The City of Seattle has a goal to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030. This effort is line with "Vision Zero," an empirically proven strategy of improving traffic safety through engineering and design rather than education and enforcement.
Achieving zero deaths by 2030 is an achievable goal — if the city continues to build out its planned bike network under the Bicycle Master Plan and make data-driven corridor improvements on the most dangerous streets.
Between 2004 and July 2017, there were 683 traffic collisions along the corridor of Green Way Drive N, East Green Lake Drive N, East Green Lake Way N, Green Lake Way N, and Stoney Way N, between Aurora Avenue N and 45th Street. That's nearly one crash every week.
As a result of the collisions, there were 350 people who sustained injuries. Of the collisions, 35 involved people walking and 72 involved people biking. Even more crashes and serious injuries accumulated on N 80th Street, N 50th Street, and N 40th Street.
Protected bike lanes, speed humps, and rectangular rapid flashing beacons are proven effective tools for calming traffic, reducing collisions, and improving safety of people walking and biking.
- New York City's protected bike lane on 9th Avenue led to a 56 percent reduction in injuries to all street users, including a 57 percent reduction in injuries to people on bikes and a 29 percent reduction in injuries to people walking, as well as an 84 percent reduction in sidewalk riding.
NYC DOT, 2012 - Measuring the Street
- Streets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure.
Teschke, K., et al., 2012 - Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study
- Streets with protected bike lanes saw 28 percent fewer injuries per mile than comparable streets with no bike infrastructure. People were also 2.5 times more likely to bike on the protected lanes than in general travel lanes.
Lusk, A., et al., 2010 - Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street, Injury Prevention, December 1, 2010
When protected bike lanes are installed in New York City, injury crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists) typically drop by 40 percent and by more than 50 percent in some locations.
Wolfson, H., 2011 - Memorandum on Bike Lanes, City of New York, Office of the Mayor, 21 March 2011
After New York City installed a protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue, bicycling increased 56 percent on weekdays, crashes decreased 34 percent, speeding decreased, sidewalk riding decreased, traffic flow remained similar, and commercial loading hours/space increased 475 percent.
New York City Department of Transportation, 2011 - Columbus Avenue parking-protected bicycle path preliminary assessment
(source: People for Bikes)
Seattle in particular has a strong track record of reconfiguring traffic lanes and adding bikeways to reduce collisions and maintain traffic throughput. Here's a chart created by Troy Heerwagen for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways that shows the impact of Seattle's rechannelization projects.
For the Green Lake & Wallingford Paving Project, the City plans to add protected bike lanes on the Green Lake Drives/Ways from Aurora to 45th Street, and uphill protected bike lanes on N 45th Street. These improvements will substantially improve safety and comfort along the entire corridor and better help the city reach its Vision Zero goal.
We believe the project should include additional improvements, including:
- Designing and signing the streets adjacent to parks and near schools to 20 mph, consistent with state and city policies.
- Squaring-up the intersection at NE Ravenna Boulevard so pedestrian crossings are shorter.
- Creating a protected south-bound bike phase at NE 50th Street.
- Routing the two-way protected bike lane from the Pitch & Putt to 50th Street intersection in the western edge of the Woodland Park Playfields parking lot, avoiding three driveways.
- Adding a two-way protected bike to the north side of 50th Street from Fremont Avenue to Green Lake Way.