Traffic study to be done at Renton intersection where 4 people were killed in horrific crash

RENTON, Wash. — King County is taking a step toward addressing the ongoing issue of safety at an intersection in Renton where 4 people, including 3 children, were killed in a horrific crash by a speeding driver in March.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn sent out this memo about proposing a study of the intersection and what it entails:

“King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Thursday introduced legislation to study options for improving road safety in the Fairwood community, where a deadly car crash recently put a spotlight on problem areas on one of the area’s main thoroughfares.

“The recent horrifying car crash in Fairwood tragically highlighted the need to find ways to make our neighborhood roads safer,” Dunn said. “This legislation will take a comprehensive look at ideas from the community for improving road safety—such as roundabouts, cameras, and increased traffic enforcement—so that together we can act to protect our community from dangerous driving.”

Dunn’s legislation requests a study of a range of road safety improvement options in the Fairwood community. Specifically, it calls for the study of roundabouts at high-risk intersections on 140th Ave SE; the use of traffic enforcement cameras at major intersections near Carriage Crest Elementary School and at other high-risk locations; emphasis patrols by law enforcement officers in the Fairwood community; and other infrastructure improvements including but not limited to road diets, physical barriers in unused center two-way left-turn lanes, and leading pedestrian intervals.

The proposal follows a Fairwood community meeting last month where residents voiced concerns over reckless driving and speeding on 140th Avenue Southeast. Dunn attended the meeting and was joined, at his request, by King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall and the Director of the Road Services Division of the Department of Local Services, Tricia Davis.

If approved, the report would be due to the Council by August 30, 2024. Dunn’s legislation will be referred to the Local Services and Land Use Committee.”

KIRO7 went back out to the intersection with a speed gun to see if drivers’ behavior has changed ever since the tragedy. A majority of the people our crew clocked were going the speed limit or just barely over. A few drivers did go well over the speed limit.

“And the people that we witness driving have drastically slowed down,” Bob Johnson, who lives near the intersection said.

Johnson also put up a makeshift sign that reads ‘Speed Trap Ahead.’ He says he put it up a few days after the crash.

“And if my little sign is going to slow somebody down in that particular moment, well so be it,” Johnson said.

Even if Johnson’s sign slows down a few people, he feels there are still plenty of lawless drivers out there.

“However, there is a subset of people out there that don’t give a bleep and they are going to do whatever they’re going to do,” Johnson said.

Driving behavior is one thing the families of the 4 victims have emphasized when it comes to addressing the issue of safety at the intersection. ‘Buster’ Brown’s father, Jaron, told a crowd during a public safety meeting in April this is about much more than new laws or traffic safety measures.

“I think maybe the one message that I feel passionately about is that each of us analyze our own behavior,” Brown said.

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