Traffic Safety Project Decreases Collisions on Aurora

Looking southbound from the pedestrian overpass at Aurora & N 40th St (click for larger image)

The Aurora Traffic Safety Project has been working to reduce collisions on Aurora Avenue North since June of 2009.  With one year’s worth of collision data now processed, we’ve been able to assess the performance of the project to date.  And we have good news to report!  When compared to the three year period between April 2005 and March 2008, collisions have been significantly reduced on Aurora.  Here are the details:

  • Total collisions on Aurora have decreased 21 percent
  • Serious and fatal collisions on Aurora have decreased 22 percent
  • Injury collisions on Aurora have decreased 23 percent

This reduction in collisions can be attributed to the project’s three-pronged approach to improve traffic safety through data driven engineering, enforcement, and education efforts.  

The entire collision analysis is available @ (click for larger image)

SDOT has completed a number of street improvements in support of this project including the construction of new sidewalks, curb ramps, and a new marked crosswalk at N 115th St; the installation of new regulatory, warning, and street name signs along the entire corridor; the installation of left turn signals at N 80th St; the installation of reflective pavement markers to help drivers navigate Aurora’s curves; and the installation of pedestrian countdown signals at four intersections.   

The project’s engineering team is currently preparing for construction season with several projects in the queue.  From late March through May, SDOT crews will be all over Aurora.  Five radar speed signs will be installed along the corridor in an effort to deter speeding.  To improve pedestrian safety, new curb ramps will be constructed on all corners of the intersection of Aurora and N 130th St and a new marked crosswalk will be installed on the north leg of the intersection.  New signage with flashing beacons will be installed on the approaches to the Aurora Bridge to warn drivers of merging traffic ahead and the intersection of Halladay St and Aurora will be reconfigured to improve sight distance and reduce rear end collisions. 

Our partners with the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Patrol have issued more than 12,000 citations on Aurora since June of 2009.  Enforcement efforts are focused on intersections or segments of the corridor with a history of collision problems.  Seattle Police patrol Aurora daily but a major enforcement emphasis patrol is planned for mid-April.    

SPD Motor Cycle Units Patrol Aurora Daily

Engaging the community along the corridor is key to achieving the project’s goal.  To reduce unsafe behavior on Aurora, educational efforts have focused on raising awareness about the leading contributing causes of collisions on Aurora like failing to yield, inattention, and speeding.   The education team has developed an awareness program to reinforce safe driving messages and support the project’s enforcement and engineering activities.  These efforts include an ongoing billboard campaign, special events, and outreach at local schools and businesses. 

Billboard posted near N 130th St & Aurora (click for larger image)

Billboard posted at Aurora & N 80th St (click for larger image)

Be sure to check the SDOT Blog regularly for information about planned construction and enforcement activities on Aurora.

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  1. Adell Meese says

    Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • SDOT Blog says

      WordPress is our blog platform. It is a really nice tool for our department and our staff find it easy to use. And you don’t need any specialized knowledge, like coding, to use it.

  2. Georgia England says

    The police issue tickets between the Aurora Bridge and 45th on the uphill slope which has very very few accidents but is easy to speed on. Given the drop in traffic throughout the region due to the recession I wonder how much of this improvement is from any enforcement?

    It is dangerous to merge from the side streets onto Aurora and from Aurora off to the side streets (since cars are usually parked very close to stop signs and on both sides of the street). Why not make the side streets “wider” so you could merge vs try to go from 0 to 40 in a few feet?

    • pegNielsen says

      In following up on your questions, we determined that they fall under the pervue of both SPD SDOT, and will require field checks by both departments and possibly more details than we normally post here – so you can expect to receive answers directly from each department within approximately ten business days.

    • pegNielsen says

      SDOT’s answer that was sent to you directly to your email address was returned. So we are posting our answer to the second part of your question. Please note that SPD was going to respond to the first part of your question and may also have difficulty reaching you, so you may want to contact them directly.

      Regarding your concerns for the “streets onto Aurora and from Aurora off to the side streets (since cars are usually parked very close to stop signs and on both sides of the street).” You asked, “Why not make the side streets wider so you could merge vs. try to go from 0 to 40 in a few feet?” We share your concerns with wanting our street system to operate safely and efficiently for all users.

      There are capital improvement projects associated with the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Mercer Corridor Phase II projects that will make improvements along Aurora Avenue North near Mercer Street and Broad Street. Please see the following websites for information:

      We understand your concerns about entering and exiting Aurora Avenue North to/from the local side streets. Widening streets is not a simple solution – the cost to widen is high. We have also found wider streets can promote speeding. SDOT will not widen any of the side streets along Aurora Avenue North at this time.

      Thank you for your interest in public safety. Please contact our office directly at (206) 684-7583 or if you have any additional questions or comments.

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