Seeking to reduce collisions on Seattle’s busy streets, the Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign urged everyone traveling through downtown to “Take it Slow.” Distracted driving and walking can lead to pedestrian-involved collisions during the busy holiday season, so the campaign reminds drivers and pedestrians that everyone has a role in improving safety. As highlighted during recent Road Safety Summit meetings, the city of Seattle envisions a transportation system with no traffic fatalities or serious injuries, and where all users safely share the streets.
“We all have a responsibility to make Seattle’s roads safer,” said SDOT Director Peter Hahn. “The Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign asks people to show empathy and be responsible when driving, walking or biking. This is a key area of focus as we move forward with our next Road Safety Summit meeting.”
Center City is home to over 182,700 commuters, major destinations such as Pike Place Market and a number of seasonal attractions such as the Holiday Carousel. Data shows many of the collisions occur during afternoon peak travel periods when large numbers of commuters are leaving their workplaces and people are arriving to celebrate the holidays. Starting on December 12, the Seattle Police Department will arrange for extra traffic patrols for four weeks. The main goal of enforcement is to deter unsafe behavior by drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, and to encourage people – whether they are driving, walking or biking – to obey traffic laws and share the road. Much of their time will be spent during the p.m. peak with some patrols also occurring in the a.m.
“Downtown’s holiday festivities attract thousands of additional visitors, many for the first time, to our city sidewalks,” said Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Kate Joncas. “With all of the bright lights and decorations to look at, it’s easy to get distracted. The city’s pedestrian safety campaign serves as an important reminder to visitors, and locals alike, to take it slow and pay attention while driving or crossing streets so that everyone’s holidays-in-the-city are safe and memorable.”
Today’s crosswalk action emphasized safe behavior. Volunteers gathered at Westlake Center walked around the block using sidewalks, marked crosswalks and wearing bright clothing. Participants put away their cell phones and head phones and paid attention when crossing the street.
“I focus my professional coaching techniques on training competitors for the mental game. From amateur race car drivers up to Indy cars and NASCAR, from lacrosse to racquetball, and motorcycle racing to tennis – it’s all about focus,” said Ross Bentley, race car driver and author. “While driving downtown isn’t a race car track, much more focus and attention is required to keep pedestrians safe than most people realize.”
Last week, posters went up in store windows, coasters were distributed to restaurants and bus ads in bright neon colors with slogan, “See You in the Crosswalk” began running. People shopping at Pacific Place, Westlake Center or in Pioneer Square can visit participating stores and take our safety pledge to:
- Cross safely at identified crosswalks;
- Watch for cars when walking; and
- Take extra precautions when driving, biking and walking.
Those taking the pledge will be entered to win a $500 gift certificate redeemable at select stores listed on the campaign’s web site.
This is the third year of the campaign. At the conclusion of the campaign a survey will be conducted to see how effective messages were in changing behavior. The results will be used in 2012 to further develop the campaign to keep pedestrians and motorists safe. The city plans on conducting the safety campaign for five years and, if successful, move it into other neighborhoods. For more information and tips on driving, walking and biking safely visit our Web site: www.seattle.gov/transportation/seeyouinthecrosswalk.htm
The public is invited to stay involved on this subject and attend the final Road Safety Summit Meeting, Monday, December 12, at 6 p.m. in the Bertha K. Landes room at City Hall. This final meeting will be an opportunity to hear what the next steps are for Road Safety in Seattle. Details are available at: http://www.seattle.gov/roadsafety/default.htm.