FOLLOWUP: Report card on ‘driver report card’ West Seattle trial

(WSB photo from mid-April)

As chronicled here, the “driver report card” pilot project didn’t seem to have much effect on drivers stopping for pedestrians – and an SDOT rep has acknowledged that. This came during an update given to the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Board, meeting online last night (only two board members were in attendance pending a wave of new appointees expected to join soon).

As reported previously, the pilot project involved signs at two spots in High Point for six weeks, each reflecting the results of data gathering involving whether drivers stopped for pedestrians. Most weeks, the results were worse than the week before. SDOT’s Kadie Bell Sata acknowledged to the advisory board, “It didn’t have the huge impact that would have been great.” She said the project also gathered data – not reflected on the signage – about whether racial bias affected drivers’ tendency to stop, or not. The test has now moved on to Rainier Beach, where six signs are up, three at marked crossings, three at unmarked crossings. One simple change they made after High Point – larger signs. They’re still deciding on other locations around the city to continue the test, part of a grant-funded safety campaign that will also support the 25-mph speed limit. Later in the meeting, the speed limit was part of a Vision Zero safety-program update from Allison Schwartz, who said it’s had some success – a 20 percent decrease in injury collisions and 54 percent decrease in “top-end speeders.” But the city’s traffic death rate is still higher than it’s historically been, she said, with 10 people killed so far this year, including the man killed while walking across a West Seattle street last Friday night and a person killed while bicycling in SODO yesterday morning. Of those 10 people, Schwartz said, four were walking, four were in vehicles, and two were on bicycles.

23 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Report card on 'driver report card' West Seattle trial"

  • aRF May 12, 2022 (7:15 pm)

    New sign idea:“West Seattle has gone X days without a carjacking. Keep it up!”

  • flimflam May 12, 2022 (7:45 pm)

    This is a very strange idea in my opinion.

  • DeeJay May 12, 2022 (8:14 pm)

    how stupid have people become, that we must come to this?  Here’s an idea – revamp the entire State Driver training, testing and renewal process.  The basic driver testing should be tough and stringent as nails, and all the re-testing as well.  It should be a privilege to driver, not a luxury.  

    • 22blades May 12, 2022 (10:25 pm)


    • alki_2008 May 12, 2022 (11:20 pm)

      These signs seem to be typical Seattle passive-aggressive.

    • Roms May 13, 2022 (8:29 am)

      I don’t believe people have become stupid. They’re the same as before. What I see as the main difference is the lack of enforcement. No enforcement means people don’t have to worry about misconduct while driving. So they just do as they please. In some West European countries, speeding, red lights, etc., are mostly enforced via radars. That works very well.

      Your idea of having a better state driving testing is great though. But some are going to come after you for the “war on cars” thing. Be prepared!

      WSB, did SDOT say if the “racial bias” is for the drivers or the pedestrians? Meaning, are they looking at “if pedestrians are X, then drivers stop less?” or “if drivers are X, then they stop less?”

      • Andy May 13, 2022 (10:17 am)

        The racial bias will hopefully be calculated with demographics in mind. If the sign is in an area where 70% of pedestrians are demographic A, then the data will most likely show that people stopped less AND more for members of demographic A. It won’t be particularly useful.The study was created and conducted to support a conclusion that had already been drawn, so confirmation bias is a factor. But for me, it’s not so cut and dried as “bad people are too selfish to stop for pedestrians.” There’s a lot to pay attention to out there on our very busy streets in our very crowded neighborhoods. Over the years I’ve missed a lot of pedestrians that I could have stopped for (and who knows how many I didn’t notice at all), and it never had anything to do with selfishness or (come on now) racism. I stop whenever I notice in time to do it without getting rear ended.

    • Jay May 13, 2022 (9:23 am)

      I really hate that deep tinted windows are legal here. You can’t tell if the driver noticed you when walking or riding a bike, so you ALWAYS have to yield the right of way.

    • BlairJ May 13, 2022 (11:30 am)

      Drivers education should be a part of basic education.  Most people will drive at some point in their lives.  Even people who will never drive should be aware of the law and safety principles. 

  • Canton May 12, 2022 (10:01 pm)

    I get that Kadie Bell Sata has a equity role in transportation. But c’mon, “whether racial bias affected drivers tendacy to stop or not” No. It’s just A***ole drivers that can’t slow down and focus on driving and activity along the street. Some people are so self absorbed while driving, that everything is just an obstacle. 

    • Mike Lindblom May 13, 2022 (10:17 am)

      There have been some studies around the country that found motorists less likely to stop for Black people at crossings. So it’s not a completely wild supposition for SDOT to test. Whether that applies to High Point is debatable. The SDOT will need far more research than they’ve got, to check any correlation. My guess from 30 years of living in West Seattle is probably not at that particular location, where the crossing point next to the cemetery is unmarked, uncurbed, and traditionally not walked much. However, last week I saw *one* instance when  drivers crowded a Muslim woman in hijab who was crossing carefully next to a grade school, in a different WS neighborhood where usually they stop.   Portland State University:

      • Canton May 13, 2022 (7:57 pm)

        Appreciate your link and response Mike. After reading the link, it concluded that drivers stop for white peds 57%, vs. 44% for black peds. The 13% difference is not conclusive given multiple variables. Further, the article doesn’t state the race of the drivers involved.  Without knowing the drivers race, we can’t conclude it was racially motivated. 

  • Delridge neighbor May 12, 2022 (10:21 pm)

    Time to put in traffic cameras and start automated ticketing…

  • anonyme May 13, 2022 (6:39 am)

    Meanwhile, $350, 000 could have provided for some much-needed enforcement, which itself would have generated income to pay for more enforcement.  I’m not sure cameras could be used for car/pedestrian violations, but they would definitely help with speeding.  I agree with Delridge Neighbor; put them everywhere.

    • M May 13, 2022 (11:01 am)

      We’ve been over this. No it couldn’t have. The grant was for educational purposes only.    

  • Sparky May 13, 2022 (7:10 am)

    Cars not stopping for pedestrians is a significant issue, but in my experience there is no way it is as low as 9%.  More often than not people will stop if they can see you are trying to cross and have time to stop.  Is there something about these intersections or the method of assessing the stats that causes these numbers to be on the low side? 

    • Vic May 13, 2022 (3:31 pm)

      I’ll be wearing my baby and walking a dog or two (meaning: very visible) and a dozen cars will pass before one finally lets me pass. Especially across Morgan, it’s awful there. I’m sure some areas people stop more frequently but I live and walk in the area surveyed and believe that figure.

  • Resident May 13, 2022 (10:22 am)

    The way you create a city that is safe for pedestrians is through infrastructure and design: closing streets to car traffic, protected bike lanes, public transit, speed bumps, limiting the amount of space and money dedicated to cars and car owners.  We should be *preventing* pedestrian deaths, not shaming or ticketing drivers after the fact (if we catch them at all)!Crossing the street shouldn’t mean risking your LIFE! 

    • A May 13, 2022 (12:37 pm)


  • Marie May 13, 2022 (11:33 am)

    Signs? What signs? No one pays attention. Resident has the right idea.We have designed streets for maximum, efficient traffic flow, which means that there’s very little to get in the way of driving fast. And we have cars that are easily able to go 4 – 5x faster than the “speed limit.” Fast cars + poor infrastructure design = a dangerous, if not fatal, environment for anyone outside a car, regardless of whether they are in a crosswalk or not. 

  • k May 13, 2022 (1:27 pm)

    It would be interesting to study other biases in whether or not people stop as well, particularly age or ability bias.  Are cars more likely to stop for those who are perceived as being quick to cross versus ones perceived to be slower?  Does the age/race/gender (if known) of the driver correlate to whether they were likely or not to stop?    Hopefully some of this leads to answers on how to get people to stop.  It has been 0 days since the last time I was nearly hit crossing a street.

  • Chris May 14, 2022 (10:32 am)

    This matters and is important for safety, but we are currently living in a somewhat lawless city with little will or ability to enforce anything. Maybe this is something you should wait to explore after we can demonstrate an ability or desire to tackle the more immediate issues with out of control crime and gangs taking over the city. Then we can begin to get back to some of these things that are more appropriate when everyone feels safer stepping out the front door.

  • Dean Fuller May 14, 2022 (5:26 pm)

    What a patronizing concept.  Typical for the area though.  And this ” . . . project also gathered data . . . . about whether racial bias affected drivers’ tendency to stop, or not.”  How would they know the racial bias of the driver who failed to yield to a pedestrian?

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