• Improvements coming to 'complicated' intersection in Seattle's Central District

    By: Deedee Sun

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Crash, after crash -- all caught on video at an intersection at Seattle's Central District. It's a problem KIRO7 first reported on in January.

    Now the City is going to do something about the intersection at 23rd Ave E and E John Street to make it safer. 

    SDOT's latest data shows that so far in 2019, the crashes continued. There have been nine crashes so far this year. 

    In 2018, there were 13 crashes -- the highest number since SDOT started collecting data in 2004. 

    The noise has become almost a regular occurrence for Joy Hollingsworth, who lives on the corner. 

    "The screeching sound, the loud the glass breaking -- that's my fear, one is just going to come barreling through my front door," Hollingsworth said. 

    Her surveillance cameras have caught dozens of crashes. Some are severe enough to send debris flying. Others capture drivers clearly running red lights. 

    One incident in March shows a car speeding through the intersection, then slamming into the car in front of him. 

    Another one in June was so serious firefighters had to cut off the roof of the vehicle to pull the person out. 

    "We have seen an uptick in crashes out there," said Jim Curtin, the Interim Director of Project Development with Seattle's Department of Transportation.  

    Curtin said it's a complicated intersection, and that he's seen Hollingsworth's videos and KIRO7's story. 

    "Absolutely, every time we're able to see evidence like that, it really goes a long way in helping to improve our designs," he said. 

    "It's time to get out there and make some changes to eliminate those crashes," Curtin said.

    He says there's clearly one problem that stands out.

    "We've seen those left turn related crashes, which is by far the top crash type at that location," he said.

    The city will be adding left turn pockets on the road, plus new stoplights with turn arrows. The new lights will also be larger and more visible.

    "So  that drivers are able to know exactly when they're able to go," Curtin said.

    "That will help tremendously," Hollingsworth said. "(I'm) extremely excited.

    "I just don't like people getting hurt. We just want a safe street," she said.

    The changes won't be happening until summer of 2020. SDOT says it's still designing some of the other work they will do simultaneously at that intersection, like improving curbs, the crosswalk, and accessibility.

    Construction on the second segment of the project is set to begin in 2020. Click here for more information. 

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