‘No one needs to die in a traffic crash:’ Coalition advocates for safer streets in Snohomish County

EVERETT, Wash. — A group advocating for additional safety improvements to Washington’s streets is calling for major changes in Snohomish County.

Across the state, the number of people who died in traffic accidents is the highest in two decades. We’re currently on track to break that record this year.

On Monday, the Snohomish County Transportation Coalition, also known as Snotrac, held a news conference just one day after the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The coalition says it chose to speak at the intersection of Airport Road and Evergreen Way on State Route 99 as it’s the intersection with the most fatal traffic crashes in the county.

It is also where 35-year-old Donaldo Perez Perez was killed while crossing the street at a marked crosswalk in April.

“Traffic violence is senseless, no one needs to die in a traffic crash,” said Brock Howell, Snotrac Executive Director. “With better design and engineering of our roadways, we can account for human error and make our roads inherently safe for all people.”

Perez is one of seven people to have been killed on the Evergreen Way corridor this year, according to Snotrac.

Of those seven fatal crashes, five involved pedestrians.

“These numbers are not just statistics. These people are our neighbors, family members, and friends. Those that are close to us,” said Ed Engel, Snotrac’s Mobility Justice Advocate. “We describe traffic violence as inevitable, costs for living in a society oriented around getting places via car. However, the truth is, these deaths are preventable.”

The coalition pointed to enhanced signage at the intersection that reminds drivers that pedestrians have the right of way when they’re making a right turn at a red light as a positive step forward.

But, it wants to see a new state law either banning right turns on red in urban areas or limiting when drivers can turn while pedestrians also have the “walk” sign.

The coalition is also pushing for lowering the DUI limit from .08 to .05 and expanding access to driver’s ed.