SDOT touts pedestrian-first intersections completed early
Jul 27, 2020, 5:30 AM
(Seattle DOT image)
The Seattle Department of Transportation says it has created 250 pedestrian-first intersections, reaching that goal six months early. That’s equivalent to 25% of traffic signals in the city.
So what are pedestrian-first intersections? It’s basically re-timing traffic signals to give people a few more seconds to walk across the street before cars get a green light.
Sure, that might mean drivers are stuck at a red light for a little longer, but SDOT says the timing changes mean people crossing the street are more visible from behind the wheel. The method has reduced crosswalk collisions by 60%, according to SDOT.
SDOT says the new upgrades to these intersections alone have reduced the number of people hit by cars crossing the street by 48%.
In addition to taking care of some of the work during maintenance, SDOT says they’ve built new traffic signals this year, including at 1st Ave NW & NW 36th St in Fremont, the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, and 35th Ave NE & NE 68th St in Wedgwood.
High traffic areas in South Seattle, High Point, Bitter Lake, and Lake City will get new traffic signals next year. Not only that, but SDOT is proposing a new policy for signal operations that produce an automatic walk signal so that pedestrians don’t have to hit the button.
The changes to Seattle crosswalks is all part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, an effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.