left.

    Comment by KBear — 5:43 pm January 1, 2014 #

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