FOLLOWUP: Vision Zero review briefings Tuesday. Here’s what caught our attention in the report.

You’ve probably heard by now that SDOT is out with its promised review of Vision Zero, as ordered by director Greg Spotts shortly after he took over the department. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to lead two briefings on the report – 9:30 am at the City Council’s Transportation and Public Utilities Committee meeting, 5 pm at the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee meeting. And SDOT is seeking community feedback on the review.

After it was released, we read the entire report to look for West Seattle-specific mentions. While it’s largely devoid of those, it does feature several maps showing problem spots here and elsewhere, so we’ll start with those. First, locations of fatal and serious-injury incidents, by mode:

Here are high-collision locations:

And high-injury locations:

The review was aimed at uncovering why death and injury trends are up, despite Vision Zero efforts in the past eight years. Rather than zeroing in on anything that’s not working, though, the report largely concludes that the city is doing the right things – like lowering speed limits – but just needs to do more of what it’s doing, needs to spend more on what it’s doing, and needs department leaders to be “ambassadors” for Vision Zero, along with making it a priority for everyone in the department. Here are the report’s specific recommendations toward that:

• Incorporate Vision Zero and Safe Systems approaches into every project and program
• Adopt clearer and stronger guidance for facility design
• Clarify and streamline internal decision pathways
• Be willing to reduce vehicle travel speeds and convenience to improve safety
• Implement iterative, ongoing improvements to our infrastructure
• Accelerate planning for broader or systemwide implementation of proven interventions
• Secure funding to incorporate Vision Zero improvements in all projects and for asset maintenance
• Complete racial-equity analysis of automated enforcement. Address inequities and where appropriate, use automated enforcement as a tool
• Shift culture and strengthen support for Vision Zero throughout SDOT
• Strengthen and resource SDOT’s Vision Zero core and matrix teams
• Improve SDOT’s customer service response process
• Be champions for Vision Zero as we engage with WSDOT, the Port of Seattle, transit partners, the legislature, and other organizations

The report does not recommend more enforcement of traffic laws:

In the past, the Vision Zero movement used enforcement as a leading strategy. Peer agencies are moving away from enforcement as a leading strategy, pointing instead to a safe systems model and designing roads to be “self-enforcing.” Seattle Police Department has been a key City department partner for Vision Zero, providing enforcement resources including processing of automated enforcement tickets. SPD is also an important partner in post-crash collision reviews to help SDOT understand circumstances of crashes.
Data from SPD is a major input into how SDOT counts crashes. SDOT recognizes that SPD’s primary responsibility in crash investigation and response is to determine fault for potential civil claims or criminal charges, while SDOT is seeking information that could help us make our streets safer.

What about automated enforcement? More is recommended in the short run, but:

• Plan for permanent street design changes to replace automated enforcement in the future

• Continue to use revenues from citations for local safety improvements to reduce or eliminate the need for enforcement. Be clear that enforcement is intended to reduce dangerous behavior, not in place solely for revenue-generation purposes.

Other points of interest include the report’s recognition that the department must consider new tech like autonomous vehicles (first permit being reviewed) and EVs: “While EVs are promising for climate progress, they are not always aligned with Vision Zero goals. In some cases, EVs are heavier and therefore pose a greater risk of harm to people outside of them. Additionally, the quietness of EVs may pose a greater risk to people walking, biking, and rolling who cannot hear the vehicles approaching.” The report also observes that SDOT “does not yet have a clear maintenance level of service” for “assets” such as the posts used for paint-and-post curb bulbs and protected bike lanes. There are also suggestions for improving customer service:

Enhance existing systems for people to report safety concerns, with clear timelines for evaluation, and a clearer process for adding customer-generated requests to plans for improvements.

Other notes we made while reading the report – speed limits were addressed: “Be willing to reduce vehicle travel speeds and convenience to improve safety. Be clear about benefits and transparent about potential impacts to general purpose vehicle travel.” Regarding rechannelization, “Evaluate multi‐lane arterials where most pedestrian fatalities occur. Identify and plan for opportunities for lane reductions while maintaining transit and freight networks and emergency response capabilities and being transparent about expected impacts to general purpose vehicle travel.” Plus:

Develop a plan to implement No Turn on Red more broadly or citywide

Develop a plan for increased implementation of marked crosswalks, signage and crossing enhancements (e.g., curb bulbs, flashing beacons).

Develop a plan for expanded intersection daylighting (eliminating parked cars close to intersections to improve visibility). Initial implementation can include low‐cost interventions such as “No Parking” signs; if signage alone is ineffective, plan to upgrade over time to paint and post, concrete or other materials.

Develop a plan for expanded use of hardened centerlines (raised medians at intersections to control vehicle turning movements).

Develop a plan for citywide application of Urban Village signal timing to prioritize safe pedestrian movement.

There was also a mention of a possible way to reduce having to be concerned about how road changes affect emergency vehicles: “Explore opportunities for SFD to move toward smaller, tighter-turning fire engines (currently being introduced in San Francisco)”

The report notes that it was “was conducted and primarily authored by two SDOT staff, both of whom have prior knowledge of Vision Zero but do not directly work on the program.”

The agenda for Tuesday morning’s council-committee briefing is here; the agenda for Tuesday night’s levy committee briefing is here. And the link for community feedback on the review is on this page.

71 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Vision Zero review briefings Tuesday. Here's what caught our attention in the report."

  • Chemist March 6, 2023 (11:20 pm)

    Odd, that California/Findlay pedestrian fatality from May 2022 seems several blocks north on the map.

    • KM March 7, 2023 (9:22 am)

      I wonder if we’ll ever see charges for the teen driver who killed him driving twice as fast as the legal limit, and then left the scene of the crime.

  • Graciano March 7, 2023 (3:36 am)

    Most of these accidents could have been prevented.. Drivers not paying attention and Seattles lane reconfiguration. 

  • James March 7, 2023 (6:01 am)

    Weird how a report commissioned by the director states “We found that safety interventions and countermeasures used by SDOT to advance Vison Zero make our streets safer.” Despite SDOT (KUOW) and WSDOT data both stating traffic deaths have only increased since Seattle implemented Vision Zero. The mayor, city council, and SDOT use city streets like an extension of the shopping cart theory. It’s clear that drivers in Seattle can’t self-govern themselves and different approaches are necessary. Some ideas: use cameras to monitor and track drivers—this will also help SPD since they are not enough police officers to go around; increase the fines for distracted driving, speeding, and misusing HOV lanes, etc; and revise the speed limits to at least 30mph in the city. As it stands, Vision Zero is a tragedy of the commons and will only result in more accidents and fatalities.

    • Neighbor March 7, 2023 (7:40 pm)

      Adding more cameras will require amending state law.  Good luck with that, I value my privacy, like many other Washingtonians.  We need traffic calming.  People drive 50 in a 25 on Admiral because the street is wide and feels safe.  If it was narrower or had more turns then people would slow down.  It’s the only thing that will actually change behavior.

      • Hammer in Hand March 8, 2023 (6:47 am)

        Hmm. Value privacy??there are cameras everywhere grocery stores, big box stores, police body cams. Even your TV has the ability to send back to big brother what your watching. We all gave up privacy at “internet”Is what you meant to say is; I don’t want another camera to catch me in the wrong??

      • sombodyswatchingme March 8, 2023 (10:13 pm)

        Have I got a thing to tell you about your email, phone, shopping, credit cards, and internet usage. 

    • Adam March 7, 2023 (8:25 pm)

      Track ALL drivers? Pre-infraction? No thnx

  • 22blades March 7, 2023 (6:29 am)

    Explore opportuniƟes for SFD to move toward smaller, Ɵghter turning fire engines (currently being introduced in San Francisco)” I was looking at a Medic One vehicle wondered how they went from a simple van to a school bussed sized F-550. The driver said they missed the smaller vans. Some countries use nimble motorcycles as first responders.

  • ARPigeonPoint March 7, 2023 (6:39 am)

    This is just beginning to be studied, but there are findings that post-covid infection driving is impaired, which means there’s nothing the city can actually do to fix it – there are simply a lot more “impaired” drivers on the road (covid is a vascular disease and it loves the brain).

  • K March 7, 2023 (6:56 am)

    I’ve said it before: the only time I feel unsafe downtown is when I’m crossing the street.  Happy to see so many solutions centered around road design, and solutions that are not all car-centric.  Greg Spotts is impressing me so far, and I hope he survives the political guillotine when we get a new mayor in a couple years.

  • Rod Mash March 7, 2023 (7:07 am)

    Suggest  a “flipped car” category so West Seattle can demonstrate our specialty.

  • Derek March 7, 2023 (7:48 am)

    This city needs to do whatever it can to dissuade car culture. The time is now to upzone and make this more bike friendly and pedestrian friendly.  

    • Ivan Weiss March 7, 2023 (9:28 am)

      Everywhere I drive in Seattle, I see pedestrians step out into traffic without stopping or looking either way, because their eyes are glued to their phones. But sure, “dissuade car culture.” That’s the boogeyman. </sarcasm>

      • reed March 7, 2023 (10:09 am)

        Ivan I agree with 99.9999% of what you say the blog in general, but I think you are off on this one. I never have my phone out when going through marked crosswalks, yet I am still constantly challenged by cars who simply ignore traffic law and fail to yield. In a vast majority of circumstances, that pedestrian has the right-of-way, eyes glued on a cellphone or not. To make a counterpoint, everywhere I walk/run/bike/drive in Seattle, so many drivers are distracted with their eyes glued to their phones, so yes, this is a car culture problem.

      • DC March 7, 2023 (10:18 am)

        Everywhere I walk I see cars speeding and refusing to give way to pedestrians at intersection (remember, every intersection is a legal crosswalk whether or not it is marked).

      • Brian March 7, 2023 (10:29 am)

        I think the idea is to imagine living in a place where you’re not constantly at risk of being turned into a fine paste by a Jeep. 

      • Ron Swanson March 7, 2023 (10:48 am)

        No sarcasm tag needed there – smartphone penetration is essentially 100% throughout the developed world and fatalities are decreasing pretty much everywhere except the US.  

        • WestSeattleBadTakes March 7, 2023 (1:00 pm)

          You’re correct, smartphone penetration is a broad issue. Now tell me, which one is more dangerous, A pedestrian on their phone or a car driver on their phone?

      • WestSeattleBadTakes March 7, 2023 (11:14 am)

        I know right, these pedestrians can destroy a car with their high speeds and weight!

        • DC March 7, 2023 (1:29 pm)

          Seriously! Nothing worse than having to clean my grill after a pedestrian fails to accommodate my speeding and inattentiveness. 

      • Jon Wright March 7, 2023 (1:56 pm)

        Victim shaming doesn’t change the fact that vehicles are legally required to yield to pedestrians.

      • Jort March 8, 2023 (11:09 am)

        Ivan, do you think pedestrians in Europe are looking at their phones as much as Americans? I imagine so; I can’t imagine any kind of difference that would be meaningful between us and Europe. If that’s the case, why are fewer pedestrians in Europe being killed or seriously hurt? Do you think Europe has a better “don’t look at your phones” campaign? Or do you think, possibly, it could be something else? 

        • Ivan Weiss March 9, 2023 (7:47 am)

          Hey Jort, I’m not advocating inattentive or aggressive driving, or making excuses for it, if that’s what you mean.

    • my two cents March 7, 2023 (10:14 am)

      @Derek  – The city IS doing something and no single family zoning in the State now. Happy? 

    • Julian March 7, 2023 (10:53 am)

      You should come back to reality like the rest of us 

    • Rhonda March 7, 2023 (8:37 pm)

      Upzone? Look at the maps above. The highest rates of pedestrian injuries/collisions…by FAR…are in the high-density downtown area.

  • How Seattle is this! March 7, 2023 (7:55 am)

    How Seattle is it that we have a program that is absolutely failing in ever measurable deliverable, and the recommendation is to do more of it. This is sad. Clearly the methodology employed by SDOT isn’t working. We should spend more money? This is like watching FOX News: the results are not what we want them to be, but we can create some misdirection, manipulate some facts and spin the narrative. Pedestrian safety is incredibly important. More biking infrastructure, incredibly important. Mobility never more important. It starts with grade separated mass transit. We should be putting all our eggs into system that can actually make a difference and is sustainable. The millions, if not billions, of city dollars going into the social experiment that is Vision Zero, is money we could be using to actually make a difference. 

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy March 7, 2023 (8:13 am)

    If they aren’t going to enforce speed limits, reducing the speed limit doesn’t matter. 

    • Jeepney March 7, 2023 (10:01 am)

      I haven’t seen traffic enforcement on the streets in years.  Were they a casualty of the defund movement?

      • CAM March 7, 2023 (12:31 pm)

        It’s like the lie that won’t die and just keeps infesting every single conversation. There was ZERO defunding of SPD. SPD wasn’t prioritizing traffic enforcement well before 2020. You are literally making things up and hurting the conversation and the ability to move forward by inserting this nonsense repeatedly into every conversation even though you know it’s not true. 

          • Jeepney March 8, 2023 (5:58 am)

            Thanks for the link Canton, people who post facts have credibility in my eyes.  I think many of the defund deniers realize that the movement was very shortsighted and emotion based.  Our city (and many others) are experiencing the fallout now and will be for many years to come.  If there was no defunding of the Traffic Enforcement division, then where are they?

        • Wseattleite March 8, 2023 (9:23 am)

          Cam, you are perpetuating the lie that will not die. The “defund movement” as indicated above had huge impacts to Seattle’s ability to enforce its laws, completely separate from any actual defunding. To ignore this is akin insisting the world is flat. 

          • CAM March 8, 2023 (11:47 pm)

            So a conversation that resulted in no actual changes to funding or legislation somehow impacted the ability of people to enforce the same laws before and after the conversation? Please do enlighten me as to how that works. Saying something because you feel like it’s true because you’re mad about it does not actually make it true. Let it go. It’s been 3 years, you didn’t understand the concept then, you don’t understand the concept now, it never happened, the police budget (in actual dollars) is more today than it was then and there has been ZERO percent decrease in the number of police positions available to hire into. Traffic enforcement has nothing to do with this Boogeyman you are creating. 

    • Odd son March 7, 2023 (12:31 pm)

      I didn’t see much if any enforcement when SPD was better staffed. I have lived here 30 years and its always been an issue but definitely exploded pre and post pandemic. I have an inbox full of emails from SPD saying they would look into it or didn’t have the staff. I kinda think it was something they just didn’t like doing or it was a political decision. Pedestrian and vehicle law enforcement at the Alaska & California would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

      I have an email from Captain Sano, when he was in our region, where he said they were told not to enforce jaywalking by Mayor Murray.  

  • Chad March 7, 2023 (8:23 am)

    Is what you’re doing not working? Okay, then let’s just do more of it and we will start seeing results! Hmmmm, nope, that’s not at all how things work. The lack of enforcement is very concerning. If there are no consequences, behavior will not change and will even get worse. This week I watched a car run a red light traveling south on 35th through the Thistle intersection by using the turn lane to pass cars stopped in front of them at the red light. Since there are cameras at this intersection I thought sure the bulb would flicker and catch them for a citation. No such luck. So if you can run red lights dangerously at lights with cameras installed without consequence, the system is not working. And now it sounds like enforcement will be further deemphasized. Its like the people in charge are purposely trying to not solve any problems.

  • Mark Schletty March 7, 2023 (8:42 am)

    Let’s see. We know what we are doing doesn’t work. Therefore  we must do more of it.  Don’ t try to figure out why it doesn’t work.  Sounds like a perfect example of why SDOT itself doesn’t work. 

  • ltfd March 7, 2023 (9:08 am)

    We support your war of zero vision.    

  • Jethro Marx March 7, 2023 (9:49 am)

    We have a bizarre system where we allow almost anyone to drive, with token formal training and non-existent recertification.  Maybe it’s time to treat all drivers like CDL drivers, since I can buy a passenger vehicle as big as my ego, whether I can drive it safely or not.

  • Joe Z March 7, 2023 (10:04 am)

    The further pivot away from enforcement is terrifying. Pedestrians and cycles are beings sent to the hospital multiple times per day in Seattle from collisions with vehicles. I would like to see some concrete examples of how they plan to enforce red light running without cameras. Let’s start with 35th and Avalon. The other day the two cars in front of me both ran the red turn left turn signal and got their pictures taken. How do you stop people from doing that without enforcement? Automated enforcement is incredibly effective, and as far as I can tell the only ‘racial toolkit’ element is that the fines should be higher for higher-income drivers, which could easily be accomplished. 

    • SW March 7, 2023 (12:45 pm)

      Income-based ticketing let’s gooo

    • Jort March 8, 2023 (11:23 am)

      America has rather uniquely chosen to place the responsibility of roadway safety nearly entirely in the hands of individuals, and has for decades relied on aggressive law enforcement to maintain that accountability structure. I am not a huge fan of this approach, but it’s important to note that this is the route America has chosen, and it is the only tool we have to combat dangerous driving behaviors. (Obviously this method is full of flaws, including racial disparity, discretionary inconsistency, etc.) Now, what’s happened recently is that American police have more or less decided that traffic enforcement is just not really something they want to do anymore. Who knows their reasons for that. But that is leaving us with … literally! … no other methodology for ensuring safe driving compliance. Fatalities and injuries have — of course —  consequently skyrocketed. I absolutely believe in the power of automated enforcement, but it’s going to have to happen at dramatically greater levels and it will cause SERIOUS discomfort for society because their only background in compliance and enforcement has been centered around how they feel their personal interaction with a police traffic officer will go. It’s going to be a challenge, but clearly the current option: “free for all with no controls whatsoever” is not working. 

  • Jort March 7, 2023 (10:12 am)

    If the homeless were killing as many people as car drivers are on Seattle’s streets, we’d be calling in the National Guard and instituting checkpoints. It is stunning how blasè many Seattle residents are about this violence. 

    • Jeepney March 7, 2023 (12:18 pm)

      Please try to stay on topic Jort, this article pertains to our politician’s inability to eliminate traffic fatalities, not their inability to solve the homeless situation.

    • Flo B March 7, 2023 (12:46 pm)

      Jort. WOW!! What are the #’s?? Please share!!

  • wetone March 7, 2023 (10:23 am)

    The fault lies on Seattle’s government and city council as they have been complete failures in hiring a competent  director, their hiring one to push their agendas. Maybe Greg Spotts will figure it out. SDOT has gone through multiple directors in a short time making it hard for any normalcy. There are a few mangers that should of been fired years ago that hire ups continued/continue to cover up and just move around impacting not just infrastructure maintenance and repairs, but their workforces under time, and costing tax payers hugely. Vision Zero has been a complete failure from get go and that is fact. Data backs that up 100%. Reasons are many, but a big one is little standardization throughout city with design and implementation, 2nd is SDOT has placed (hired or transferred) those involved in this project while very smart, they have zero or little experience in real world experience of implementing a program such as Vision  Zero. Vision Zero will continue to push more vehicles to side streets, resulting with negative consequences  (sadly). If Seattle really wants to improve our streets, shut down VS and use money to fund a traffic patrol group that moves around city ticketing ALL that are not driving safely and legally. Hold people accountable. SDOT can install all the cameras, lower speed limits, road diets…… all having little  or no impact because most all causing problems could care less, driving stolen vehicles, no license plates, high, drunk and the big one Zero accountability in Seattle ;) 

  • anonyme March 7, 2023 (11:39 am)

    This excerpt says it all: ” needs to spend more on what it’s doing”.  I suggest we spend zero and instead put all that money into enforcement.  A win-win, as this approach helps pay for itself.  Fire the idiots who initiated and perpetuated this boondoggle of a program.   SDOT needs to be accountable for this failure instead of compounding it. I also agree with Derek for the first time ever.

    • Jeepney March 7, 2023 (12:19 pm)

      That is their approach to multiple issues “spend more money” but they have failed with the resources they have already been provided by the taxpayers.  We the taxpayers are enablers.

    • WestSeatteBadTakes March 7, 2023 (12:57 pm)

      Yes, enforcement will ensure people don’t get killed. The intellectual laziness in this community is astonishing.   

  • Rhonda March 7, 2023 (12:51 pm)

    “The report does not recommend more enforcement of traffic laws”

    Seriously? What a joke. That’s why the flow of traffic on our major 25 mph arterials is about 40 mph sprinkled with those doing 45 to 50. If you try going 25 mph on California, Delridge, 35th, or Roxbury you’ll either be honked at, given the finger, passed, or all three.

    • WestSeattleBadTakes March 7, 2023 (3:24 pm)

      How many people are breaking the traffic laws everyday? Do you honestly believe that enforcement is scalable? How many traffic officers would be needed? Will those officers catch every individual and every potential fatal accident? Of course not.

      California, Delridge, and 35th are not designed to be 25MPH roads. Yes, they slapped the sign up but they didn’t design the road to enforce that speed. With Delridge being redesigned recently it should be abundantly clear that SDOTs current design standards are not sufficient.

      In the past, the Vision Zero movement used enforcement as a leading strategy. Peer agencies are moving away from enforcement as a leading strategy, pointing instead to a safe systems model and designing roads to be “self-enforcing.”

      This is the correct approach. It is like a funnel. Engineering/Design will provide the majority of the “enforcement.” From there, education and police/automated enforcement can actually be effective.

      Enforcement has a role, but with our current designs it would be extremely expensive, ineffective, and have poor equity outcomes.

      • Rhonda March 7, 2023 (8:40 pm)

        Without enforcement, how do you prevent 24 year-olds in 400 horsepower modified Honda Civics from going 60 mph down Delridge, California, Roxbury, and 35th? Yeah…

        • WestSeattleBadTakes March 7, 2023 (11:49 pm)

          I guess you missed the “enforcement has its place” part.

        • WestSeattleBadTakes March 8, 2023 (10:37 am)

          I guess you missed the part where I said enforcement has a role.

          • Rhonda March 8, 2023 (2:16 pm)

            I guess you missed the part where you said  enforcement has poor outcomes. No, the Autobahn that is now Seattle streets is a poor outcome. A good outcome is when someone doing 65 mph down a quiet residential street gets enhanced citations for speeding 20+ over the limit and reckless driving by a uniformed SPD officer. In over 3 decades of living in West Seattle I’ve never seen as much speeding and dangerous driving as I see now on a daily basis. It’s just a couple steps below a demolition derby.

          • KM March 8, 2023 (8:35 pm)

            Rhonda, an actual good outcome are streets, cars, and behaviors that prevent a driver going 65mph going down a quiet residential street in the first place. If people can drive 65mph down a residential street, we’ve already failed. Cops aren’t going to fix that, they’re going to respond to carnage after it has already happened, and maybe press charges, maybe not. The priority is care and safety in our community, not punishment. America has made serious mistakes for decades, but it is possible.

          • Rhonda March 9, 2023 (1:19 am)

            KM, please explain how SDOT can prevent someone from driving 65 mph down a residential street, or any street for that matter. Please provide specific details of methods, not just “it’s possible”. Right now, in a normal economy car, one can drive well over 65 mph on any residential street, alley, private drive, or even a long parking lot in West Seattle if they so desired. On arterials like Roxbury, 35th SW, California Ave, Admiral Way, Fauntlerioy, Avalon, Myers Way, Beach Drive, Barton, etc, I’ve seen reckless drivers going much faster than 75 over the years.

      • Frog March 7, 2023 (9:54 pm)

        This is exactly why Vision Zero never works, and is guaranteed to never work, unless you understand (wink wink) that the Zero means Zero cars.  The design changes you mention mean always adding more obstacles, arbitrary rules, distractions, reduced sight lines, narrow spaces, and general confusion to the roads.  Drivers not only need to navigate all the obstacles, but also watch for other cars doing unexpected things because they are disoriented by the obstacles.  In any given place, 95% of the traffic is likely to be regulars who gradually memorize all the obstacles and rules, but there’s always the 5% who never saw it before and get thrown. In other words, Vision Zero constantly increases the number of things that drivers must account for, guaranteeing that drivers will make more mistakes, because they are human.  Which of course just proves that drivers of private automobiles were all just homicidal sociopaths to begin with, and the only real solution is zero cars.  (Complex road design probably increases the number of mistakes by computerized self-driving systems also.)  Vision Zero 100% guarantees more collisions between cars and pedestrians, exactly as observed, and you can only hope that the speed will be lower so fewer pedestrians die as a result.

        • Jort March 7, 2023 (11:07 pm)

          There is zero — and I mean zero, as in zero — evidence to back up your flatly false assertion. Your anecdotes do not equal evidence.

          • Frog March 8, 2023 (12:40 am)

            Everyone who is not Jort is flatly false, we know that.  But still — V0 works where it reduces the number of miles driven.  It doesn’t decrease the number of accidents per mile driven; more the opposite.  I am open to evidence to the contrary,  but all the talk about V0 points to the opposite — it’s not working.  Anyone who drives understands why.  The number one successful V0 strategy is to eliminate all parking so no one even bothers to drive there.  Number 2 is one-way streets, preferably in a predictable pattern.  (Seattle’s design with two-way arterials and side narrow side streets is unfortunate that way.)  Number 3 is physical separation of motorized vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, either in time or space (i.e. have zero cars where people are).  It helps if exclusive transit lanes with $200 fines are physically separated from other traffic so drivers aren’t distracted by fear of accidentally blundering into one.  Punitive fuel prices, tolls, and licensing fees to just plain discourage driving or car ownership — that works.  Close streets so people give up trying to drive there from here.  I am sure Jort favors all of those.  Anything that reduces miles driven works.  Making the roads confusing, narrow, and unpredictable does not work — just costs a lot of money.

  • Jon Wright March 7, 2023 (2:43 pm)

    To the “it didn’t solve all our problems so it must not work” folks, it seems naive to expect that the meager amount of resources invested in Vision Zero would somehow magically transform the city’s entire transportation network. I agree that enforcement is nonexistent and since there is absolutely no risk of getting sanctioned for dangerous driving, that behavior will persist. But a big component of Vision Zero is to redesign the roads to make them safer irrespective of enforcement. Unfortunately, this means undoing 70 years of prior design where the primary objective was trying to move cars through town as fast as possible. That’s what got us I-35. The focus on transportation needs to be on moving people safely, not maximizing how fast cars  can drive. So yes, the Vision Zero program has not made enough of a dent in deaths and injuries. But that is because SDOT has only been allowed to make limited token efforts to date. Judging from the comments here, many people see the notion of making roads safer an unbearable inconvenience that isn’t worth the safety of their neighbors. I disagree with that sentiment and believe that yes, we need more Vision Zero.

    • Frog March 7, 2023 (10:43 pm)

      Safety comes from simplifying the roads and reducing the total number of decisions drivers need to make (and revoking the license of anyone who doesn’t take the responsibility seriously).  Every decision has .000x% of being wrong, resulting in a crash, and it’s not linear.  As the number of decisions increases, the likelihood of each one being wrong increases also.   The only time I ever almost hit a pedestrian was when suffering from PTSD (not joking at all) at 42nd and Admiral, a couple days after almost being killed in my car at that spot by a red light runner heading eastbound on Admiral.  Not sure why the jerk did that — maybe looking at phone, changing radio station, reading GPS, screaming child in the back seat, whatever.  But maybe it was because he subconsciously took a cue from a green light at 41st, and didn’t register that the one at 42nd was red.  Safe design of that stretch would be to synchronize the lights, so once you get a green at California heading east, you can continue all the way through with no further decisions to make.  No chance to read it wrong, and even if attention is imperfect it won’t matter.  But I am sure V0 designers would do the exact opposite, making the lights unsynchronized to require frequent stops and create traffic jams.  Which also increases the chance of a full-speed T-bone collision between cars when traffic is light, which forces drivers to focus on that risk, and give less attention to pedestrians.  It’s no mystery why V0 hasn’t worked.

      • admiral guy March 8, 2023 (11:43 am)

        I’ve experienced the same thing with the lights at 41st and 42nd causing confusion or distraction from drivers cruising along Admiral. One morning I was heading south on 41st about to cross Admiral. I had a green light, but I saw a garbage truck heading west on Admiral that wasn’t slowing down. He rumbled right through his red light, which must have been red at least ~5 seconds because I had my green to cross admiral for at least a few seconds before he passed though.  I would have been t-boned if hadn’t been cautious about pulling out. I really think he was looking at a green light on 42nd and missed seeing the red on 41st. Be careful in that area. 

    • Jort March 8, 2023 (11:16 am)

      Jon Wright, I would argue that the concept of Vision Zero as a separate “program” or “initiative” is a major part of the issue. A true Vision Zero would be an integration of new design principles and budget priorities at the core of the organization. Bad Vision Zero is just doing promotional yard sign campaigns  and having a little jokey budget of money to apply cosmetic changes to existing, dangerous infrastructure designs. It’s the “When was the last time the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to fund a bomber” issue. Right now, existing engineering principles run through the design process like usual, like it’s the default way of designing everything. We default from a baseline priority (both in budget and design) of “get as many cars through as fast as possible.” Only then does the “Vision Zero” “team” pop in to say, “uh, hey, could we maybe add a curb bulb here or change the texture of the roadway here?” An actual Vision Zero is not going to be some marketing/PR team with a tiny staff just popping in, it’s going to involve structural changes all the way to what the city chooses to build and how to build it. And this city, like most North American cities, is just unwilling to go beyond the yard sign mentality. 

  • Admiral March 7, 2023 (4:48 pm)

    Traffic control that is not technically credible reduces traffic safety for all system users.  

    The Gorilla not being addressed is motorist that DUI that are by far the biggest adverse safety item.  Personally, I would like to see convicted DUI motorists be required to buy and maintain a significantly higher minimum insurance policy that is strictly enforced.  These are the motorist that need to be targeted!

    • Neighbor March 7, 2023 (7:45 pm)

      I wish our transit system would run until 3-4am to get people home from bars.  As it stands I have to spend a fortune on Ubers or line up a DD.  Which is fine, but if transit was workable after the bar closes more people would use it instead of driving impaired.  Hopefully light rail allows neighborhood routes to run later.

  • Wendell March 7, 2023 (5:23 pm)

    A couple of observations. Ever since  the 25mph signs were installed, the middle turn lanes (especially on California Ave) are now being used as passing lanes. And the the tossers trying to make it to the ferry… The southbound Fauntleroy and SW Edmunds merge  is still a life threatening thrill. Much as I would like to see Vision Zero, the execution and implementation seems to have zero vision.

  • Neighbor March 7, 2023 (7:43 pm)

    As a motorcycle rider my eyes and nose tell me that approximately 100% of Seattle drivers have a cell phone in one hand and a joint in the other.  It’s astonishing.  Driving here is like going to war.

    • Sarge March 8, 2023 (11:29 am)

      Bus rider here; totally agree.  It’s a horrorshow but part of my “entertainment” from this vantage point is seeing what drivers are actually up to while driving.  The amount of distraction is terrifying – regularly, playing games on cell phones, video chats among the worst – but also doing that WHILE eating, putting on makeup, etc concurrently!  Again, it’s terrifying and I wish there were at minimum mandatory technology enabled that made using an active screen impossible while driving.  Also, automated enforcement to ensure there’s repercussions for those that nonchalantly sail thru a solid red light. There’s no way to be safe if drivers feel that this is OK behavior.

  • UselessPoliticians March 8, 2023 (2:49 pm)

    Ah project Zero Vision classic Seattle program based on unattainable ideology followed by proven failure and a recommendation that doing more of the same will somehow deliver different results!!

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