West Seattle pedestrian safety: New proposal for California/Dakota

At the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, where SDOT community traffic liaison Jim Curtin is front and center: While most of the discussion so far has centered on 35th, Curtin revealed a new proposal for a California SW intersection that’s been of concern – California/Dakota. You might recall the most recent wave of concern there, sparked when a hit-and-run driver killed a dog (and narrowly missed its owner – WSB coverage here and here, and specifically regarding traffic-safety followup, here). Curtin says that the city is applying for a state grant to install a “rapid-fire beacon” (here’s what those look like) that would be pedestrian-activated. If they get the grant, the installation could happen this fall, he says.

ADDED: We asked Curtin a few follow-up questions after the meeting. He says the city will apply for the grant in May, and is fairly confident it’ll be approved; the cost of the special lights will be about $50,000 $15,000. The case of Lucy the dog is not the only reason California/Dakota is being singled out for this, he says; it’s also a busy crossing area because of the schools on the north side of The Junction – such as Tilden, Holy Rosary, Hope, Seattle Lutheran.

10 Replies to "West Seattle pedestrian safety: New proposal for California/Dakota"

  • coffee April 19, 2011 (9:33 pm)

    I would like to better understand why its so difficult to add crossing lights in high traffic areas.

  • Jtk April 19, 2011 (10:01 pm)

    Traffic lights don’t prevent people from speeding and not paying attention. The problem is not traffic lights. Its people in a hurry. Period.

  • chas redmond April 19, 2011 (10:19 pm)

    Not difficult, expensive. Ergo, there must be a super compelling reason – most reports that I hear about put the cost of even a half-light at more than a quarter-million bucks. True cost of ownership, meaning all the concrete cut costs, all the wiring, all the things which make it work are added up – the lights obviously don’t cost anywhere near that but the installation winds up being that or more.

  • old timer April 19, 2011 (11:50 pm)

    That rapid fire beacon looks cool.
    If it only goes on when crossers activate it, it might work.
    If it flashes all the time, it will quickly become ‘background visual noise’; easlly ignored by those on the phone, texting, or whatever else they do instead of paying attention.

  • Watertowerjoey April 20, 2011 (6:49 am)

    Great idea, but $50,000? Really? It can’t be labor costs because the people installing it are already on the payroll, right? Must be cost + ongoing maintenance.

  • Kate K April 20, 2011 (9:02 am)

    I like the idea of the pedestrian activated flashing lights – that looks effective.

    However, the cost I’m assuming for two of them (one on each side of the street) is $50K? Really? I could make that in my garage for a couple hundred bucks.

    Apparently I’m in the wrong line of work ;-)

    • WSB April 20, 2011 (9:21 am)

      Just heard from Jim Curtin. I apparently misheard .. he says it’s FIFTEEN thousand, not FIFTY. So perhaps that will make more sense to those wondering about the cost (I’ll change the story too). I didn’t even question my belief he said fifty since I have heard about transportation and other projects that have cost far more – and this (I was just looking further on its website) involves wireless tech among other things. So … $15,000. – TR

  • J April 20, 2011 (9:35 am)

    It looks like the pedestrian has to choose to activate the light; it’s not automatic. Noting the number of people who choose to cross without the flags (mostly children and teens), I’ll be curious to see if more pedestrians choose to activate the light than use the flags. (I’m sure making it automatic would greatly increase the cost.)

  • Jeremiah April 20, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    I’d hit a button to activate a light; its no different than tripping the Walk signals. However as a 32yo guy, I would never ever ever consider carrying a flag; I’m sorry, it just looks silly. I might as well grin and skip, or vogue with the flags as I cross. Paints a funny picture, eh?

  • Lola April 21, 2011 (11:37 am)

    I kinda like the vogue idea. That’d certainly get attention. A great flash-mob idea for one of the junctions!

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