VIDEO: At second ride in memory of Robb Mason, roadside promises of safety action

(Riders arriving at Spokane Street site)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Robb should still be here.”

So said one of the bicycle-affixed signs seen tonight when Seattle Neighborhood Greenways‘ memorial ride for Robb Mason arrived in the area east of the West Seattle low bridge where he was killed by a hit-and-run driver two and a half months ago.

And so said speakers including Mr. Mason’s widow Claudia.

This was the second ride in his memory, after Critical Mass Seattle. That one was just two weeks after his death, yet despite the passage of time, the one tonight was more emotional, and more resolute. City officials including SDOT’s new director were there this time, promising action; Mayor Bruce Harrell even had spoken to the riders before they left City Hall Plaza and headed this way. But Claudia Mason’s words were the most powerful of all, not only in remembrance of her husband, but also with a message to his as-yet-unapprehended hit-run killer:

After she spoke, riders rang bicycle bells, the gentle ringing rippling across the roadside crowd of more than 100. Another sound heard too often during the gathering was that of speeding cars.

The next speakers, local advocates, pleaded for action – Kate Wells of West Seattle Bike Connections, saying the city did not act boldly enough during the bridge’s shutdown to make travel safer for all modes, but needs to now; Erica Bush from Duwamish Valley Safe Streets, noting the area’s unique transportation characteristics, insisted that freight, pedestrian, and bike safety can co-exi

Others who spoke included Gordon Padelford, SNG’s executive director, saying Seattle can solve big problems – like the bridge – and certainly can fix the safety conundrum; the city’s executive general manager Adiam Emery, who reiterated the commitment to safety goals; and SDOT’s traffic engineer Venu Nemani, who did the same. Then the person in the best position to effect change took the microphone, new SDOT director Greg Spotts, who said safety is now job one for everyone in his department and won’t be siloed any more:

When the speeches ended and riders started talking logistics for getting back home – safely – we spoke briefly with Padelford, to ask if his group had any immediate recommendations for safety at the scene of the crash that killed Robb Mason. He cautioned that the exact circumstances aren’t known but one thing is – chronic speeding in the corridor, Measures to address that, such as speed humps and raised crosswalks, could be considered, he said.

Meantime, as Claudia Mason said in hopes the hit-run driver would hear, “You can’t hide forever,” and if that driver’s family/friends know what happened, they shouldn’t bear the burden of keeping that secret. Tips can be called in to SPD’s Violent Crime Hotline, 206-233-5000.

23 Replies to "VIDEO: At second ride in memory of Robb Mason, roadside promises of safety action"

  • Flivver October 1, 2022 (6:57 am)

    WSB. Are there any stats out there on successful apprehensions on cases that have gone on this long? 

  • Alkistu October 1, 2022 (8:57 am)

    My condolences to the Mason family. There is a difference between the pleas for solutions by the victims and the solutions offered by the officials we heard at this memorial.  The victims were more concerned about the aggressiveness of drivers, the speed at which they travel and the fact that the automobiles and trucks have an overwhelming potential for death due to collision.  The officials focused on engineering and design.  Yes, we need better engineering and design to make our streets safer for all but without enforcement of drivers and cyclists, Vision Zero is just a unworthy title for a failed goal. Keeping in mind that cyclists can only do so much damage compared to car drivers, we need to get our city back to enforcing against bad behavior on our streets. Every user of our streets knows that the situation has gotten worse.  Engineering is a big piece to the puzzle with well thought out infrastructure that provides protection to pedestrians and cyclists as well as less interaction with impatient drivers.  A commitment on the level of repairing the West Seattle bridge would be in order proving the will is all we are missing.  30 fatalities on our city streets last year, a dramatic increase from when Vision Zero started. We are headed that way again for 2022.  These statistics should set off alarms and action.  Robb Mason and countless others should still be here trying to do their part to reduce traffic congestion, pollution by car exhaust and maintaining a healthy life. 

    • Kathy October 1, 2022 (10:43 am)

      People driving often buck against the 25 mph speed limits thinking it is too low. Remember, should any collision happen, at 25 mph there will be much less chance of something terrible happening. That applies not only to people walking and on bikes, but also to people inside cars. 

    • Frog October 1, 2022 (10:48 am)

      Under our current progressive regime, de-policing and abolition are in.  Personal responsibility, and especially criminal responsibility are totally out.  Bad behavior is assumed to have a social cause, and therefore it can only have a social solution.  So don’t hold your breath waiting for more enforcement.  In years past, our local car-hater in chief Jort used to fantasize about speed cameras everywhere spitting out tickets by the million, but that’s totally gone — because it would be way too much enforcement, imposing penalties on individuals for their own behavior, and that is not the progressive way.  The progressive program goes against the common sense of most people,
      but it’s firmly entrenched with elites and activists who run the city.  The only allowed solution will be making the driving of motor vehicles more and more difficult until it’s effectively impossible, or simply banning cars from most of the city.

      • they October 1, 2022 (9:17 pm)

        You hit that nail on the head…

      • WestSeattleBadTakes October 2, 2022 (9:32 am)

        or simply banning cars from most of the city.

        Don’t threaten me with a good time!

      • miws October 2, 2022 (10:19 am)

        Frog, you forgot to say; “WAR ON CARS!!!” —Mike

      • EducationForUS October 3, 2022 (6:40 am)

        What is “The progressive program”? I hope whatever it is, that the program is to design roads for humans and not for cars. Law enforcement should actually enforce the law. Personal accountability should happen via automated ticketing thanks to speed cameras. Why is this so hard for Seattle? Learn from other countries, heck, you can even learn from NYC:

  • AR October 1, 2022 (10:19 am)

    Agreed. Since the pandemic I have noticed that drivers are pushing through red lights nearly every time I’m waiting at a crosswalk. Also, late night racing in West Seattle is rampant. You can see fresh tracks even on side streets like 26th that are designated as greenways. I don’t see police enforcing bad driving at all. 

  • Kathy October 1, 2022 (10:26 am)

    While standing by the roadside I couldn’t help noticing that the radar speed detector was placed practically on the bridge facing westbound traffic approaching the bridge. This is an area where people walking and biking are completely protected by the dedicated path on the bridge. While many people were driving at least 10 mph over the posted 25 mph speed limit, quite a few slowed down when they saw their speed on the radar sign. Why didn’t SDOT place this radar sign before the 3 dangerous crosswalks, 2 of which cannot be avoided by people walking and biking to and from West Seattle?  Whoever designed placement of that radar sign likely had the appearance of street safety in mind, without the actual effect of improving street safety. Hopefully this culture can be changed as promised. 

    • Admiral Resident October 1, 2022 (4:42 pm)

      The radar signs are useless if left in place long enough.  You need look no further than the Admiral Way hill, where it’s a rare day to not see the majority of traffic being clocked doing anywhere in the 35 to 50 mph range on a street signed for 25 (and previously signed at 30, in case anyone wants to invoke historical habits).  People don’t care, they value their convenience more than safety, and nothing stops them, not even the incredibly rare speed enforcement patrol that’s been known to hang out at the viewpoint.  Infrastructure designed to get cars off the road by increasing the convenience of non-car travel is the only real solution.

      • Flo B October 1, 2022 (8:30 pm)

        WOW. Alki resident since ’85. Go up and down daily. I’ve NEVER seen the radar sign-or any vehicle I’ve been following doing or show 50. Sure it wasn’t you Admiral resident??

        • Admiral Resident October 2, 2022 (6:44 pm)

          The way most of the traffic whips around me puttering up that hill, they’d have to be doing 70 if I was doing 50.

    • Mick Davis October 1, 2022 (11:24 pm)

      I noticed this too and wish the news crew that was there would have positioned their cameras to capture the sign as the speakers spoke about the taking of Robb’s life. Easily 50% of the drivers were exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph. A difference between an accident or none, and life or death. I, as a progressive fully support citation cameras, and enforcement of the law (and to Frog up above you’re watching too much Faux news, you should actually have a conversation with a progressive about public safety, you might learn something new about how laws can be enforced without having to violate them.) RIP Robb. 

      • Frustrated October 2, 2022 (9:46 am)

        As overblown as Frog’s post is, they have a point about the “defund” and “abolish” movements, as well as our current city council. People tried to jump all the way to the end of the road where there’s no cops or enforcement of any kind without doing any of the work in between here and there. This directly contributed to the Seattle we have now where there is skyrocketing crime with almost no consequences for bad behavior. Reference the never-ending posts about crime on this very blog for evidence. Lawlessness and crime should not be the price we pay for the pursuit of social justice and equity.

  • Rhonda October 1, 2022 (12:42 pm)

    One can smell the almost-constant odor of drivers smoking marijuana while walking, driving, and cycling on all of our major arterials these days. Our city has literally thousands of intoxicated drivers barreling through our arterials and residential streets 24/7 with almost ZERO enforcement. A 160-pound human pedaling a 25-pound bicycle 2 or 3 feet from intoxicated drivers speeding by in 4000-pound vehicles is madness. Until we start properly staffing SPD so they can once again enforce our traffic and DUI laws it’s Russian Roulette to bicycle beside the flow of traffic on our major arterials.

  • Mj October 1, 2022 (10:08 pm)

    Kathy – you identified the crosswalks as dangerous please explain?  The crosswalks across Spokane Street are signal controlled and the other ones the traffic is only in one direction WB with good sight lines.  

    Admiral Resident – the speed limit on Admiral Way SW hill was 35 mph that the City lowered to 30 without technical justification, in 2006 to my recollection, and then to 25 without any technical reasoning, aka science

    • bolo October 2, 2022 (12:31 am)

      Well I am not Kathy but I would like to share my personal experiences with the signal-controlled Spokane Street crosswalk you mention.

      I use that crosswalk most days, often twice a day.

      Push the beg signal button, wait for the walk sign.

      Approx. 1 in 10 times a motor vehicle will run the red, often a stale red (for them), usually eastbound but more recently westbound vehicles are increasing their red light running.

      Years ago it was mostly semis that did this (barreling down the bridge) but nowadays all types of vehicles are involved.

      Just because it is a controlled intersection does not guarantee it is a safe intersection.

      Never thought I would say this but have come to the opinion that the city needs more traffic police presence and action. There has to be consequences for bad driving behavior.

    • Jay October 2, 2022 (1:12 am)

      I can do 40mph down Admiral on my bike and cars still blow past me at 50+.

    • Admiral Resident October 2, 2022 (1:29 am)

      If you’re still “used to” driving a given speed from 16 years ago, I don’t know what to tell you, you need to work on changing your habits to match modern traffic science. And yes, 25mph speed limits are backed by science, it’s just science you don’t like about pedestrian/cyclist injury survivability in the face of being hit by cars, because modern traffic engineers put emphasis on more things than just “oh is this car going to flip over if they take a corner at the speed limit”. No sense in being ridiculous about it.

      People in this city (and presumably elsewhere but let’s be real, we mostly care about here) drive like absolute psychopaths and it’s only gotten worse as people have gotten back on the roads post-pandemic.

    • Kathy October 2, 2022 (8:36 am)

      MJ – when you enter a crosswalk you don’t expect a car to be coming at you 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. I am 71 so my ability to judge the speed at which that car is approaching is maybe not as good as yours? But I still deserve to arrive at my destination alive, don’t I? After waiting for one speeding car to pass I started to enter one of those crosswalks last week and almost got nailed by a second car. I have heard many reports from other people trying to cross there also having scary interactions with cars and trucks. A couple of speed bumps well ahead of that crosswalk would definitely be in order. 

    • WestSeattleBadTakes October 2, 2022 (10:35 am)

      Not that you could recognize or understand science, but the science is that vehicles hitting people at higher speeds results in death. So in places where there will be exposed humans and vehicles conflicting, speeds should be lower.

      You don’t need an advanced degree to understand that.

  • Mj October 2, 2022 (5:18 pm)

    Traffic control that is not technically credible reduces safety for all users of the transportation system.

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