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Councilmember Nick Licata
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Central Sector
Lake Washington Blvd E / Arboretum Drive E, map


Respondent #13, 7/31/08

My concern is Lake Washington (Blvd) through the Arboretum, especially by the Japanese Garden. The city transportation department told me they could not put a crosswalk by the Japanese Garden because there were too many trees. Despite that, many people try and cross from the parking lot by the Japanese Garden to the trails on the other side of Lake Washington Drive. I once even saw a wheel chair trying to get across with cars speeding by and not stopping.

Seattle  Department of Transportation (SDoT) Response

SDOT shares you concern for pedestrian safety. Marked crosswalks can be an important tool to help people cross the street comfortably, but they are not the best solution at all locations, particularly where sight lines are not clear.

SDOT normally marks a crosswalk to indicate preferred crossing locations for pedestrians. In considering whether to mark a crosswalk, two factors we consider are 1) motorists' line of sight to the crosswalk; and 2) pedestrian accessibility. Because there are two large trees on the west side of Lake Washington Boulevard, at the parking lot entrance, it may be difficult for motorists to see pedestrians standing on those corners. That, combined with the curve in the road and occasional traffic back ups from East Madison Street, make this location difficult for motorists to anticipate pedestrians trying to cross. SDOT does not have plans to install a crosswalk at this location due to the reduced visibility and limited sight distance at this intersection. Unfortunately, just marking a crosswalk does not always increase safety for pedestrians.

There are marked crosswalks in place further north by the Japanese Gardens, and to the south at the intersection of East Madison Street. These marked crossings are our preferred crossing locations.

In the meantime, you may be interested to know that SDOT is developing a Pedestrian Master Plan in hopes of addressing some of the issues that face pedestrians in Seattle. While a draft of the Pedestrian Master Plan has yet to be completed, continued updates, information, and ultimately, the final Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan may be viewed here.

Thank you for contacting the Seattle Department of Transportation about pedestrian crossings.

Back to Central Sector list of critical crossings.

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