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Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign

February 13, 2014

What’s new?

On February 12, SDOT staff presented a summary of this year’s campaign to the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board.

Moving forward in 2014, we’ll be evaluating the past 5 years of the campaign and will present our findings to the City Council.

Throughout the holidays, the city of Seattle asks you to be super safe. Whether driving, walking, or biking, take it slow and watch out for others. Keep in mind that people of all ages and abilities are pedestrians. Together, we can all make this a safe and happy holiday season.

The 2013 holiday season marked the fifth year of a five year campaign to reduce pedestrian/vehicle collisions in the Center City (downtown and nearby neighborhoods). The campaign stems from the Pedestrian Master Plan. It supports SDOT’s Action Agenda principle of ‘keeping it safe,’ and the Road Safety Action Plan of eliminating serious injuries and fatal crashes on Seattle’s streets by 2030.

In the past, the number of pedestrians injured by cars in the downtown core has increased during the holidays – there are more people, fewer hours of sunlight, and more distractions. The key cause of collisions is when people driving fail to yield to people crossing the street. Since the campaign started, SDOT has seen an average 37% decrease in pedestrian collisions.

Contact project manager Allison Schwartz at or (206) 386-4654

Tips for driving safely

  • Plan your next move and use your turn signals
  • Don’t block the box
  • Focus on the Road – You are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash if you are texting while driving.
  • Stop for pedestrians – it’s the law in Washington State
  • Always look for pedestrians and cyclists when attempting a turn.
  • Make eye contact with a pedestrian before proceeding through a crosswalk
  • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk—assume they are stopped for a pedestrian

Tips for walking safely

  • Use the sidewalk
  • Wear bright clothing at night so you can be more easily seen
  • Use marked crosswalks whenever possible
  • At signals, start crossing the street only when you have the “walk” signal
  • Watch for traffic even in a marked crosswalk with the “walk” signal – make eye contact with drivers who are approaching
  • Don’t be a distracted walker—turn off headphones and pay attention when crossing the street

Tips for biking safely

  • Wear light colored outer clothing, preferably with reflective strips, and a helmet
  • Use a bright, white light on the front of your bike and a red reflector on the back
  • When in the street, follow the same traffic laws required for motor vehicles
  • When on the sidewalk travel slowly and yield to pedestrians  
  • Be predictable - avoid sudden turns or lane changes
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