Pedestrian-safety rally planned in West Seattle


(WSB photo from 35th/Juneau crash scene, 9/4/08)
Just in from Denise Sharify, who works for Neighborhood House in High Point and has been active on area pedestrian issues: A pedestrian-safety rally is set for 2:30-4 pm October 7 at 35th/Juneau, where a High Point 15-year-old was hit and injured just a few weeks ago. Everyone concerned about pedestrian safety in our area – not just on 35th – is encouraged to join in; Denise’s note to community members also mentions the California/Dawson crash that killed 92-year-old Rosemary MacCorkindale yesterday and the 35th/Brandon crash that killed 39-year-old Gregory Hampel last month. More details on the rally when plans are further finalized.

14 Replies to "Pedestrian-safety rally planned in West Seattle"

  • Kayleigh September 23, 2008 (5:34 pm)

    Pedestrian safety question: many of us have commented about being ‘almost’ hit in a crosswalk….is there a way to report a driver that does that? And will it do any good?

    I have had drivers look right at me and keep on going through the crosswalk, close enough for me to touch them.

  • scaredpedestrian September 23, 2008 (5:39 pm)

    This would be awesome. It would probably freak them out if you took a picture of them and reported it, too. The whole having cameras (like red light cameras) might be too much of a big brother thing for most people. If we can report HOV lane violators, drunk drivers, and litterers, we should be able to report reckless driving regarding pedestrians. The reporting might not be “worth it” for the authorities unless there is a fine involved, say if driving and talking on a cell phone was a primary offense?
    Just throwing out ideas here.

  • scaredpedestrian September 23, 2008 (5:40 pm)

    Also, what day is the rally on? Did I miss this?

  • WSB September 23, 2008 (5:45 pm)

    thank you for the fast catch, somehow I omitted that, it’s there now. October 7th. We also hope to be able to speak to the teenage crash survivor sometime before then; Denise is checking on that.

  • Sue September 23, 2008 (6:18 pm)

    I wish they could do it on a weekend or evening, when presumably more people were available to participate – I’d definitely be there if I wasn’t working then.

  • credmond September 23, 2008 (6:27 pm)

    So, is this a form of “critical mass?” If so, might there be the possibility of a backlash. Just asking. I’m all for improved pedestrian safety but part of the issue is and always has been the lack of education on behalf of motorists AND pedestrians. This particular accident is tragic in so many ways – a 91 year old lady being killed by a 77 year old lady. Maybe the 77 year old lady should not have been legally licensed to drive. Do we fully understand the situation yet? Anyway, I, too, would like more details about the rally.

    A question which keeps coming up for me is “if drivers can get away with ‘failure to yield’ for hitting a pedestrian and keep their license, what is the effect of anything we do other than taking their license to drive away?” Putting more paint on the road, raising the roadway for a “walkway,” putting lights over a crosswalk, all these things are meaningless if they are applied to someone who absolutely should not be allowed to drive a vehicle and until we get these bad drivers off the road this will continue no matter what we try. Just my humble-2 cents’- opinion. It’s a legislative issue, not a traffic issue.

  • DK September 23, 2008 (7:14 pm)

    Pedestrian safety rally…humm…just what is this rally supposed to accomplish?? Sounds like just another meeting of community activists that never really come up with answers for anything…

  • Creighton September 23, 2008 (7:24 pm)

    Is there a goal for the rally in mind? What would be the desired outcome? Not sure I get the point, other than to get in front of the media and vent. Maybe that’s ok too. It’s been talked about in other comments, but a lot of the onus is on the pedestrian when dealing with traffic. Sure, cars are supposed to yield, but ultimately it’s up to you to look out for yourself. Look both ways, don’t assume the driver will stop, wear bright colors, cross at the crosswalks, stuff like that. Both deaths in W Seattle are horrible, sad events, this is for sure. But like riding a bike or a motorcycle in traffic, you should assume everyone is out to kill you and navigate around the cars as such.

  • WSB September 23, 2008 (7:53 pm)

    The High Point neighborhood has campaigned for a long time for various pedestrian-safety improvements. Some of which, they won after repeated requests, city council presentations, city council visits, etc. In this case, “holding signs asking drivers to slow down and pay attention” is one likely component, per the note I paraphrased. To DK, this is a particularly active group of activists who have taken very specific issues to the people who can help, and gotten something accomplished. We have covered some of what they’ve done:
    Throughout West Seattle – and other neighborhoods – there are very few people doing a lot of hard work on behalf of all the rest of us; I see it at every community council/association we cover, the requests for more help, more involvement (it was in our video clip of Highland Park Action Committee chair Dorsol Plants from last night’s HPAC meeting; it was in an agenda item that Alki Community Council president Jule Sugarman presented to his group last week; and those are just the latest two – I remember hearing Steven Fischer of the Westwood Neighborhood Council make the same point when somebody showed up at a WNC meeting for the first time and demanded ‘you people should do something’ seemingly oblivious to the fact these groups are all led by uncompensated volunteers, no different from any of the residents in the areas they try to represent). The people who are doing the work manage to make some progress but imagine what could be done if even more got involved and spent just a couple hours every week or even every month.

  • Sue September 23, 2008 (7:54 pm)

    I think awareness of safety has to be brought to the attention of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians – not just one group. For instance, neighbors and I worked to get a traffic light at Dawson/Fauntleroy for pedestrian crossing and were thrilled when it was put in. This morning I pushed the button, it turned red for traffic, and as I started crossing for the bus, a car blew right through the red light. Last week it was a bike that nearly ran me down through the red light. However, 5 minutes after this car ran the light, I watched a pedestrian who did not push the button and decided to cross against the light, causing cars to slam on their breaks and swerve to avoid him. How do we fix all of this?
    If we can’t get education into some people’s heads that you don’t run lights, don’t jaywalk, don’t do stupid things (like running out into traffic, or expect drivers to see you when you’re wearing all black at night), then perhaps we need to work more at enforcing the current laws. And that means tickets to jaywalkers and drivers alike who don’t do what they’re supposed to do.
    I walk far more often than I drive, and as we head into the darker time of year, it’s scary to be out there as a pedestrian. I wear reflectors. I carry a flashlight. I don’t run into traffic without looking. When I do drive, I try very hard to look for pedestrians and keep to the speed limit.

  • scaredpedestrian September 23, 2008 (8:28 pm)

    Sue, I really like what you had to say. Common sense and safety on all ends for sure.
    Also, I know I have issues with cell phone talking while driving, but in San Francisco, a girl was struck by a bus and died after walking out in front of it while talking on her cell phone. Onlookers said she didn’t bother to look. Another good point, don’t walk and talk!
    I have also noticed some red light running at Dawson/Fauntleroy light. I use this light frequently for my dog and I as I live a few blocks up from here. I can’t remember, is there any additional signals or signs that go into notifying drivers of a new traffic signal? I am sure some locals are so used to there not being a light there!

  • Sue September 23, 2008 (8:41 pm)

    Scaredpedestrian, when they put the light in and activated it, they had it as a blinking light for a week or so before it went “live” – they’ve been doing that at other area new lights too. It shouldn’t be hard for drivers to see the light though – there are no obstructions. Red light running is something that I have never seen as prevalent as I have in the Seattle area. I think everyone is in a hurry.
    And I see people on cell phones while crossing all the time. If I’m walking down the street on a cell phone and I hit a corner, I tell them to hold on and I pay attention. No conversation is worth risking my life by not paying attention.

  • stacey September 23, 2008 (9:07 pm)

    I think this is a great idea! Maybe a Saturday would make it able for more people involved and make more of an impact. Also maybe a couple different places to hae people as well. A “station” at each place there’s been an incident? And places that are a problem? Along California Ave between Alaska and Fauntleroy there are a few crosswalks that are only marked with lines or porely visible signs. Just some thoughts…… I would love to take part buthaving to work full time won’t allow.

  • Brandon September 23, 2008 (11:48 pm)

    1) Walking downtown last week, a women next to me in a crosswalk READING A BOOK on 5th and Columbia!
    2) Again, last week, approaching 35th at Edmunds after leaving Mount St. Vincent, a mother with her child in a baby jogger runs right through the cross walk without looking at traffic.
    3) Driving through Safeway parking lot at Jefferson Square, a nun and another women meandering up the back driveway, across the front fire lane, not looking around, or checking if a car is approaching behind them, without a care in the world.
    4) Tonight, on 37th down by the Y, another pedestrian runs across the street in front of our car and never even looked at us as we came up on her. I tooted my horn and got flipped off.
    How many countless times do I see people step off the curb when the signal turns without looking at traffic making a right turn beside them.
    Sure, the ped has the right of way, but for gods sake, open your eyes and look around. You HAVE to read a book walking around downtown in rush hour traffic through a crosswalk??
    Your headstone will read “But I Had The Right of Way!”

Sorry, comment time is over.