UPDATE: Serious crashes are up, so speed limits are going down, again

(Graphic via seattle.gov)

11:19 AM: Three-plus years after cutting the speed limit on some arterials to 30 mph, the city is dropping it again. Announced today, via SDOT Blog:

Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced 4 steps to make our streets even safer & achieve our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths & serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

One step is reducing speed limits to 25 miles per hour (MPH) on major streets citywide. The speed limit on smaller neighborhood streets was already reduced to 20 miles per hour.

Today we launched the effort by reducing speeds to 25 MPH along Rainier Ave S., which will now have a consistent speed limit for 3.5 miles south of S Alaska St.

In 2020, we will begin lowering speeds on the rest of Seattle’s major streets, starting in Southwest and Southeast Seattle. We’re also working closely with our partners at WSDOT to lower speeds on state highways within our city, including Aurora Ave and Lake City Way.

Traffic deaths & injuries are a serious epidemic, & reducing speed limits helps ensure everyone can travel safely.

Severe crashes are increasing all over the country. Even in Seattle, which is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, there are over 13,000 crashes a year. On average, 20 people die, and 150 people are seriously injured each year, and while the trend dipped in 2018, it has gone back up in 2019. This trend is not acceptable. We don’t want anyone to experience the tragedy of a friend or loved one being killed by a collision.

Reducing speed limits has a proven safety benefit.

A person walking, rolling, or biking is twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a person driving 30 MPH than someone going 25 MPH. 90% of people hit by cars going 20 MPH are injured but survive.

We’ve seen increases in safety everywhere we’ve reduced speed limits to 25 mph.

Downtown & South Lake Union: 10% fewer crashes and 20% fewer severe injuries and deaths
Greenwood & Phinney Ridge: Crashes were lowered by 34%
Greenlake & Roosevelt: 44% reduction in collisions

It’s not just Seattle. New York City dropped speed limits throughout their city to 25 MPH in 2014. From 2014 to 2018, they were one of the only major cities in the country to see a consistent drop in traffic fatalities. The World Health Organization has concluded that a 5% reduction in average speed can result in a 30% decrease in traffic fatalities.

Slow & steady wins the race. Speeding causes collisions, & collisions cause 25% of traffic congestion.

We expect a negligible impact on how long it takes people driving to get where they’re going. Most trips will only take 20-40 seconds longer to drive a mile at 25 MPH than the current speed limit. About a quarter of the time we spend sitting in traffic is due to collisions, and lowering speed limits prevents about a third of them. It’s a win–win. …

As we implement lower speed limits, we’ll be installing signs at more frequent spacing so drivers see the speed limit more often. And as part of Mayor Durkan’s four steps, in 2020, Vision Zero Street Teams will share information about lower speed limits at educational events throughout the city. Speed limit information and safe driving tips will be shared through print, social, and ethnic media.

The City will also create a new Major Crash Review Task Force which will convene a panel of experts to analyze every serious and fatal collision in our City and provide recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening again. The City will also launch Vision Zero Street Teams to raise awareness around transportation safety issues and educate the public about lower speed limits and other infrastructure projects.

We work closely with our friends at the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to enforce the rules of the road and keep everyone safe, with a focus on warnings first to raise awareness. We’re working with SPD to develop further strategies to ensure traffic enforcement is equitable and does not disproportionally impact communities of color. We use data to inform focus areas to make sure to consider both collision trends and demographics to determine locations for enforcement patrols. We take a high visibility approach to enforcement and inform people about our additional hours of enforcement through our network of dynamic message signs and media. After all, the intent of the patrols is not to issue citations, but to change behaviors.

We’ve asked SDOT for elaboration on “major streets.” It’s been three years since one major West Seattle street, Delridge Way, was lowered to 30 mph, almost our years since the same cut on another, Fauntleroy Way.

2:45 PM: SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson confirms that “the speed limit will be 25 mph on all arterial streets. Smaller neighborhood streets will remain 20 mph. An easy way to tell the difference (most of the time) are that arterials have yellow lines down the center.” The mayoral announcement also notes:

SDOT will also double the number of intersections with leading pedestrian interval safety enhancements to 250 in 2020. These intersections give pedestrians a few seconds head start before cars get a green light, making pedestrians in crosswalks more visible. Studies have shown that leading pedestrian intervals can reduce the number of people hit by cars by 60 percent. …

Over the next two years, the Seattle Police Department will also double the number of red-light cameras and add safety cameras at five new school zones. SPD will provide 1,200 additional hours of enforcement on high-injury streets focused on giving warnings and driver education. Patrols will monitor intersections and bike lanes to discourage unsafe practices by drivers.

Last time we asked, they hadn’t picked camera locations yet, but we’re asking again.

4:55 PM: Side note – the City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee will get a Vision Zero briefing on Thursday at 1 pm. The agenda is out and it includes this slide deck (PDF) saying 2019 is the worst year in more than a decade for traffic-related deaths in Seattle, including 16 pedestrian deaths – triple last year’s number; four were in West Seattle. The slides also mention increased enforcement: “600 annual hours of additional enforcement focusing on high crash corridors and top contributing factors to collisions (impairment, distraction, speeding, failure to stop for pedestrian).”

111 Replies to "UPDATE: Serious crashes are up, so speed limits are going down, again"

  • West Seattle Hipster December 10, 2019 (11:44 am)

     We’re working with SPD to develop further strategies to ensure traffic enforcement is equitable and does not disproportionally impact communities of color.”Enforce the law fairly and consistently, regardless of color.  If someone is not following  the speed limit, then they should be held accountable.

    • KM December 10, 2019 (12:42 pm)

      For me, this is enforcement cameras and not traffic cops. Though technology is designed with bias, even if not intentional, I trust traffic cameras to enforce our traffic laws without bias MUCH more than SPD officers.

    • Lagartija Nick December 10, 2019 (2:05 pm)

      I found it interesting that they don’t want “to disproportionately impact communities of color” yet the implementation will begin in Southeast and Southwest Seattle, you know, where the majority of POC live. 

      • RCS December 10, 2019 (3:50 pm)

        Right?! Why don’t they start in upper Queen Anne???

    • WS Guy December 11, 2019 (12:25 am)

      I just don’t get why police enforcement per se is not equitable.  If the point of enforcement is to get cars to slow down, and therefore have fewer injuries, which is more equitable?  To enforce, or not to enforce?

  • Jim P. December 10, 2019 (11:51 am)

    Until and unless they enforce them, speed limits are merely signs to be ignored.The arterial I live on in WS is regularly used as a speedway even at the marked school crossings.Especially in summer the PD could make a nice income just parking someone here as they could write 5 or 6 tickets an hour just for speed and racing.But the official answer some years back when a group of us approached the city was that because this *was* an arterial they would not take any substantive steps to reduce speed here.

    • Pelicans December 11, 2019 (2:39 am)

      Alki Point area resident here.  I moved here 20+ years ago, but have lived in Seattle a total of over 24 years. I noticed how bad the traffic was on Alki in the summer of 2000 and mentioned it to a neighbor. He and others referred to it as “the train.” The lines of Hondas and Toyotas and other cars, lowered, “slammed”, etc. with loud mufflers that would come down the street. Stereos blaring, speeding through crosswalks with pedestrians, etc. They weren’t the only ones, however. All vehicles on Alki Ave. and Beach Drive and elsewhere have little regard for people on the sidewalk and/or those crossing the street. I’ve called 911 many times over these years because of vehicles speeding, burnouts, “ghosting” (many times every summer), etc.The next observation will resonate with those of you of a certain age.  My new neighbor back then had a 1956 restored GMC pickup, but with drum brakes . All vehicles now are made with power disc brakes. Drum brakes required physical strength to stop, and an emergency stop required the driver to “stand” on the brake pedal. I learned to drive in a car that had drum brakes, and had also driven his ’56.His observation way back then was that drivers had become “over confident” due to the enhanced stopping power of the new braking systems. I didn’t understand how right he was until I purchased a new vehicle several years later. The brakes on that thing were unreal. So, my point is, one reason people speed is that they feel over confident in their vehicles’ abilities to safely stop in any situation. I am against owning a totally self-driving vehicle, but maybe that is the real answer. When the kids go to take away my keys 20-30 years from now, self-driving cars will look pretty good. As long as they shut the blinker off after you’ve made the turn.  ;-)

  • Mj December 10, 2019 (12:02 pm)

    Lowering speed limits in itself is not effective and reduces safety. 
    The City’s own demonstration project showed this, yet they ignored the data and implemented lower speed limits anyway that has not made the streets SAFER!
    The way to improve safety is with improved street geometric design, not arbitrary signage.Once again the City is ignoring their own data that does not support the action being promoted.

    • Ice December 10, 2019 (1:18 pm)

      You’ve made this fictitious claim that lowering speed limits reduces safety multiple times, and you’ve never produced any kind of data that backs it up. Last time I asked you about this you made a vague reference to a Seattle Times article which didn’t back you up in the slightest. You claim the cities own data showed this, but where is that data? I agree with you that better design improves safety infinitely more than lowering posted speed limits, but there is absolutely no data showing that lowering speed limits REDUCES safety.

      • Jort December 10, 2019 (3:39 pm)

        An assertion has also been made that speed limits should be set “to whatever speed drivers feel most comfortable driving at.” This type of outdated thinking is part of America’s fatal error in trusting “traffic engineers.” Their decision-making has lead to tens of thousands of preventable deaths on our roads. Automobile collisions are one of the leading causes of preventable deaths and serious injuries in America and our rate outranks nearly all other developed countries, in large part because traditional “traffic engineers” prioritize vehicle speeds and throughput more than they do human lives and well-being.

        • Jethro Marx December 10, 2019 (7:31 pm)

          Jort, how many traffic engineers do you know? It’s interesting how attempts to demonize knowledgeable types are launched from both sides of the political spectrum- how little room there is for a scientist or engineer to simply do their job. I think you’d find traffic engineers try to design systems that optimize safe travel for all users, and that is a tough job, working with the resources they have. But I know you like to rant; I just think you’d do better to focus on those who do not follow the system as it’s been engineered, such as reckless drivers and bus lane violators and tailgaters who cause accidents and … well you can take it from there.

  • KBear December 10, 2019 (12:05 pm)

    “Reducing speed limits has a proven safety benefit.” NO. Reducing speed limits has a theoretical safety benefit. Reducing SPEEDS has a proven safety benefit. Scofflaws can go 40 mph in a 20 mph zone just as easily as they can in a 30 mph zone. We don’t need more signs. There are even studies that show too many signs can result in less compliance. Unless they actually follow through with enforcement, nothing will change. 

  • Frank C December 10, 2019 (12:16 pm)

    From what I’ve experienced, it’s the tail gating and reckless driving that is causing the most trouble. Until there’s an emphasis on reducing that, lowering speeds will have little impact. 

    • Gonzo December 10, 2019 (3:57 pm)

      Get tail gated often do you Frank? 

  • ada December 10, 2019 (12:19 pm)

    Does it breakdown those killed by SUV’s vs cars. Because I would think that would be a factor. 

  • Sandal1991 December 10, 2019 (12:31 pm)

    How about making it more difficult to obtain a drivers license, speed does contribute, but uneducated drivers on the road account for the majority- the others are distracted drivers educated or not – Stupid!

    • Will Rodman December 10, 2019 (9:44 pm)

      This is EXACTLY what’s needed.  People cannot drive and getting a license is a joke.  So is keeping it.  This is very clearly the primary culprit.  Drivers are way too often going way too fast or way too slow. Both of which are dangerous. Both. 

  • Yma December 10, 2019 (12:36 pm)

    ArghI would very much like to see the stats on where pedestrians are hit. I see multiple people, every day, not using the crosswalk – not even crossing at a corner. I see cyclists blowing through stop signs & lights.i drive very aware- but it can be scary out there.  

    • WSB December 10, 2019 (12:54 pm)

      The whole point of speed is that it isn’t about where someone is hit. Whether they’re in or out of a crosswalk (painted or otherwise), if they’re hit by someone going 25 mph, they have a better chance of survival than if they were hit by someone going 35 mph.

    • oakley34 December 10, 2019 (1:00 pm)

      Yes let’s blame pedestrians, not speeders, and certainly not drivers using their phones.  

  • KM December 10, 2019 (12:38 pm)

    I appreciate the easy change. However, without properly funding enforcement mechanisms and street redesigns/traffic calming, and our mayor’s continued focus TNCs rather than transit,  I am not hopeful. Unfortunately the mayor has backtracked on safe streets efforts, changing speed limits is a pretty easy thing to do. In regards to NYC, traffic violence has surged this year, and NYPD is less than helpful in protecting vulnerable road users. In my experience, SPD isn’t any better.

  • oakley34 December 10, 2019 (12:45 pm)

    As someone who has been hit on a WS street (in a crosswalk with right of way and walk signal) I applaud these steps.  Will it work without extra (or merely some, as there doesn’t seem to be much now) enforcement?  No.  But it is a significant step, and one very much needed.   

  • Mj December 10, 2019 (12:48 pm)

    ada – I agree getting hit by a large SUV is likely to result in worse injury.  With a sedan a pedestrian can sometimes roll over the vehicle.

  • Rob December 10, 2019 (12:49 pm)

    When have you ever seen any one pulled over for a traffic offense in Seattle?  They wouldn’t even enforce along Alki and had to have a summit with police and more emphasis promised.  And that emphasis is where?  Until Seattle actually enforces its laws – anarchy will continue to exist.  

    • mk December 10, 2019 (4:02 pm)

      I agree. It’s political in my opinion. The Chief of Police takes their marching orders from the Mayor. Until we get a different ideology going in this city, non left wing, things aren’t going to change. Good luck / don’t hold your breath though. Sawant and Herbold both were relected but there’s much more voting history that supports why a change is needed.

      • CAM December 10, 2019 (5:58 pm)

        This is the first time I’ve seen the progressive wing blamed for nonenforcement of traffic laws or as anti-pedestrian safety improvements. Way to spread the wealth!

        • KM December 10, 2019 (8:47 pm)


  • Chuck Jacobs December 10, 2019 (12:50 pm)

    Another skirmish in the #WarOnCars. Why not just make a blanket 20 mph speed limit on all roads in Seattle, I-5 included? This is a money grab by the city for higher speeding ticket fines.

    • oakley34 December 10, 2019 (1:02 pm)

      That is an absurd statement.  How often do you see someone pulled over for speeding in Seattle, much less WS?  War on Cars?  Get over yourself.

    • Peter December 10, 2019 (1:06 pm)

      “This is a money grab by the city for higher speeding ticket fines.” That is utter and total nonsense. Nobody has to pay any traffic fines at all if they don’t break the law. It’s a non-issue for those of us who behave responsibly.

    • KBear December 10, 2019 (1:09 pm)

      If only it WERE a “money grab” by the city. I’d be perfectly fine with balancing the city budget on the backs of those who willfully disobey traffic laws.

    • Ice December 10, 2019 (1:33 pm)

      This is what a victim complex looks like.

    • Lagartija Nick December 10, 2019 (1:59 pm)

      The speed limit in most of Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, Woodinville, and Mercer Island is 25, are they engaged in the #waroncars too?

    • Azimuth December 10, 2019 (9:21 pm)

      Cars are inanimate objects. There is no #waroncars.

  • oakley34 December 10, 2019 (12:59 pm)

    I’ll also say that anecdotally the Fauntleroy reduction seems to have worked somewhat.  I rarely see cars barreling through there, as someone who walks or runs down Fauntleroy almost daily.

    • brian December 10, 2019 (4:42 pm)

      I still see the occasional informal drag race that happens at the light at Fauntleroy and California.  Two days ago I saw one that almost ended in a 4runner absolutely destroying some parked cars. Very cool.    

    • Plf December 11, 2019 (5:23 am)

      Overtime noticed  folks leaving California and speeding down 44 th ave as an alternative, damn near hit some kids walking to school, more often it’s parents with kids in a hurry, imagine they wouldn’t do this on their street. Police know and do nothing just a matter of time and there will be a child killed

  • WTF December 10, 2019 (1:00 pm)

    Oh yeah. This’ll help. smhYou can post any speed you want. If it’s not enforced, you have nothing.

  • dsa December 10, 2019 (1:13 pm)

    How does this improve the ability of DUI drivers?  It does not.  And a lower speed limit might  make it that much easier to use one’s cell phone.  One the bright side the city might be more interested in enforcement with the increase of fines due to “over the limit” citations.

  • anonyme December 10, 2019 (1:24 pm)

    It’s a start, but agree that without enforcement, not much will change.  Another empty, feel-good message from the Mayor.  I live in the 30mph section of 35th, where the average speed is 40+.  As someone who was hit in a controlled crosswalk by a COP, I can attest to the problem of lack of enforcement. 

  • Steven CC December 10, 2019 (1:38 pm)

    Sigh… If only the current speed limits were being enforced. Rare to see police on patrol except during ‘quota’ days. It’s gotten pretty wild out there and spending money on signs won’t help…

  • RF Interference December 10, 2019 (2:04 pm)

    I enjoy driving the speed limit, not looking at my phone, stopping for pedestrians crossing the street, and only passing bicycles when there is good visibility and plenty of room.

  • Airwolf December 10, 2019 (2:06 pm)

    Speed Limits do not seem to apply in our area. God forbid I go the speed limit, especially on the bridge. I would have someone tailing me aggressively. 

  • Alex S. December 10, 2019 (2:08 pm)

    The mayor cited recent fatality accidents on Aurora Ave as a justification for further safety improvements.   How on earth is a government project going to stop a 23 year-old high on meth, speeding, with her eyes closed from maiming or killing people?If anything, the city has been encouraging this kind of motor vehicle violence since drugs have been decriminalized, and insane so-called “harm reduction” policies have been embraced. 

    • EastWest December 10, 2019 (2:33 pm)

      Took the words out of my mouth.  Stupid knee jerk response that will have little to no effect other than potentially raising additional money for the city through additional  traffic fines issued for drivers going marginally above the new lower limits.

  • Bubbasaurus December 10, 2019 (2:16 pm)

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Does anyone working for the city have any ability to really determine what the root cause is? Driver issues, pedestrian issues, road design? I guess project Zero Vision, which is a 5 mph speed limit by 2030 is right on schedule. 

  • zark00 December 10, 2019 (2:42 pm)

    You all are wrong that this will have no impact without enforcement.  Takes about 5 seconds to look it up. The only articles backing you up are opinion pieces – kinda says it all doesn’t it?Here’s one, of many, studies – this one in Boston – where they reduced the posted speed limit by 5MPH, advertised it, put it on social media, had no increased enforcement.  It resulted in drivers slowing down.  30% less likely that a car would exceed 35MPH – lower posted speed limits reduce the speed at which people drive – kind of a duh, but you still argued that it couldn’t possibly be true.  smh.https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/city-drivers-slow-down-for-lower-speed-limit-in-bostonMJ's comment about lower speed limits being LESS safe is ridiculous.  No rational human being actually believes crap like that. So stupid it should be a joke – or sarcasm – but I don’t think it is.Current data suggests that SUVs do indeed contribute to more fatalities in pedestrian accidents.  It’s not rock solid causality because there is a more pronounced increase in pedestrian deaths than just increasing SUV numbers can account for.  But couple it with distracted drivers and you’re probably there.  Distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic collisions.  Speeding is the number one contributing factor to fatalities in collisions.  If you text and drive, you are an abhorrent human being.  Deserve to go to prison and be stripped of your license.

  • Jort December 10, 2019 (2:51 pm)

    It is time for automated enforcement of speeding laws. 1 mph over the limit and you get a ticket. The camera takes your picture and you get the ticket. Every single time, no debating, it’s done, you get the ticket. Done. Pay up. The cameras should be at every other intersection in West Seattle. Additionally, the radar on the cameras should be used to activate the next red light at the next intersection in order to forcibly slow down cars. I am also in support of mandatory implementation of technology that forces cars to go under certain speeds when they are on streets within the city of Seattle. The devices would be required on every vehicle and, if somebody chooses not to use them, they are subject to an insurance premium of $25,000 per month. These are rational steps to curb one of Seattle’s leading causes of preventable death and serious injury. We have trusted car drivers to “do the right thing” for too long. Now it is time to force them into compliant behavior. If people don’t like it, good news, they can take the bus instead.

    • honey bee December 10, 2019 (4:40 pm)

      Yeah Jort, while they are at it they can put cameras in our houses and fit everyone with electric collars so they we all get a shock when we do something wrong. Go ahead and tattoo 666 on your forehead now. That way you will be in compliance ahead of schedule.

      • Canton December 10, 2019 (5:45 pm)

        Jort, your diatribe needs a radar. And a possible ranting infraction.

      • KM December 10, 2019 (8:52 pm)

        Good one. A public roadway with a speed limit for all users is definitely the same as your private home. I’m impressed!

      • alexa December 11, 2019 (6:15 am)

        And then they can attach a microphone and use those cameras to suveil our every move under the guise of offering low priced plastic wigets and on-demand cooking recipes.Get yours today!

    • JVP December 10, 2019 (9:21 pm)


      • Jort December 11, 2019 (1:00 pm)

        The good news is that car drivers who are afraid of ooga-booga “surveillance” (which is actually just accountability for them breaking the law brazenly and repeatedly), they can take the bus instead. Time to get on the bus!

  • Don Brubeck December 10, 2019 (2:52 pm)

    Lowering the speed limit doesn’t solve anything all by itself, but it’s one piece of the puzzle toward safe streets.  We need this to help counter all of the other factors people people have noted.

  • Quora December 10, 2019 (3:03 pm)

    I echo the comments on enforcement. As someone who lives a block from California Ave it never ceases to amaze me how fast people drive on that road. In my area, on any given day there are families with strollers, kids pouring out of daycare and Madison Middle School, and others riding their bikes.IF YOU WANT TO REDUCE ACCIDENTS YOU NEED TO ENFORCE SPEEDING LAWS

    • JVP December 10, 2019 (9:27 pm)

      I live 3 blocks from California, I’m often up there walking. I agree there’s problems, but to me it’s not so much the speeds, as the design of the mid-bock crosswalks. I’d LOVE to see them put in bright, on-demand blinky LED lights like they have at a few of the intersections up closer to Dakota and Cali. Not sure exactly which street they’re at, but they’re fantastic at getting attention. The fact that they’re not always blinking is key. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen cars blast through those crosswalks between Edmunds and Genessee, mostly “out of towners” I assume since all locals should know to look for crossers.

  • MJ December 10, 2019 (3:18 pm)

    zark00 30+ years of reviewing speeds, speed limits, accident data and the affect of properly set speed limits clearly shows that fewer accidents result when speed limits are set based on proper technical criteria.  Sometimes the data is counter intuitive to the lay public, this is especially the case with speed limits!

    • Jethro Marx December 10, 2019 (9:45 pm)

      You have worded this VERY carefully but it sounds like you’re saying you are a self-taught traffic expert- is that right? But you do not, in fact, have any formal training in traffic safety or hold any profession dealing with the matter, correct? If I’m wrong, do tell, but I cannot believe any traffic engineer would speak in such ambiguously couched terms as “properly set speed limits” and “proper technical data.” I suppose we’ve been using improper and/or creative data, what? Maybe we could train pedestrians on how to “roll over the top” of the cars that hit them!

  • AliAlki December 10, 2019 (3:30 pm)

    I think that saying this will change nothing if not enforced is inaccurate. As someone who follows the posted speed limit for an area I will drive slower when the speed limit is lowered. If someone walks in front of my car (for whatever reason) their chance of survival will be improved because I will driving slower. I am also sure I can’t be the only one who will adhere to the new speed limit regardless of a lack of enforcement and though I am sure some will ignore the new speed limit because of the lack of enforcement as long as some of us follow it pedestrian safety (or at least survival rates) should improve. Personally I think is reason enough to make the change.  

  • ARPigeonPoint December 10, 2019 (3:31 pm)

    I’d really like to see the city implement delay periods after the pedestrians in crosswalks have had their green wherein the cars trying to turn can do so – especially downtown.  I’m a driver, pedestrian and transit rider.  Some intersections have green turn arrows after the crosswalk light has turned red and I’ve noticed a huge difference between those and the intersections that don’t.  I imagine it would also help with traffic backups because cars/buses could make it through a light after the late-crossing pedestrians (the ones who start crossing when there’s no way they can make it across before they get the red) have finished crossing.

  • JH December 10, 2019 (3:51 pm)

    In Germany, you loose your license anywhere from a few days to a few months for tickets. Might be something to try here.At the end of the article about this in the Seattle Times, they police said they would place plainclothes cops at crosswalks trying to cross to catch drivers ignoring pedestrians. BUT, then the article said they would only issue warning tickets.  Wow.

  • Bmblbe December 10, 2019 (3:54 pm)

      Jort. Have you sold your car?? In prior posts you’ve said you know all about WS traffic because you drive everywhere. Quora. Seattle Times did an article a few years ago. SPD did a speed limit enforcement around schools. 75% of the speeding tickets handed out were to PARENTS dropping off or comeing to pick up their kids.

    • Quora December 10, 2019 (9:26 pm)

      I fully believe that, which is why I’ve made several comments on WSB that parents are the worst offenders of speeding issues in West Seattle because for some reason they think they can drive as fast as they want to get from point A to point B. It’s ridiculous.

  • bmblbee December 10, 2019 (3:57 pm)

    WSB has said this also. The MAJORITY of speeders in a neighborhood are people that live in that neighborhood. Have you doorbelled your neighbors to let them know you expect them to follow the law??….yeah didn’t think so. Bet you didn’t answer when YOUR doorbell rang.

    • Peter December 10, 2019 (6:52 pm)

      Nobody should ever have to “doorbell” their neighbors to get them to obey the law. How disconnected from basic human decency are you that you think people should be “doorbelld” by their neighbors before they obey traffic laws?

  • DeadEnd Marc December 10, 2019 (4:02 pm)

    Vision Zero Goal…?During McGinn’s tenure,  ‘Town Hall’ r.e. Auto vs. Bike or Pedestrian revealed a ‘serious’ accident in Seattle 50/year being defined as 3+ day hospital stay thru death… ~1/week.  THAT YEAR Seattle was the 2nd safest city in America for exactly this class of Auto vs. human accidents. The real issues here are benchmarks vs. reaction to headlines,and productive spending of scarce tax revenues.  Who gets to choose those who get to decide if 50/year is enough is another argument altogether. Regular road maintenance, clearing of debris, foliage visibility and paint (striping) maintenance might be a better immediate use of these tax dollars.Just my two cents.

  • DH December 10, 2019 (5:03 pm)

    Well I’m going to test out the enforcement question. I live off Delridge, am over 50 and oddly have never gotten a speeding ticket. Guess I’m overdue. Besides my insurance just went down. I’ll let you all know if I get a ticket. 

  • flimflam December 10, 2019 (5:11 pm)

    nice to see the city addressing the issues that just about nobody is asking to be addressed. lol

    • WSB December 10, 2019 (5:15 pm)

      If you were one of the 16 people killed so far this year, you’d want the issues to be addressed. What’s funny about 16 people dying?

      • flimflam December 10, 2019 (7:25 pm)

        nothing funny about people dying  – it is very funny that the city has this at the top of their list of things to do. in fact, i would guess that many/most fatalities are from either not paying attention or going well over the posted speed – an enforcement issue at 15, 25, 75 mph.  in essence, i think its yet another grandstanding move by the city

    • Peter December 10, 2019 (6:46 pm)

      Actually, flimflam, those of us who are pedestrians are sick and tired of the violence you drivers constantly inflict on us, and we are very much asking the city to do everything they can to stop you and your ilk from killing us. 

      • mark47n December 11, 2019 (10:55 am)

        What a load of Bollocks.I drive a diesel truck. I ride a motorcycle and a bicycle. I walk all over the place. I even cross the street every now and again.Pedestrians are not a class of user unto themselves. many of them drive and I’m sure they’ve had their close calls just like the rest of us. How about the peds that just step out into traffic either willfully or while their brains and sense  are pulled into the phone vortex? Drivers are only a part of the problem, pedestrians are a part, too.

    • KM December 10, 2019 (8:56 pm)

      It’s pretty impressive how many people are up in arms about having to see poverty in our community, but death due to traffic violence? Meh. Gotta get to Costco as fast as possible!

  • Aj December 10, 2019 (5:15 pm)

    Without a speed gun I can’t be 100% accurate but the speed reduction on south Delridge does seem to have slowed traffic from 50mph to just over 45…. At 40mph the horns start to blare!

    • CAM December 10, 2019 (6:08 pm)

      The first time I ever drove on Delridge was shortly after moving to Seattle. I was intentionally going the speed limit and was trying to watch for where I needed to turn because it was unfamiliar. I finally got to where I was going and was in the middle of turning when the car behind me (who had been on my bumper for miles) drove out into the other direction of traffic to get around me faster, flipped me off, and laid on the horn. Because I was driving the speed limit. 

      • DMC December 11, 2019 (12:37 am)


      • KBear December 11, 2019 (9:26 am)

        CAM, I can totally believe your story. Delridge is notorious for speeders, tailgaters, bus lane violators, and just general rude driving. They should put a police station on that street!

        • JH December 11, 2019 (12:02 pm)

          There is a police station on that street.

  • WS Taxpayer December 10, 2019 (5:17 pm)

    This is a very passive-aggressive Seattle thing to do.  I am sure a pedestrian has a better chance of getting out of the way of a distracted or drunk driver going 25 vs. 35.  That being said, the Million dollars spent on signage could be applied toward safer crosswalks, better enforcement, or other traffic calming measures in trouble spots.  But instead we get our city government saying I know we can fix it by putting up a bunch of signs and telling people how to behave.  I don’t think it will solve the problem.  Statistically as the population of the city has increased since 2010, we have seen 37% decrease in the RATE of major injuries and deaths with a corresponding 24% increase in population! .  The government focus is misplaced.  What are we trying to accomplish with these signs – certainly not zero injuries, so less?  How much less?  Is it reasonable to think we can save  3 lives with new signs…then great.  What other options are on the table that would save more?  10 more police officers?  I am tired of the government lobbing anecdotal solutions to real problems and patting each other on the back…

  • justme December 10, 2019 (5:28 pm)

    What we really need to implement is a 1-800-hero line to report texters. If a driver gets a said number of reports they receive a warning, then a ticket, then a license revoked. From my experiences its texters who screw things up for all of us.

  • Mini December 10, 2019 (5:53 pm)

    Has true systematic problem solving been applied to identify the root cause(s) of these traffic deaths and injuries?  It would be interesting to see, if done.  I’m sure there are multiple causes, depending on the situation, that would require more than one solution, like lowering the speed limits, to effectively  fix the problem as a whole. 

  • DelridgeDriver December 10, 2019 (5:57 pm)

    This is great! I agree that we need more enforcement, but even without enforcement, this will help reduce the prevailing speed. I know that I, for one, will obey the new limits, so everyone behind me will also be obeying the law. This will make conditions safer for cyclists and pedestrians on our absurdly dangerous arterials!

  • Jim December 10, 2019 (5:59 pm)

    Just another run at milking the public out of money.  Just like fines (taxes) for oil and gas heat for homes and businesses.Give the people some reason to drive safer.  Back in the 50’s my mother got pulled over twice for driving safely.  We got several grease jobs for the car, a  new washing machine, phonograph, dinner at a nice restaurant,  presented to her by Dale Huling and a picture  in  the paper.   Better drivers and pedestrians is the cure,  lowering speed limits only raises fines.

    • Peter December 10, 2019 (6:57 pm)

      “Just another run at milking the public out of money.” that is total nonsense. If you don’t want to pay fines, all you have to do is obey the law. But apparently that’s an unreasonable expectation for you. 

  • D December 10, 2019 (6:03 pm)

    YAY!!!!! I’m so glad the speed limit is being lowered! Thank you mayor Durkan!

  • Christine December 10, 2019 (7:53 pm)

    I think speed limit signs would help enforce the new limits. I have contacted the city numerous times about the speeding and the responding city employees make it seem like it will take forever to get signs, speed bumps and other slowing methods. Enforcement needs to be accelerated. Otherwise, no one will slow down. 

  • MrB December 10, 2019 (8:12 pm)

    Alternative Headline: City desperate for revenue criminalizes everyday life.

    • Jort December 10, 2019 (9:29 pm)

      Breaking the law is your everyday life? Hmm. Don’t like tickets? Follow speed laws or hang up the keys. Time to get on the bus!

    • Lawrence Rodman December 10, 2019 (9:55 pm)


  • Hh December 10, 2019 (9:31 pm)

    As I sit on my couch in my house on Fauntleroy Way, I laugh at the 30mph limit. I have literally heard several vehicles speeding well on excess of 30. This morning witnessed a vehicle travel 70 (thanks for putting the speed tracker sign up so I can clearly see the excess speeds). Numerous emails to Officer Ashley Price at SPD to bring it to their attention and she could care less. I’ve had people slam their brakes at a red light as to not hit me and my dog legally crossing the crosswalk. I’ve had people curse at me. I’ve witnessed numerous cars use the center lane as a passing lane because they didn’t want to travel at 30. Go ahead and lower the speed limit but until it’s enforced, it doesn’t matter. I value SPD and their work (as I have told officer price) but speed control is a farce! Also, she informed me they only enforce during certain hours. So fill free to use excess speeds after hours. Let me know if you want the emails, I’ve saved them. 

  • JRR December 10, 2019 (9:35 pm)

    This will also be nice for those of us who live near major arterials that shake our houses from poor pavement plus people going way over the limit. We regularly see people going highway speeds on Roxbury.

  • andy December 10, 2019 (9:45 pm)

    Yes, lower the speed limit!

  • Mj December 10, 2019 (10:28 pm)

    DelridgeDriver Speed limits set too low create the potential for frustrated motorists to pass or bunch up behind motorists driving too slow.  This creates unsafe conditions and is one of the primary reasons to set speed limits based on technical criteria that includes the speed prudent drivers drive at.  The best way to reduce speed is through geometric design of the streetscape to calm speeds.

    • KM December 11, 2019 (4:24 am)

      No, speed limited are not set due to what “prudent drivers” drive at. They are generally set at what about 85% of the drivers choose to drive. They can round up or down based on other factors, those factors are generally based on design and histories of collisions. It may be “prudent” in some circumstances, but that’s not then judgement they use. Regardless, blaming speed limits on poor driver behavior is laughable. Frustrated motorists should not be driving if they cannot control their emotions and behavior.

  • Andrew Krom December 11, 2019 (5:41 am)

    One should make themselves more noticeable. Pedestrians should wear safety vests ($15 at Home Depot, McClendon,  Ace Hardware, Amazon or $55+ Hy-viz jackets (Home Depot, McClendon, Amazon). I have a lime  Hy-viz jacket that gets noticed as I get near a crosswalk. No one has come close to hitting me.

  • anonyme December 11, 2019 (5:58 am)

    A “technical analysis” of speeds does not take into consideration the impact of speed in residential neighborhoods.  Noise and danger increase exponentially with speed, so analyze that if you can.  I agree with Jort as to the use of traffic cameras, a simple and efficient solution to a serious problem.  Cameras would not only catch speeders but texters and cell phone users.  I would also disagree with those who characterize the issue as one of a city money grab.  Ridiculous.  As so many have pointed out, this stance only makes sense for those who are breaking the law and wish to continue to do so without penalty.  Too.Bad.  It’s time criminals starting paying instead of everyone else.

  • TreeHouse December 11, 2019 (6:43 am)

    A step in the right direction! Let’s put our city money where our mouths are and put in speed cameras. They free up police and enforce the law. And while we are at it, how about cameras on buses that ticket bus lane violators? It has worked in San Francisco! 

  • Seriously? December 11, 2019 (7:51 am)

    “It won’t work without enforcement.” How about being responsible and ” self-enforce” the damn speed limits! Having a vehicle, be it car, bus or delivery truck, does not make you Lord and Master of The Road. I love how people blame roads, parking lots, signage, etc. for accidents, hit and runs and fender benders. Roads, parking lots and signs are inanimate objects. Accidents come down to the driver. You are operating a several thousand pound hunk of metal. Don’t you think, as the operator of such a machine, the operator needs to focus on driving safely? Put the damn phone down, drive like you give a crap about something, or someone else, and follow the rules of driving. Yeah, there’s a rule book! You can get it for free! Blaming signs and streets for bad driving habits is like me blaming my stairs because I tripped and fell because I wasn’t paying attention. Have some personal accountability.

  • So many issues... December 11, 2019 (9:09 am)

    The prevailing issue is that the city is taking the stance that current limits are too high, so they will prevent injuries & deaths by reducing them rather than enforcing them. I’m certain that will be wildly effective. This absolutely won’t be some bullet point on the mayor’s list of “accomplishments” which mean nothing. 

    As far as the other issues raised, there is no data about parents speeding more to pick up kids, people speeding more in their own neighborhood or any other pattern identified here. I especially like the person who can “hear” the speeding from their couch. 

    As as far as Jort’s “Solutions” go, no police department is going to collectively bargain for cameras everywhere and effectively eliminate traffic safety from their reason to exist. As far as phone users go- one can pick up at hands free kit for around $39. If someone can afford a $1,000 phone- and a car, they can probably afford to pick one up. Other invasive tech actually doesn’t exist which would reduce speed automatically on city streets, but I anxiously await that development to arrive. 

  • carole December 11, 2019 (9:39 am)

    While the city is putting this emphasis on pedestrian safety, Metro is planning to eliminate THREE stops at lighted/signaled intersections on California heavily used by locals and commuters: outside the PCC (used by high school students), Charleston (used by middle school students and at least one blind person who commutes daily) and Dakota (used by students at Tilden and from Holy Rosary) leaving pedestrians to take their chances at poorly lit, unsignaled corners.  Who do we contact at Metro about this fiasco, and why is there no coordination between city and county and SDOT on these issues?  On another note, I was walking on California this week while the school zone lights were flashing at Lafayette; cars kept flying by without even an attempt to slow down.  Police would have had a field day handing out tickets.

  • zark00 December 11, 2019 (10:25 am)

    @MJ – for a self described, 30 year, traffic and safety analyst you are weirdly, incredibly, incorrect.  There is no data that proves that “properly set speed limits” reduce traffic accidents, because you completely made that up.  Calling everyone lay-people – weird flex but ok.Here’s some accurate, factual, information for you, I’m kind of surprised you haven’t learned this in your 30+ years of reviewing ‘stuff’:”However, the most recent and statistically robust research on speed and
    crash occurrence fairly definitively indicates that, all other factors
    being equal, increased speeds increase crash occurrence.”From: R. Elvik, P. Christensen, and A. Amundsen, “Speed and Road Accidents: An
    Evaluation of the Power Model,” The Institute of Transport Economics
    (TOI), TOI Report 740/2004 (December 2004)You can read more here – https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/ref_mats/fhwasa12004/Please don’t tell us you know more that the Federal Highway Administration. Incidentally, that entire report is focused on the fact that there is no such thing as an accepted best practice for properly set speed limits. Your next comment is almost as incorrect as your first comment. Here’s one for anyone claiming that without enforcement the speed limit won’t change:”A change in the speed limit almost always changes the mean speed of traffic.” Same citation, same report.  Can you just stop with the “WiThOut enForcEment, NoBoDie gUnna slOW DoWN – derp!”You’re wrong, you have been proven wrong, so just stop spewing ignorance and read something for a change.  “When this statistic is combined with the power formula equating change
    in mean speed to crash risk, it is evident that lowering the speed limit
    will reduce crash risk, and raising the speed limit will increase crash
    “Fact is this is cheap – one time signage change, some publicity – compared to hiring more police.  It’s effective – as has been illustrated ad nauseam:Reducing the speed limit absolutely reduces the speed at which people drive.Reducing the speed at which people drive absolutely reduces the frequency and severity of collisionsReducing the speed AND frequency of collisions absolutely improves safety for everyone.I can’t really figure out what you gain by making these weird, completely fake, claims like you’re some sort of expert.  Please let us all know.

    • D December 11, 2019 (11:07 am)

      Well said Zarc00!!! 

  • Rick December 11, 2019 (10:25 am)

    Just make the speed limit the same as the slowest moving bicycle exercising their right to the middle of the roadway(instead of riding single file allowing cars to pass,using the bike only lane or (gasp) the sidewalk. Everybody’s happy! That was so easy I should be mayor. (Sarc, for those who don’t know)

  • skeeter December 11, 2019 (10:58 am)


    Jort said:

    I am also
    in support of mandatory implementation of technology that forces cars to go
    under certain speeds when they are on streets within the city of Seattle. The
    devices would be required on every vehicle and, if somebody chooses not to use
    them, they are subject to an insurance premium of $25,000 per month.”

    This idea
    has quite a bit of merit.  I used to
    think self-driving cars would make our streets safe for vulnerable users, but
    now I’m having my doubts about whether we’ll have self-driving cars in a
    reasonable time period.  Until
    self-driving cars are mandatory, common-sense restrictions such as Jort’s
    proposal make a lot of sense.  Drivers
    have demonstrated that we are simply not capable of safely operating our vehicles.  We drive too fast.  We allow distractions.  We drive under the influence.  We drive while impaired.  We kill people.  It’s time to install devices on cars that
    limit the amount of carnage we can do.  I’m
    with you Jort.    

  • dftl December 11, 2019 (1:54 pm)

    We support the war of zero vision.

  • Hmmm December 11, 2019 (3:04 pm)

    Jort,skeeter. Since you’re in favor of goverment controls i take it you’d agree that the government should be able to tell us when and where we can travel by car. All in the name of safety of course.

    • skeeter December 12, 2019 (12:47 pm)

      HMMM – I’m not sure I understand your question.  The government has long told us how/when we can travel by car in the name of safety.  That’s why there are speed limits.  And laws against drunk driving.  And laws requiring insurance.  And laws requiring a driver’s license.  And laws requiring a commercial license for driving a truck over a certain weight.  And laws requiring functional headlights.     If your question is whether I’m in agreement that these laws are in the public interest, then my answer is “yes” I believe these laws are in the public interest.    Is that what you are asking?  

  • anonyme December 11, 2019 (5:08 pm)

    HMMM, it’s been done in Europe and a number of other countries for years.  It’s called road space rationing and it’s a damn good idea.  Also an excellent start at addressing climate change, should the “goverment” ever decide to care.  More cars off the road the better, IMO, especially after yet another near-death experience today as a pedestrian.  Drivers don’t even look or stop for pedestrians in light-controlled crosswalks any more.   I’m getting a cane, and the next time this happens there’s gonna be some serious body damage.  And I don’t just mean the car.

  • Jane December 11, 2019 (7:52 pm)

    the only time i see people slow down their driving in west seattle is when they see a police car. people speed because they can get away with it. and they are driving increasingly faster in west seattle. because they aren’t getting pulled over. no cops assigning tickets…speeders speed on.

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