Update: Pedestrian hit at 35th/Thistle



Just back from the scene (map). Victim is actually a 60-year-old woman, according to police, who also told WSB she was crossing against the light. Neighbors and officers were also helping the woman who hit her, who was sitting on the corner, sobbing inconsolably. Police say the woman who was hit should be OK – she was described as “stable” just as Medic 32 was about to pull away to take her to Harborview Medical Center to be checked out. The southbound lane was closed for a while but should be open again now as the scene clears. 11:59 AM ADDITION: We are choosing not to use the video we have that shows the driver, as police indicate it was not her fault. In this clip, as medics lift the victim onto a gurney to get her to M-32, you can somewhat hear the driver in the background (though we were standing as respectfully far away as we could) along with the voices of police/firefighters trying to comfort her. We think that’s an important part of the story; it was heartbreaking to hear. We are certainly going to think twice about jaywalking, even when it seems safe.

25 Replies to "Update: Pedestrian hit at 35th/Thistle"

  • westseattleite April 8, 2008 (11:40 am)

    How horrible for both of them. I wish people wouldn’t cross against the lights, I watched a woman cut across from the Blockbuster on Fauntleroy to Thriftway the other day when there is a crosswalk just a few feet away.

  • Highlandparkneighbor April 8, 2008 (11:43 am)

    thanks for traffic update and very appreciative of the professional sensitivity by WSB in photo selections to both the victim and the devastated driver.

  • Steph April 8, 2008 (12:40 pm)

    This drives me nuts. I feel so bad for the driver who was absolutely in the right here. Yet the driver will feel guilt and horrible for a long time. People, please use the crosswalks and cross when you have the light. It isn’t just your own life that you may be affecting.

  • bornandraised April 8, 2008 (1:15 pm)

    I hope the pedestrian is ok.I have seen and witnessed several accidents at this very intersection the 35 years I have lived in West Seattle. The city did a good job in the addition of the turn only signals, but just yesterday I saw someone who had the green arrow to turn eastbound and an oncoming car northbound ran the red light and almost plowed into the turning car. Didn’t I hear this was one of the intersections that was going to have a red light camera installed?

  • gwen c. April 8, 2008 (1:39 pm)

    I do concur with HighlandParkNeighbor that you’re doing an exceptionally classy job reporting this, and thanks for that, WSB.

    I feel bad for all involved, and I’m quite gratified that everyone’s going to be okay so far as we can tell.

    The jaywalking problem has a lot to do with how much people ignore crosswalks. The other night, I took a friend to Elliott Bay Brewery and she was a little shaken that a speeding driver skidded, honked at her and flipped her off when she was IN THE CROSSWALK. Doesn’t reflect too well on this part of town for a first-timer, and sure enough the police presence in the Junction on the weekend nights is less than zero. Think of how many DWIs they could bag. If people manage to remember to stop at crosswalks (just like EVERYONE did 10-12 years ago) it might reduce the “people don’t stop anyways, might as well jaywalk” logic. Just a thought.

    Here’s to the healing of mental and physical wounds and good reporting to boot, for now.

  • gwen c. April 8, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    (not that I think good reporting is a “for now”, I’m just saying we’re not stopping the trouble pedestrians have crossing the street by snapping your fingers, we have more current things to worry about.)

  • CMP April 8, 2008 (1:57 pm)

    I don’t blame the pedestrian at all for jaywalking. She probably got tired of waiting for that stupid light to change to cross 35th, just as I’m tempted to run that light every morning I go to the pool. The green light for 35th lasts for one minute and 20 seconds. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but when there is NO traffic at odd hours, it feels like an eternity. And pressing the crosswalk button doesn’t activate the light any faster, as it should. I’m emailing SDOT to complain about their light cycles again and that they should be based on sensors instead of these dumb timers. I hope the pedestrian recovers soon and that the driver isn’t scarred for life over this. If anything, we’ll probably have at least one more attentive driver out there on the lookout for peds and cyclists!

  • Aidan Hadley April 8, 2008 (2:14 pm)

    It makes me sad that ours has become a society in which pedestrians have to scramble across massive roads in fear for their lives while so many of us hurl down the road in our massive cars, reticent to use our brakes for any reason.

  • Hainsworth April 8, 2008 (2:39 pm)

    Remember the good old days at that intersection, when the lights had the old timing (just about 50/50), the original WALK/DONT WALK signals, and no left turn arrows on 35th? I used that intersection all the time, both on foot and in the car, and it worked beautifully. You could always cross the street legally and quickly, and you didn’t have to wait a week if you missed the green light. I do not understand why the city changed it.

  • m April 8, 2008 (3:13 pm)

    I don’t understand why the city changed it either. That intersection seems more dangerous now since the light cycle is so long. It makes most people impatient and so things like this are going to happen. Also, the build-up of cars waiting to turn left backs traffic out onto the through-lanes of 35th, creating another dangerous situation. Way to go SDOT. They say they did this because of limited sight distance, but if you drive through there on 35th it’s on a hill and you can see 100’s of yards down the road in both directions.

    I hope the pedestrian has a speedy recovery and the driver isn’t traumatized for long. This stinks for both of them.

  • CB April 8, 2008 (3:24 pm)

    Do we really need to see the video?

  • JanS April 8, 2008 (4:16 pm)

    hmmm…we have jaywalkers on many streets, not just at that intersection. So…the light takes a minute or so…does that justify not using a crosswalk, and taking your or someone elses life in your hands? The driver who was NOT at fault may have swerved to avoid the pedestrian, and may have caused a greater accident…so impatience justifies this? I don’t think so.

    Just yesterday I was waiting to make a left turn at an intersection on Calif and Lander..I am pulled out part way into the intersection, my light is green, and 2 young women crossing south to north across Lander totally ignored the “don’t walk” sign…didn’t even look at it, and walked in front of my car as I’m just getting ready to turn…had to slam my brakes on or I would have hit both…and they gave me a dirty look. Pedestrians do not always have the right of way…and while we may be in these huge metal vehicles and have to pay attention, there is a responsibility to pedestrians to pay attention, too, and respect that there are vehicles out there that may not be able to stop in time…

  • Kristina April 8, 2008 (4:47 pm)

    I feel very sorry for the pedestrian, who has learned a lesson the hard way. My heart breaks for the driver, who had no lesson to learn and obviously bears the burden of responsibility very heavily, even though it wasn’t her fault.

    One minutes and twenty seconds. Time to meditate on the pattern of a tree’s branches against the sky. Time to think a kind thought about a few people you love. Time to plan your dinner for that night. Time to do stretching exercises. (And that’s only if you miss the WHOLE light, right? Not if you come in halfway through the cycle, ’cause then it’s only 40 seconds….) A life is worth more than a minute and twenty seconds. A minute lost in a day is only a minute…not an eternity.

    Yes, I’m a pedestrian a lot of the time. Yes, I’m busy with life and responsibilities 99% of the time. It’s worth writing a letter to the city to reevaluate the light schedule, if someone chooses (makes sense to me) but it’s not worth risking one’s life.

    Life is too short.

    My perspective is as a cancer survivor. I’m fighting for every minute of my life, but I’m not going to spend those minutes chafing at traffic lights. Maybe that’s just me, but it seems to me that it would serve others as well.

  • Todd April 8, 2008 (5:59 pm)

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jan.

  • scian April 8, 2008 (8:06 pm)

    WSB, are you saying that if the police had indicated something other than that the driver did not seem to be at fault that you would have shown the footage of the driver? What then, you look for some dirt first then maybe post the footage? Is that the standard for “reporting” these days?

    I don’t understand.

    How would showing footage of the driver do anything positive in what otherwise was a bad day for at least 2 people?

    Just asking in all sincerity.

  • CMP April 8, 2008 (8:50 pm)

    My perspective about that intersection (and numerous others like it around the city) is that the SDOT is intentionally wasting my time, which I don’t appreciate. Maybe if that light changed more frequently based on the arrival of cross traffic there wouldn’t be as many people driving 40+mph on 35th. Frequent red lights might even result in more revenue generated from that soon-to-be-installed camera…woo hoo!
    And don’t even get me started on that new turn lane and green turn arrow to get onto Thistle…safety hazard. Also, if you’re gonna jaywalk, at least be smart about it. Look for cars and cops before you do it.

  • westwood April 8, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    I live nearby and the biggest danger at this intersection for pedestrians is cars turning left onto 35th off Thistle coming down the hill from the west. The light turns green for Thistle and they reflexively begin to turn without looking for pedestrians crossing from the busy southbound bus stop there. I have put my hand on a hood several times and every bus rider I know talks about it. I was sure this was the type of accident when I first read about it.

    Jan–some pedestrians, especially the young, are militant about making cars wait for them. Just like you might know a few people who drive with their ego.

    One final note–there is really no excuse for going any faster than 40 on 35th. The posted limit is 35 and to go any faster than five over is irresponsible, inconsiderate, and dangerous. Get over yourself–you don’t need to go that fast.

  • changingtimes April 8, 2008 (10:42 pm)

    just to make a point to the person who said that there is no police in the junction on the weekend. This is not true, at least on friday nights, they have walk throughs of most all of the junction bars, found this out at the rocksport last weekend when they were…walking through and stopped them to see what was happening, turns out for a first time nothing was up they said they were just doing there routine check on all the bars, to let the patrons know of there presence.

  • Sage K April 9, 2008 (1:04 am)

    I’ve been a bus rider most of my life and a driver the last year and I have to say that I’ve experienced the jaywalking problem from both angles. I know I’ve jaywalked and while I’ve always tried to be very careful about it, I’ve never stopped to think about what a person driving might think until I became a regular driver. I make it a point to stop when I can safely when I see pedestrians looking to cross at intersections as I really appreciate that when I’m walking somewhere.
    But as a driver jaywalkers scare me mainly because they are unpredictable and in a car it doesn’t matter who was in the right the damage is done.
    Tonight on my may to school about 6pm (I go through beacon hill to get to 12th to go to Seattle Central) I was just past the intersection of 12th and Jackson not a 1/4 block from a crosswalk and light and there is this little old lady standing on raised lane divider waiting to jaywalk. I stopped for her not because it was convenient or she was in the right but because I was afraid that she might wander in front of my car or some other car. So I would rather stop then trust an unpredictable ped. as if I hit them I am surrounded by tons of metal and they aren’t. So I’m extra cautius and I’ve been honked at by cars behind me.
    But I’d rather be safe then sorry.
    And to all those jaywalkers out there just because you think that there is plenty of time to get across or for that car to see you and slow down. Doesn’t always mean there is. they might be distracted and not see you or visibility might be bad. So since a person vs. car rarely works out well for the person. Please please please be patient and wait for that light or go to that crosswalk.
    And WSB thank you for your journalistic integrity. That’s one of the reasons that I like coming here for my news. Please keep it up.

  • c April 9, 2008 (7:40 am)

    What’s the big deal with the long light? If the turn light from 35th is red, I just go straight and then turn on Holden. Easy solution.

  • DB April 9, 2008 (10:25 am)

    I still think we need more lights and crosswalks all over WS. Our population has grown tremendously- and with it, the amount of pedestrians in our neighborhoods….

    I vote for a turning light at 35th and Raymond- that’s where all of the traffic comes out of the new housing development and while there is a light and crosswalk on 35th, there is no light facing raymond.

  • m April 9, 2008 (11:19 am)

    At 5:30 in the morning I want to get to where I’m going, not sit at a light when there is no traffic coming from anywhere any time soon. If someone at SDOT can’t successfully do something as simple as timing lights better during off-peak hours, how the heck are any of the MAJOR transportation issues that are facing this neighborhood going to be resolved??

  • Mary Newman April 9, 2008 (2:16 pm)

    I was witness to this accident and if anyone knows the current status of the victim can you please post it. Thank you

  • Mary Newman April 9, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    And for the record…the woman did not seem to be “intentionally” jaywalking. The light had just barely turned green so myself and the car in front of me were still stopped at the crosswalk getting ready to go. I believe the victim was confused and stepped out onto the crosswalk, not looking at the light but judging it was her time to cross based on our stopped cars, and as she crossed in front of us a car on the inside lane was approaching the intersection at normal speed (because the light was green) at which time the victum has cleared our lane and walked right in front of the approaching car. She wasn’t hurrying or looking out for cars, which leads me to believe that she honestly thought that she was safe to cross.

  • JenV April 10, 2008 (11:20 am)

    As I was driving south down 35th yesterday evening, I spotted at least 4 people jaywalking across 35th. This was close to dusk, too. One guy ran out right in front of my car at 35th and Holden – two feet away from the crosswalk!

Sorry, comment time is over.