On Sunday afternoon I was cruisin’ in Wedgwood when my interest was caught by a real estate open-house sign. On impulse I turned west onto NE 91st Street and drove along this street in Wedgwood which has no curbs or sidewalks. The street was heavily parked with cars and as I proceeded along at about 20 miles per hour, my eyes darted from side to side, watching in case a child or an inattentive adult might step out into my path.
Suddenly I saw in my rear-view mirror that there was a car right on my tail. The young woman at the wheel was gesturing……in an unlady-like manner. When I came to a stop sign and stopped at 30th Ave NE, the young woman honked her horn. I was bewildered, and after proceeding through the intersection I pulled over and let the young woman pass me. She sped down the residential street at 40 miles per hour or more. I sat watching, wondering if perhaps I should not have let her by; she might be on her way to an accident right now.
Arriving at the real estate open house, I saw the young woman get out of her car. She looked at me as I slowly drove past. I wonder if she thought it was worth speeding so that she could get to the house a whole thirty seconds faster? I thought about talking to her and asking, how would you feel if you had struck someone because you were speeding?
I went to NE 75th Street, got out of my car and stood watching as cars went by at high rates of speed, much faster than the 30 miles per hour which is posted. I stood at the site of the Schulte family memorial and wondered, what will it take? When will Wedgwoodians SLOW DOWN?
New crosswalk markings on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 80th Street.
New crosswalk markings and a “pedestrians” sign have gone in on 35th Ave NE at the corner of NE 80th Street. This is a heavily used crossing area for people going to Wedgwood Presbyterian Church on that corner, or to the post office in the block to the south. With traffic lights only at NE 75th and 85th Streets, it is a long stretch without any place for pedestrians to cross 35th Ave NE — until now.
In Wedgwood’s recent traffic meetings it has been pointed out that the best way to prevent accidents is to use many different methods to SLOW the traffic. The presence of pedestrian-crossing signs at NE 80th Street will help to do that. Children must be taught safety rules, however, that when using a crosswalk they must make sure that cars stop before pedestrians step off the curb.
A free Sound Cycling class will be held at the Northeast Branch Library on Sunday, May 19 from 2 to 4 PM. The class is for children, teens and adults, and will talk about how to have fun with your family or on your own, and how to become a confident, able bike rider. Hosts for Sound Cycling are Anne and Tim King, long-time Seattle bike bloggers and bike technicians. The topic of the class on May 19 will be Bicycle Maintenance. Bring your bike, get an overview of basic bicycle parts and learn how to fix your bike. On Thursday, June 13 at 4 PM at the Northeast Branch Library, Sound Cycling will have a Mileage Celebration and Finale program — win prizes for reporting the miles you biked to school or to work!
National Bike to School Month Rally
Wednesday, 8:00AM at Top Pot Doughnuts
(Ride Departs for Bryant Elementary at 8:40AM)
The weather outside is phenomenal for sure, but there’s even more of an incentive for kids to ride their bike to school now. May is National Bike to School month and what better way to start it off than with a Bike to School Rally, featuring the Seattle School District Superintendent, Dr. José Banda; School Board member Kay Smith-Blum; Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw;and Cascade Bike Club’s Education Director, Julie Salathé on WEDNESDAY, 8AM at Top Pot Doughnuts. According to the Cascade Bike Club, the ride will depart Top Pot Doughnuts at 8:40AM and make its way to Bryant Elementary for a brief press conference.
According to Bryant Bikes organizers, Superintendent Banda reminded all Seattle School District principals earlier this month in a weekly communication that May was National Bike to School month and stressed the benefits of biking (and physical activity in general) for kids, stating the following:
SPS asks all staff to engage students around the benefits of bicycling in the interest of creating the healthiest and safest school community environments and promoting healthier lifestyles. In addition to fighting childhood obesity and promoting environmental consciousness, studies have shown that students who take part in more vigorous physical activities perform approximately 10 percent better in core classes such as math, science, English and social studies. Please encourage your communities to organize group rides to schools and engage students in activities around bicycling on May 8 and beyond.
The weather is fantastic! So dust off your helmet (and your kids), pump up those tires, and get your bike riding on. You’re an example to your children!
Lance David Memorial Bike Ride
Tuesday, May 7th, 5:30PM
On a much more somber note, a memorial bike ride has been organized for May 7th at 5:30PM to remember Lance David, the man struck and killed by a truck on East Marginal Way on May 1st while riding his bike. We in NE Seattle are well aware of the need for safer streets, not just on NE 75th Street, but everywhere throughout the City. For those interested in participating in the ride, you can read more here.
A recent article in The Atlantic Cities tells of efforts to document “close calls” which are meaningful signs of an unsafe street, but are not documented because the crash didn’t actually happen. In the wake of events on NE 75th Street (which we all knew is not a safe street) we asked ourselves, why do we have to wait until people get killed before we can fix the traffic issues? Near-miss data might have real value in preventing real tragedies.
The only way that traffic engineers have to know where to make improvements is in actual crash data. Now a New York City advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, is testing a web platform called Crash Stories NYC which invites New Yorkers to map their near-misses. The traffic incidents that almost happened, can be mapped and this data used to show that infrastructure improvements or stricter traffic enforcement is needed. Could we, advocates of a safer NE 75th Street in Seattle, use data on near-crashes? Bring your ideas to the meetings with Seattle’s Department of Transportation coming up on April 23, April 25, and May 1st.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has opened the Northeast 65th Street Cycle Track, a dedicated bike lane. The cycle track is separated from traffic by a sturdy barrier. Separating traffic types (cars, bikes, pedestrians) into different lanes not only increases convenience, but adds safety.
The Northeast 65th Street Cycle Track provides a family-friendly connection between the Burke-Gilman Trail and Magnuson Park, helping people of all ages to ride bikes along 65th and also cross Sand Point Way more easily. At the Sand Point Way crossing point, there is now a larger waiting area, larger and better aligned curb ramps, repainted crosswalks and specially marked “crossbikes” — crossing areas for bikes to have their own area of the street separated from pedestrians.
To learn more about cycle tracks and how they are being used around the City of Seattle, visit the cycle track webpage.
Schulte memorial, April 1, 2013, photo courtesy of SeattlePI.com
Hundreds of Wedgwoodians and other supporters turned out for a Memorial March on Monday evening, April 1st, to honor the Schulte family. Dennis and Judy Schulte were killed while crossing NE 75th Street on Monday afternoon, March 25. Their daughter-in-law Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and her infant son, Elias, who was then only ten days old, remain hospitalized to date. Here is the memorial walk as reviewed by Casey McNerthney of Seattle PI.com with photographer Jordan Stead.
Check here for updates to the memorial and medical funds established for the Schulte family, and consider attending the important meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 7 PM at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, to give your support to needed changes — let’s work together to make our streets safer.