Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced the results of a before and after study evaluating the effectiveness of safety improvements on Northeast 75th Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and 35th Avenue Northeast. The findings indicate the changes have dramatically improved safety, benefitting everyone who uses the street.
The main safety improvement on Northeast 75th Street, implemented in August 2013, was adding lane striping to define a previously unstriped area as having one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Little-used on-street parking was removed to prevent general traffic from using that space as a second lane, helping to reduce speeding and to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. School zone photo enforcement cameras were also installed in September 2014 at Eckstein Middle School.
Collision statistics from September 2013 through August 2014 show a 45 percent reduction in collisions from the time before the improvements were made, and no collisions involving pedestrians. Also, the number of drivers exceeding the 30 mph speed limit by 10 mph or more has declined significantly – by 75 percent for eastbound traffic and nearly 80 percent for westbound traffic.
The safety improvements did not increase the time it takes to drive this segment of street, also reported in the study and contrary to common perceptions. Furthermore, the volume of traffic remained unchanged, indicating traffic is not spilling over onto nearby streets. In fact, traffic volumes have actually increased slightly on 75th since the completion of the project.
SDOT traffic planners will continue to monitor traffic on Northeast 75th Street and nearby streets, looking for opportunities for additional safety measures, including improvements on Northeast 75th Street where it turns into Banner Way Northeast, near I-5. Please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ne75th.htm for the full report.
SDOT is analyzing several other corridors this year to identify ways to improve safety. Each is considered separately to identify improvements tailored to their unique characteristics. Traffic planners are currently studying 35th Avenue Southwest, Southwest Roxbury Street, Lake City Way Northeast and Rainier Avenue South. To learn more about Vision Zero, please see the program webpage at: http://www.seattle.gov/visionzero.