Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board
October 30, 2002
Chief Gil Kerlikowske
Dear Chief Kerlikowske:
The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) recognizes the vital role of the Seattle Police in keeping our city and its citizens safe. Pedestrian safety is the core of our mission, but pedestrians are always at the mercy of motorists when they cross streets. We would like to encourage the Seattle Police force to enforce traffic rules and inform violators of the reasons why these rules are important.
Sgt. Paul Gracy of the Traffic Patrol attended the April SPAB meeting and informed SPAB that pedestrian safety is not a priority for his limited staff. He suggested that SPAB conduct educational campaigns to encourage drivers to obey the laws. While we appreciate his time and consideration in discussing this issue with us, education without enforcement is only marginally effective.
The cities of Redmond, Kirkland, and Snohomish have recently made the news for their conclusion, tragically based on pedestrian deaths and severe injury in those cities, that crosswalk "stings" are an effective way to educate motorists about their legal responsibilities.
The Seattle Times ran a news story on the Redmond crosswalk stings on July 12th: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134492002_sting12e.html and an editorial on July 15. The Eastside Journal had a story on Kirkland's stings on August 27, 2002: http://www.eastsidejournal.com/sited/story/html/103171 The Seattle Post Intelligencer wrote a news piece on the City of Snohomish's sting on October 5, 2002: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/89909_crosswalk05.shtml.
With the numerous vibrant pedestrian areas in our city, the percentage of pedestrian/car accidents could be lowered considerably if Seattle were to follow the examples of the Redmond, Kirkland, and Snohomish Police Departments. Both commercial areas (downtown, Pike/Pine, Ballard Ave, etc) and schools are prime locations. Scheduling short high profile "sting" operations in different locations in the city throughout the year would be an efficient way to use the limited police staff to keep drivers aware.
SPAB strongly urges the Seattle Police Department to conduct crosswalk "stings" in addition to regular enforcement of moving violations.
Yours for a better and safer Seattle,
Cc: Seattle City Council Member Jim Compton - Chair. Police, Fire, Courts, Tech Committee