1. Another horrible collision at a dangerous Southeast Seattle intersection has put a seven-year-old girl in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, and both of the drivers responsible—yes, both—drove away without so much as slowing down, much less stopping to call 911.
As Seattle Bike Blog's Tom Fucoloro reports, a red Chevy Tahoe and a gold Acura Legend mowed down the little girl in the intersection at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Genessee St. around 6:30 last night; both people kept driving.
UPDATE: Last night, the Seattle Police Department amended the original report on which this item and other news stories were based, titled "Girl Struck by two cars while crossing South Seattle street," to say that they are now searching for just one car, the Chevy Tahoe.
Since 2007, SBB reports, at least 32 major collisions involving a pedestrian or cyclist occurred within 10 blocks of that intersection since 2007, including one in which the victim was killed. MLK only escapes being considered the most dangerous street in Seattle because Rainier Ave., a few blocks to the west, takes that dubious honor; just a few weeks ago, a driver plowed through a hair salon and Greek restaurant at the north end of Columbia City, injuring numerous people.
Yet for those living, walking, and cycling in Southeast Seattle, nothing ever changes—safety improvements are largely reserved for neighborhoods in the more affluent North End, while commuters treat the South End's neighborhood streets like highway bypasses, ignoring the slow-moving pedestrians and cyclists who get in their way.
As Fucoloro concludes:
It does not need to be this way. People have been consistently asking for a complete streets redesign of Rainier Ave for at least 15 years, and recommendation for such goes as far back as 1976, the Urbanist reports. Can you imagine how many people would still be alive today had the city responded to death on Rainier Ave in the 70s the way it did to death on N 45th Street in Wallingford? ...
MLK and parts of Rainier are slated for safety improvements in the newly-updated Bike Master Plan, and both are noted as high priorities in the Pedestrian Master Plan. We could all but cure traffic violence in Rainier Valley if we invested in complete streets projects there. So what are we waiting for? How many more children need to be sent to the ICU before we finally say stop?
2. Meanwhile, in another neighborhood that actually is trying to slow down traffic and create a tiny haven for cyclists and pedestrians, irritated drivers are not having it.
According to KIRO Radio, "you"—assuming that "you" are a driver, not a pedestrian, cyclist, or person in a wheelchair—are about to see "your" access to a few blocks of Bell Street downtownDrivers do not "cover" the cost of roads. Not even close. "restricted even more," as the Seattle Department of Transportations limits access to Bell Street between 2nd and 6th—that's right, four whole blocks—to pedestrian and bike traffic only. KIRO characterizes this change as "restrict[ing] access to Bell Street even more," which only makes sense if you believe that the only people who deserve "access" are those encased in two tons of metal and glass.Drivers do not "cover" the cost of roads. Not even close
Thanks to the "green street"'s overwhelming popularity among the non-car-bound, KIRO laments, "drivers will basically be forced to circle the block." Our suggested rewrite: Thanks to the "green street"'s popularity, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to enjoy a tiny respite from incessant car traffic right in the center of this car-dominated city.
3. Seattle Transit Blog reports on the "philosophical divide" between King County Council members who say Metro now has more than enough money, thanks to the economic recovery, to preserve existing bus service, and fiscal conservatives like Metro general manager Kevin Desmond, who warns that a financial recession could wipe out Metro's reserve.
(As we mentioned earlier today, the council argues that Metro can simply dip into its financial reserves, which are supposed to pay for operations during a financial crisis, to backfill proposed cuts to service; others, including Desmond and County Executive Dow Constantine, say Metro needs to maintain its reserves in case of a future financial downturn.)
Desmond, STB writes, "saw financial uncertainty lurking for Metro in several other places: the current contract process with ATU Local 587, which is headed to binding arbitration over which Metro has no control; in the price of diesel fuel; and in highly volatile and unpredictable pension costs that may lag years behind investment returns. He pointed out the volatility of sales tax as a revenue source, saying twice that Metro had been 'burned' by it in 2000 and 2008, and explained that Metro needed larger reserves than peer agencies because its primary funding source is more volatile."
4. By the way: Drivers do not "cover" the cost of roads. Not even close.