From the ‘yes, they’re working on it’ file: 35th SW kickoff date

August 1, 2014 at 11:20 am | In Safety, Transportation, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

One more note from last night’s meeting about SW Roxbury – a stack of cards casually announced the launch date for the other major “road-safety corridor project” in the works: 35th SW. You have almost three months’ warning for this one – 6:30 pm October 22nd at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center. Meantime, browse the background links on the left side of the project page.

11 Comments

  1. This means two words: “road diet.”
    .
    Plus: People may stop complaining that their neighbors drive too fast.
    .
    Minus: Those exact same people will complain that their own drive takes longer.

    Comment by Mel — 12:14 pm August 1, 2014 #

  2. Does safety work involve resurfacing the road so we don’t have to swerve dangerously around bumps and ruts?

    Comment by wsn00b — 12:41 pm August 1, 2014 #

  3. Certainly could, but if there’s a rut/bump you haven’t reported lately, something that could be repaired NOW, please report it to the city, which by many accounts tends to act fast on pothole/etc. reports – 206-684-ROAD – don’t wait to see if your least-favorite ruts/bumps are on their radar … TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:44 pm August 1, 2014 #

  4. I used to use the Fixit app to report almost obsessively. Given up now as most of them will get fixed only if the whole surface is redone.

    For example:
    - The downhill in the OLG school zone is pretty messed up. You can’t use the center lanes in a small car comfortably/safely up/down.

    - Innumerable badly done sewer/utility road patches. The uphill just north of 35th/Alaska has one in the right lane that looks like somebody with no training did the job.

    They have been patching the big potholes it but it makes no difference.

    My largest safety concern is the quality of the road.

    I probably need to mount my GoPro camera to my front bumper; drive the entire stretch; annotate the video with my comments and email it to SDOT.

    Comment by wsn00b — 12:59 pm August 1, 2014 #

  5. I’m still baffled at their plan to address the left turns at Graham, and do nothing about Juneau – more SDOT buffoonery – they truly are amazingly bad at what they do.
    Their own data shows 9 collisions at Juneau to 3 at Graham in 3 years – the 10 year shows a shocking 37 at Juneau to 10 at Graham – so why DOT? Why focus on the street that’s LESS of a problem? Why not both, or the one that’s the worst problem at least?

    In fact the only three streets MORE collision prone than Juneau are Morgan, Barton and Avalon! The main crossing arterials.

    I don’t understand their logic – of yeah, that’s because they don’t employ logic.

    That, coupled with the police dept.’s refusal to enforce distracted driving laws; this mess will never be fixed.
    They are using years old data to come to the conclusion that speeding is the major issue, the most recent data from the NHSTA concludes that more than 1/2 of 16-24 year old drivers admit to texting and driving, while less than 1/2 admit to speeding – the recent California study revealed that over 2/3′s of adults aged 34-65 admit to regularly using a phone while driving. The older you get, the more you text and drive according to now three independent studies. It’s now the number one killer of teens, over alcohol, over speeding, over everything.

    Why won’t they address it – oh yeah – they don’t know how to. They know how to control speed, but distracted driving laws have failed to change behavior – visible patrols have shown to reduce the behavior from 40 to 60% in cases – aaaaand our SPD clearly just doesn’t care about public safety – they care about being able to talk/text and drive themselves and filling quotas. Takes a long time to pull over and write up a distracted driver, it’s easier to plant yourself in Pioneer Square and write jaywalking tickets on homeless folks.

    Has anyone received, or do you know anyone who has received, a distracted driving ticket since they started this big push to enforce in April?

    Comment by zark — 3:42 pm August 1, 2014 #

  6. @zark there is a ton of current — not year’s old, where are you getting that from? — data that people speed like mad on 35th. They’ve been measuring speeds for months now on 35th for more fresh data since the recent deaths. Hell, go stand on a random stretch of 35th, away from the speedometer radar sign by High Point, and you can count the speeders like a metronome.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 4:31 pm August 1, 2014 #

  7. Why not put speed bumps like they have on Beach drive??? Beats having another “road diet”!!

    Comment by D Del Rio — 5:18 pm August 1, 2014 #

  8. Not saying people don’t speed, I’m saying the collision data the SDOT put up on the 35th Safety plan page clearly shows more accidents at the intersection of Juneau and 35th than at Graham and 35th – almost 4 times as many in the 10 year data sample (37 to 10).
    So why address the issue at Graham while ignoring the 3-4 times more dangerous intersection at Juneau?

    As for speeding vs texting and driving – Anecdotally, I watch the speeders every morning, I also watch the texters. Both are complete morons without a thought for the safety of others to be sure. But the Texters are far more dangerous. Obviously that’s my non-emprical assessment – they’re the ones who cause near misses on a daily basis – the speeders are bad, yes, but they don’t pose the most dangerous threat from a bus rider / walker perspective. I don’t almost get hit by speeders on a weekly basis.

    Empirically though, the CDC cites three reports -the WISQARS from 2010, Vital Signs report from 2011, and the Incidents and Total Lifetime costs of Motor Vehicle related fatal and non-fatal injury report from 2010.
    But maybe most important is the April 2013 US DOT report:
    “Voluntary guidelines reduce visual-manual distraction – the greatest safety risk to drivers in NHTSA’s new study”
    That study cites a 3X increase in the likelihood of an accident when distracted.
    The 2005 study from the same NHTSA “Relation of Speed and Speed Limits to Crashes” – cites no increase in the likelihood of accidents up to 15MPH over the speed limit at non-highway speeds (up to 35MPH limited roads if I read that right – maybe 45MPH) – zero increase – it’s flat. Same study cites an 18% decrease in accidents when the limit was reduced from 65 to 55, and a 19% increase in when they were put back to 65. So replicable data points.
    The Nilson report from Sweden and the Taylor study in the UK arrive at a similar conclusion: a 1KPH speed increase, increases the likelihood of accident by 2-4% depending on the initial speed limit of the road. Faster the road, lower the increase. Taylor concluded that 1KPH of speed increased the risk by 1-4% on urban roads, 2.5-5.5% or rural roads. So at best, at 20mph over the 35th limit – that’s be 55MPH down 35th right? We’re reducing the risk of accident by 40%, maybe as high as 60% – that’s great!
    But, the 300% increase in likelihood of accident when distracted, especially with an interactive distraction like a phone, trumps even that 60% increase by a large margin.

    The Nilson study concludes as well that driving 10KPH over the limit on a 60KPH road is equivalent to a BAC of .08%. I’m sure everyone knows the famous statistic from the NHTSA study from 2012 “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” where they conclude that “Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated ” – that’d be the .08% ‘intoxicated’ level – and those texters are SIX TIMES as dangerous (basically).
    So that’s (sort of) like someone driving 70MPH+ down 35th.

    Again, anecdotally, I count cars texting – on average it’s 2 in 10 (I count by 10′s – make a note – start counting again). I never see 2 in 10 cars doing 70 down 35th.

    So SDOT and the Police should address the most dangerous threats first, ideally address all of the threats, but if you have to pick, pick the more dangerous behavior. Focusing on the less dangerous threats is illogical.

    Comment by zark — 5:29 pm August 1, 2014 #

  9. I’m all for road diet!!!
    With some nice big fat bike lanes…
    Then it will stop being everyone’s go to street to cut through west Seattle…
    And the locals could have a bit more peace…

    Comment by Man — 8:48 pm August 1, 2014 #

  10. Thanks for that Zark.

    I would be interested to hear from SDOT about those numbers for Graham. I do not understand it either.

    And I would be interested to hear where and by what tools SDOT addresses this new and very real public safety issue of distracted drivers. There is not a day in which I travel in my car where I do not see adults getting honked at at stoplights because they are not paying attention. The phones STAY in most people’s hands after they are jostled back into their surroundings and advance their autos. It’s not a pet peeve. These are adults who are caught up in the compulsivity of their technology.

    It seems to me to be a part of the problem, anecdotally, of course. It seems to me it is a public health issue which needs to be, at least, discussed. Why can’t West Seattle lead the way in that discussion with SDOT? What say you SDOT to the veracity of these dangers as cited by Zark’s references?

    Why can’t we think for the future of public safety by integrating safety messages along the way – just like we try to think of the future for transportation routes?

    What tools might SDOT have devised for this? Anything?

    Kids are growing up watching their elders. It’s a mess and I would hate to see this opportunity missed. The advocates for all of this have worked hard and are appreciated, but Zark has made a very very good case for this.

    Comment by fraktur — 10:49 pm August 1, 2014 #

  11. Road Diet. Bike lanes and walking paths. If you think 35th is bad now, wait til the plethora of condos and “retail spaces” being erected all come to maturity.

    Comment by WB — 9:11 pm August 8, 2014 #

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