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City of Seattle

December 3, 6:41 PM click here to comment > 2

This holiday season, let’s look out for each other and travel safely

This weekend marks the start of the fourth annual Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign. The campaign is a part of the City’s larger Road Safety Action Plan and Be Super Safe efforts, which have the long-term vision of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Seattle Safety Elves

During the winter holiday season, there are more people traveling downtown and fewer daylight hours, so making sure that we’re watching out for each other while driving or walking is especially important. We’ve seen remarkable reductions in pedestrian collisions since the start of the Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign four years ago – down on average 34 percent – but even one collision is too many.

This year the campaign launched with an event at Westlake Park last Saturday, December 1st, with a public performance by the Seattle Safety Elves and Seattle brass band Tubaluba. Throughout December the team of safety elves are visiting the streets of downtown reminding visitors, employees and residents to Be Super Safe, using a fun approach to a serious issue. Continuing an approach to road safety using both education and enforcement, the Seattle Police Department is also conducting downtown safety emphasis patrols starting December 4th and going through mid-January.

The focus of these efforts is on the behaviors most common to collisions in Seattle – distraction, impairment, speed, and failure to yield to pedestrians. Within the Center City, one of the biggest causes of collisions involving pedestrians is motorists not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, or when attempting to make left or right turns as pedestrians are crossing. The safety elves and the Police Department will remind drivers and pedestrians alike to “drive with care and walk aware.”

By taking a few simple steps, whether traveling in a car or as a pedestrian, you can make sure you arrive at your destination safely and enjoy your downtown visit. Once again, I urge you to:

  • Always look for pedestrians when attempting to turn. We’re all pedestrians at some point in the day, so let’s take the time to look out for each other.
  • No matter how you travel, make sure you give your full attention to the road. Put down the phone, your coffee, your breakfast, or whatever else and be aware.
  • Know the speed limit and travel it. Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in Seattle is 30 miles per hour on arterials, 25 miles per hour on residential streets, and 20 miles per hour in school zones. A few miles over the speed limit can make the difference in whether or not you or someone else survives a crash.
  • If you’re going out and planning to drink, think about a designated driver, taking a taxi, or using public transit.  Impairment is a factor for pedestrians and people on bikes too. If you’ve had too much to drink, leave your bike behind and think about getting a ride home or traveling with a sober friend.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, visit our wonderful downtown, and keep each other safe on our streets.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn


Comment from Celeste Duncan
Time December 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I’ve lived downtown since 1980, and the biggest safety concern for pedestrians that I see today is the same I saw when I first started walking everywhere – buses. Distracted drivers are a problem, but not as severe as bus drivers routinely taking a right turn in front of me when I’m already in a crosswalk with a walk sign. I have literally had to jump out of the way of their tires on multiple occasions. And a bus would squish me a lot easier than a car!

Pingback from The Reader – Weddings at City Hall on Sunday | Seattle, WA 98122
Time December 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

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