SDOT presents review of Vision Zero plan to city council to reduce traffic fatalities, injuries

SEATTLE — On Tuesday morning, the Seattle Department of Transportation presented findings related to its Vision Zero plan to the Seattle city council to reduce traffic collisions, fatalities, and injuries.

SDOT said there were 28 deaths on the roads last year, which is clearly not close to zero.

After a period where we’ve seen some high-profile incidents on Seattle’s roads, the agency says more could be done to reduce traffic deaths.

In January 2023, a marked patrol car hit and killed a pedestrian. Last November, a man died after getting hit by a King County Metro bus. This past October, two pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in separate crashes in South Seattle on the same morning. In July of last year, in West Seattle, a cyclist was killed in a deadly crash. A suspect is now facing charges in that incident.

SDOT said it has timed walk signals to give pedestrians a head start before the green light for traffic to avoid pedestrian collisions.

SDOT representative Jim Curtin spoke to the council about the Vision Zero assessment, saying that pedestrian deaths have been on the rise nationally,

“In Seattle, trends are similarly headed in the wrong direction. There are more than 10k crashes every year in Seattle. That’s about 30 crashes that occur every single day,” said Curtin. “Annually, we see 28 deaths and 180 serious injuries.”

One of the major changes being considered is banning drivers from turning right at a red light at some intersections – Seattle could institute that.

Also being considered are utilizing automated enforcement cameras, redesigning some major arterial streets and reducing lanes. Increasing visibility at intersections, more visible signage, improving sidewalks and adding speed humps in some areas are also options on the table.

SDOT says that the U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded Seattle $25.6 million in grant funding to invest in over 100 intersection safety projects.

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