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Safety Improvements for NE 125th Street

After hearing from the public and conducting additional analysis, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has recommended to Mayor Mike McGinn that the city undertake a project to enhance safety along Northeast 125th Street by rechannelizing the roadway. Between Roosevelt Way Northeast and 28th Avenue Northeast, the road would have one travel lane in each direction, separated by a two-way left turn lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street.

This recommendation is based on SDOT’s analysis that the number and severity of collisions that injure motorists, pedestrians and others can be reduced by rechannelizing the roadway. SDOT found that Northeast 125th Street had 13 collisions involving pedestrians and three involving bicyclists over the last three years. Comparable roadways like Greenwood Avenue North (south of Holman Road) had five collisions and Northeast 145th Street (from 12th to 28th avenues Northeast) had only two. Currently 51 percent of collisions on Northeast 125th Street result in injury. The average for citywide arterials similar to Northeast 125th Street is 33 percent. 

The majority of drivers on Northeast 125th Street travel at 40 miles per hour or less, much faster than the 30 miles per hour speed limit. According to the Federal Highway Administration, a pedestrian hit by a car at 40 miles per hour has an 85 percent chance of being killed, while at 30 miles per hour the likelihood of death goes down to 45 percent. At 20 miles per hour the risk is only five percent. Faster speeds also increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being hit. At higher speeds, motorists are less likely to see someone crossing the road and are even less likely to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting that person or slow down to a less injurious speed.

The project would bring speeds closer to the posted speed limit, make turning on and off the street easier, allow safer crossings by pedestrians and provide dedicated space for bicyclists. For more information on this recommendation, click here to view the complete decision memorandum.

Since 1972, SDOT has successfully changed the lane configuration of 29 roadways, such as North 45th Street, Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Stone Way North. We’ve learned from those projects that a configuration such as the one proposed for Northeast 125th Street reduces collisions and brings speeds closer to allowed limits while providing sufficient capacity for all road users.

Mayor McGinn is expected to make a final decision on this recommendation within the next two weeks. If approved, SDOT would begin work on the project shortly thereafter in April, weather permitting. Work would include pavement improvements and drain grate replacement along the curb. Existing paint on the roadway would be removed and restriped. Please visit the project website for additional information on the project.