Madison Park residents want major changes to neighborhood crosswalk

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:


SEATTLE - People in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood are pushing for major changes at a crosswalk where a cyclist hit and badly injured a pedestrian.

More than three dozen community members gathered around the crosswalk on East Madison Street Saturday morning.

"I think it's beyond time that something be done at this intersection," resident Merlin Rainwater said.

Last Friday, Aug. 23, a cyclist collided with a pedestrian trying to cross the street and sent him to the hospital with severe head injuries.

Police have not released their names.

"Our heart goes out to them because these are community members," Bob Edmiston, vice president of the Madison Park Community Council, said. "They're probably people we know."

He said according to eyewitnesses, the pedestrian was standing in the crosswalk with a car parked right next to it. That meant he couldn't see the cyclist coming down the hill and the cyclist couldn't see him.

"We've been looking at this situation for six months," Edmiston said.

He said citizens reported 9 rear-end collisions to them at the crosswalk since 2011 as cars hit the brakes to avoid pedestrians at the last minute.

They feared it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt and they formed a group that met with Mayor Mike McGinn two months ago to start talking about changes.

"So will funds be invested into making this safer?" KIRO 7 asked McGinn.

"We'll see but it always depends on the availability of funds," he said.

McGinn said he'll speak with budget staff and the city's traffic engineer about possible improvements like flashing lights and extending the sidewalk so drivers can see pedestrians better.

But McGinn, a cyclist himself, said the incident also sends a message to cyclists to be cautious and to know when to slow down.

"They have to behave in a safe manner like everybody else," he said. "When you're moving fast down a hill you've got to be aware of where there are crosswalks."

McGinn said money could come from the budget for pedestrian improvements or from two different grants. He could not give KIRO 7 a timeline on possible changes until he speaks with an engineer.