Graham Hill Elementary Takes On Traffic Safety and Wins

The Graham Hill Whale

The community at Graham Hill Elementary in southeast Seattle set out to enhance traffic safety around their school and that’s just what they did.  Led by parent volunteers and school staff, Graham Hill aggressively pursued their goal to make it easier for families to walk or bike to school.

After much work and determination from volunteers, the community secured grant funding from Safe Kids USA, a non-profit organization that promotes injury prevention to kids and families nationwide.  And SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program provided matching funds to support their efforts.  A broad approach was developed to enhance traffic safety around their school by addressing vehicle speeds, starting an in-school pedestrian education program, and encouraging students to walk to school via walking school buses. 

SDOT assisted the school to identify and implement infrastructure improvements.  An old traffic circle was removed and replaced, several curb ramps were installed along designated school walking routes, and speed bumps were installed on Graham Street in front of the school.  The school community also painted the street between 48th Ave S and 51st Ave S to bring attention to the school. 

Since these features have been in place, families walking to school have noticed a big change in traffic conditions.  While traffic volumes have remained mostly unchanged, speeds have come down nearly 20 percent.  Prior to the installation of these improvements, the majority of drivers were travelling at more than 28 miles per hour.  Now speeds are closer to 23 miles per hour.  And the number of aggressive speeders (drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour) has dropped by 80 percent!  

There's no way to speed past Graham Hill now!

The community celebrated their work on International Walk to School Day last Wednesday, October 5th.  Mayor Mike McGinn was there to congratulate this school on their significant accomplishments and joined students, parents, and staff as they walked and biked to school.