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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Past Minutes of the Board


11 September, 2002, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Seattle Municipal Building, 600 - 4th Ave. at Cherry St.

Present: SPAB Members: present John Coney (Chair.), Matthew Amster -Burton, Suzanne Anderson (Vice Ch.), Hemant Bhanoo, Amy Clark, Rob Ketcherside , Margaret McCauley, Ethan Charity Ranger, Mark Schultz, Charles Smith
Excused: , Michael Ingram
City Staff: Megan Hoyt (Seattle Transportation, SPAB staff support), Peter Lagerwey (SDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities), Pauh Want (SBAB support)
Gwen Jimerson (School Crossing Guard Coordinator.)

  1. 6:00pm Adopted minutes of 8/14/02 on motion by Bacon and Smith.
  2. 6:05 Amendments to the Agenda: none.
  3. 6:07 Segway demonstration - Matt Rathke, City Vehicle Fleet administrator demonstrated the "I" model of Dean Kamen's Segway electric battery, two-wheel, vehicle. Rathke explained the City's goals in experimenting with Segway transportation for some City employee tasks:
    • Work with department to evaluate experimental uses for Segways by City employees.
    • Contract with Kamen's company for needed Segway EPAMDs (Electric Assisted Personnel Mobility Device) and work with them to ascertain the adaptability of a Segway model to City job functions
    • Collect results of tests of Segways in City job functions
    • Define conditions required for City employees' use of Segways
    • Coordinate departments' evaluation process to ensure effective use of Segways.

    Rathke explained that the first test application of the Segway for City jobs would be for water meter readers on routes with appropriately spaced meters.

    The "I" model which they will use weighs 85 lbs. With up to 250lb. rider, 70 lbs. equipment load each unit would have a road weight of approximately 405 lbs. Top speed en-route is 12.5 mph. The "I" model Segway can drive up a 20% grade.

    John Coney noted that with a speed differential over average walking speed of 9 mph. and a weight of 400 lbs, a collision with a child, pet, or elderly person would result in injury.

    Rathke demonstrated the softness of the balloon tires when running over a foot a low speed and the rapid braking possible by an alert rider.

    He noted that the Segway EPAMD is legal on sidewalks, bike paths, and streets not posted with speed limits of less than 25mph.

    Coney outlined SPAB's position stated in the Segway Advisory: of July 18, 2002 advising the City Council to ban Segways on certain highly used pedestrian walkways in some urban centers. Coney also noted that SPAB would not object to Segway use by trained City employees on these routes.

    Peter Lagerway stated that safety is SDOT's number one responsibility in transportation. SDOT reserves the right to ban travel by any mode on any particular right of way. SDOT needs the power to manage all modes of transportation in Seattle. However the state code at this time limits SDOT's regulatory authority over Segways as EPAMD vehicles in contract with powers granted to SDOT under that code to regulate uses of other modes of transpiration.

    Here, provided by Rathke, is the revised code: RCW 46 61 710:
    (6) (changed recently) A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD) shall obey all speed limits and shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and human-powered devices at all times. An operator must also give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

    Except for the limitations of this subsection, persons operating an EPAMD have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian.

    (7) (as before in the Kastama Bill) The use of an EPAMD may be regulated in the following circumstances:
    (a) A municipality and the department of transportation may prohibit the operation of an EPAMD on public highways within their respective jurisdictions where the speed limit is greater than twenty -five miles per hour.
    (b) A municipality may restrict the speed of an EPAMD in locations with congested pedestrian or non motorized traffic and where there is significant speed differential between pedestrians or non motorized traffic and EPAMD operators. The areas in this subsection must be designated by the city engineer or designee of the municipality.
    Municipalities Shall not restrict the speed of an EPAMD in the entire community or in areas in which there is infrequent pedestrian traffic.
    (c) A state agency or local government may regulate the operation of an EPAMD within the boundaries of any area used for recreation, open space, habitat, trails, or conservation purposes. (sic)

    Coney noted that one major problem with integrating Segways into the other facilities for other transportation modes is the unequal, preferential, legal status conferred on the Segway in the canned legislation supported by the Kamen-sponsored 50-state lobbying campaign in state legislatures, a campaign funded entirely by Kamen's corporation. It is important that the Segway mode be on an equal regulatory legal footing with motorized vehicles, bicycles, transit vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

    No change in the SPAB position was proposed, although SPAB may want to recognize as acceptable on all sidewalks the uses of Segways by trained City employees

  4. 6:27 Coney reported on mailing of I-90 Advisory
  5. 6:30 School Crossing Guards reduction

    Gwen Jimerson Coordinator of the SPD's School Crossing Guard program reported that there are on the current budget 114 Crossing Guard positions of which 89 are filled. There are sufficient requests for Guards to utilize all budgeted positions. Crossing Guards serve elementary schools of the Seattle School District. Training is on a six-month cycle. The positions are paid $10/hr and are structured in two one-hour shifts at the beginning and end of the school day.

    There is a proposed reduction of 25 job slots in the 2003 Mayor's budget draft. SPD administrators have indicated that the Crossing Guard function should be cycled out of the Police Department in three years. (Note: the proposed cut in positions roughly equals the number of unfilled job slots.)

    An advisory draft will be circulated to SPAB Members by e-mail to allow for prompt communication with the City Council Budget Committee.

    Smith volunteered to write a draft SPAB advisory to CMs Drago, Compton of the Council Budget Committee. (25:00)

  6. 6:55 Round Robin - Board Member self-introductions, brief reports, comments

    Coney distributed copies of the Seattle Times news story "Nickels Wants to Build 80 Miles of Sidewalks." The story pertains to the S.E.A. Streets technique of providing low-cost drainage, one-side walkway, and landscaping on City property between the curb and private property lines - one block at a time in areas with suitable soil percolation and gradient. The resulting winding sidewalk and landscaped drainage areas are quite striking, although most on-street parking is lost. SPAB viewed the demonstration block on its annual bus tour in August.

    Coney will prepare a draft advisory to the Mayor supporting the use of local improvement districts and the Mayor's proposed subsidy for 80 blocks of this lower-cost sidewalk and drainage improvement.

    Coney also called Megan Hoyt's attention to the need to plan new pedestrian crossings for Seattle Pacific University on Third Ave. W. and on W. Bertona St. That church-owned University's completion of elements of its previous master plan (1990-2000) will result soon in changes of pedestrian crossing patterns.

    Amster-Burton stated his interest in working on pedestrian signal cycles that are two slow to show a "walk" signal.

    He also expressed an interest in working on the long-standing SPAB interest in reduction of encroachments into the pedestrian sidewalk right of way in neighborhood business areas, principally pedestrian overlay zones.

    McCauley reported that an example of a slow signal cycle for pedestrians in the Pine/Boren intersection.

    Amy Clark is ready to work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project issues

    Ketcherside and Clark will work together to bring Clark up to speed on this complex and politically significant planning project.

    Ranger proposed that SPAB develop a position on the Metro Bus Service practice of allowing wheel chairs to board last, then sometimes denying entry on the basis that the bus is now full.

    Anderson and Ranger will develop an advisory text and a Metro representative will be invited to a future SPAB meeting.

  7. 7:15 Mentors for new Board Members were announced: Bhanoo (Smith), Ranger (Anderson), Clark (Ketcherside), Amster-Burton (Coney) (5:00) .

    Each mentor is encouraged to meet one-on-one with their mentee on a monthly basis. Coney, Andersonl, and Smith reported on the Mentor instruction session they attended at the Downtown YMCA

  8. 7:20 12th Avenue Capitol Hill pedestrian facilities, ( Hoyt, SDOT) (Postponed due to time spent with the Segway demonstration.) Discussion of topics that will be in our October consideration of the Seattle Street Improvment Manual.
  9. 8:00 Adjourned 8:20pm

NEXT SPAB MEETING: WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9, 6PM, Municipal Bldg. 600 - 4th Ave. , 4th floor conference room, on northwest side of the building.

    Future Agenda Items:
  • October 9, "SEATTLE STREET IMPROVEMENT MANUAL" ( Seattle's Standards for Pedestrian Facilities construction.) Michael Ingram, Megan Hoyt
  • October 9, Report on SR99N Safety/Mobility Study by WSDOT, Zimmerman & WSDOT staff.
  • October 9, Bus loading practice and policy (Metro guest)
  • October 9, Pike/Boren signal phasing. (McCauley)
  • October 9, AWVR Surface improvmeent alternatives report (Boris Dramov (AWVR Urban Planner), Ketcherside, Clark, Coney,)
  • Trans Lake Washington (I-90 walkway alternatives, SR520 S. Lake Union Intersection impacts)
  • Street Use Policies and Enforcement (Advertising and vendors on sidewalks) (Amster-Burton Advisory Committee)
  • Sound Transit/Monorail station pedestrian connections (Plans Committee)
  • Seattle Parks Levy Oversight Committee (pathways in parks, new, funded connections for pedestrians into parks.) (Plans Committee)
  • Street Use Policies and Enforcement (Advertising and vendors on sidewalks) (Advisory Committee)
  • Trans Lake Washington (I-90 walkway alternatives, SR520 S. Lake Union Intersection impacts)

For further information contact John Coney, Chair. SPAB 206/283-2049,

All SPAB meetings are public meetings of a City Advisory Board. Check the SPAB website at of for SPAB minutes, advisories, meetings.