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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: City announces proposals to improve safety on Northeast 75th Street

7/17/2013  11:20:00 AM
Robert Cruickshank (206) 849-9584

City announces proposals to improve safety on Northeast 75th Street
Proposals developed in response to community concerns

Mayor Mike McGinn and City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang today announced four proposals for improving road safety by restriping Northeast 75th Street near Nathan Eckstein Middle School. The proposals were developed in partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and community residents in response to concerns raised after a tragic DUI-related collision on Northeast 75th Street in March.

“We’ve heard from residents that reducing speeds is a high priority on Northeast 75th Street,” said McGinn. “These proposals can help people slow down as they drive near Eckstein Middle School. We’ll work with the community to determine the best option for moving forward.”

SDOT has worked in collaboration with the community to consider changes to these streets in an effort to bring down speeds and make the roadway safer for students, neighbors and all roadway users. SDOT held three public meetings in April and May where attendees discussed existing conditions and traffic data, and discussed potential improvements. Support for different roadway configurations was one of the most common suggestions SDOT heard from the community in those meetings.

The four proposals include different features to reduce speeds and improve safety. Under the first proposal, lane lines would be painted on Northeast 75th Street to clearly define one travel lane in each direction and one peak travel lane/parking on either side of the street. Under the second proposal, Northeast 75th Street would be marked for one travel lane in each direction with all-day parking on both sides of the street. Under the third proposal, there would be one travel lane and one bike lane in each direction, and parking on the south side of the street. Under the fourth proposal, there would be one travel lane and one bike lane in each direction along with a center turn lane. Bike lanes on Northeast 75th Street are included in the City’s current Bicycle Master Plan.

Short-term improvements, such as changes to signs and pavement markings, will begin in August 2013 and additional larger scale civil improvements will follow after project design and construction.

SDOT will work with the community to determine the specific nature and design elements of these changes, including through two public meetings next week. Collision data shows that the majority of collisions are caused by behavioral issues such as speeding, distraction, and impairment (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). SDOT will pair roadway modifications with new Seattle Police Department led enforcement strategies and area-specific educational outreach.

Aside from long-term improvements and some form of rechannelization, the City has already begun following through several initiatives to enhance safety in the area:

  • The bus load zone for Eckstein Middle School on Northeast 75th Street was repainted in April 2013
  • Flashing beacons to enhance the visibility of the school zone speed limit were installed this spring
  • School zone speed enforcement cameras will be installed on Northeast 75th Street in 2014
  • The intersection of Northeast 68th Street and 25th Avenue Northeast will be evaluated for a traffic signal
  • The crosswalk at Northeast 68th Street and 25th Avenue Northeast was remarked with fresh and highly visible paint

SDOT will hold two public meetings next week to get feedback on the proposals, at the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, July 24th, 7-9 PM in the Fellowship Hall (downstairs) at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Avenue Northeast
  • Thursday, July 25th, 1-3 PM in the Fellowship Hall (downstairs) at Messiah Lutheran Church, 7050 35th Avenue Northeast

This work is part of the mayor’s School Road Safety Initiative. The initiative includes a School Road Safety Plan, which, among other efforts, will include a plan for expanding the school zone speed camera programs to more schools in the future. Revenues from the five proposed new camera locations will fund projects identified in the School Road Safety Plan. The School Road Safety Initiative is part of the Road Safety Action Plan launched in August of 2012.

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