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Designing Streets for Safety

We here at the SDOT Blog frequently write about safety and street design. After all, safety is our top priority and “Safer Roadway Design for All” is a focus area in our Road Safety Action Plan. In just the past few weeks we’ve written about reducing speeds in school zones, comprehensive safety improvements on Northgate Way, and infrastructure enhancements both big and small. As the summer dry season kicks into gear, Seattle-ites can expect to see SDOT crews at work boosting safety across the city.

In the northeast part of Seattle, we’re in the midst of designing and installing a number of safety enhancements through the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project. Thanks in part to a grant from WSDOT and financing from our Bridging the Gap Transportation Levy, travelers along Lake City Way will notice significant changes over the next two years.

Crews completed enhancements at the two mid-block crossings of Lake City Way just north and south of NE 125th Street just this week. Signage has been upgraded and new flashing beacons were installed to help improve the visibility of these crossings. The new beacons, known as rectangular rapid flash beacons, have been shown to increase driver yielding at crosswalks significantly when compared to just warning signs and markings or traditional flashing beacons.

Recently installed rapid flash beacons

Recently installed rapid flash beacons

In the vicinity of NE 95th Street and Lake City Way, SDOT will be installing radar speed signs to provide feedback to drivers about their speed. These signs typically reduce speeds by three to five miles per hour and will be installed where speeding is most prevalent on the corridor.

In addition, crews will be busy replacing more than 250 regulatory and warning signs along Lake City Way. Older signs will be replaced with newer, more reflective signage.

Significantly larger projects are in the works for this corridor in the near future. SDOT engineers are currently designing major safety improvements for Lake City Way at 24th Avenue NE, NE 110th Street, and NE 130th Street. More on those projects in a future blog post…

Sneak Preview of Project at 24th NE and LCW

Sneak Preview of Project at 24th NE and LCW

Of course safety is a two-way street, so they say. We’ve installed a number of signs to ensure that all who travel the corridor recognize that an effort to improve safety for all is underway. In addition to significant infrastructure improvements, people should expect increased enforcement patrols along Lake City Way for the foreseeable future. Be sure to be super safe out there everyone!