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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
9/5/2007  10:23:00 AM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dave Namura, Della Office, (206) 684-8806
Lisa Herbold, Licata Office, (206) 684-5331
Brian Hawksford, Rasmussen Office, (206) 684-8808

Council President Nick Licata
Councilmember David Della
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Richard Conlin

COUNCILMEMBERS PROPOSE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY INITIATIVE
Della, Licata, Rasmussen, Drago, and Conlin outline $3.5 million proposal for safer streets

SEATTLE Council President Nick Licata and Councilmembers David Della, Tom Rasmussen, Jan Drago, and Richard Conlin, today, outlined a $3.5 million initiative for pedestrian safety in this years city budget. Council President Licata, Co-Chair of the Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety, said, We know these measures will make pedestrians safer. Its time to find the political will to do them. Councilmember Della, member of the Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety, said, The Council has declared that pedestrian safety is our top focus this year. Funding these measures in the budget will deliver on our commitment. Councilmember Rasmussen said, Our job as legislators is to lead. This initiative will result in a safer walking environment throughout the city. Councilmember Drago, chair of the Transportation Committee and co-chairs of the Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety, said, As a former teacher, I am keenly aware of the importance of education in changing behavior. It is critical that the City fund and develop a quality, long-term Pedestrian Safety Education and Awareness program that informs both drivers and pedestrians of their responsibilities to improve pedestrian safety. Councilmember Conlin said, We cannot change driver behavior without allocating more resources for enforcement, education and infrastructure improvements. This budget package reflects our strong commitment to improving pedestrian safety.

The councilmembers pedestrian safety initiative is made up of five programs and is subject to approval by the Full Council during this years budget deliberations.

The first program funds 24 additional red-light cameras at a cost of $1 million. Currently the City has six red-light cameras that catch drivers who run traffic lights at four intersections. The program has been a great success, reducing stop-light violations by one third and the severity of collisions overall at the four intersections.

The second program pays $250,000 for two to four mobile, speed-enforcement vans that would target speeding vehicles near elementary and middle schools, as well as other high priority locations. Mobile speed vans use technology similar to red-light, traffic-safety cameras. If a vehicle is exceeding the enforcement speed the radar unit signals the camera to take a picture of the violating vehicle as it approaches the enforcement van. Afterwards citations are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The third part of the initiative provides $500,000 for the development of a pilot program utilizing new pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements, such as pedestrian crossing count-down signals; in-pavement, flashing crosswalks; and illuminated, overhead crosswalk signs. All of these measures show promise of improving pedestrian safety on multilane, high-volume roadways.

The fourth program finances a $250,000 public education and awareness campaign on pedestrian safety. The campaign will raise the awareness of pedestrians and drivers alike concerning pedestrian safety issues and increase the number of pedestrians in the City by promoting the benefits of walking.

The fifth program invests in $1.5 million in sidewalks. Nothing makes walking in an urban environment safer than sidewalks. This program would pay for at least 13 new blocks of sidewalks and the repair of numerous blocks of existing sidewalks.

Councilmember Della said, As our city continues to grow, we must ensure pedestrians can use the streets safelythe initiative we are proposing is an integral part of that assurance. Councilmember Rasmussen said, Walking is good for the environment and for our health. The City has a duty to make walking safer. Council President Licata said, These measures will prevent accidents, save lives, and make our city more livable.

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