Crosswalk campaign

Wallingford resident and JSIS parent Meg Chadsey has put together a letter-writing campaign to get a crosswalk installed on NE Pacific Street at either Latona Avenue NE or 2nd Avenue NE. so students and their families who use the Burke Gilman trail can safely cross NE Pacific on their way to & from school. In her email to us, she writes:

This project would also benefit all trail users (bike commuters, Wallingford residents, those wishing to access the Wallingford greenway via the recently designated ‘bike corridors’ along 2nd and Latona…). Many people cross these dangerous intersections every day, and there’s currently no signage altering drivers of their presence, or any means of slowing traffic along NE Pacific.

In addition to her application to the Neighborhood Projects Fund, she’s asking fellow residents to help by emailing the mayor and city council members the following letter:

Dear Mayor McGinn/Seattle City Council Members,

I’m writing to let you know about a pedestrian/cyclist safety issue in my Wallingford neighborhood that needs your attention. Many people use the North Lake Union section of the Burke Gilman trail, and the adjacent sidewalk that runs along N/NE Pacific St. as they travel between the surrounding residential neighborhood, John Stanford International School (JSIS), the UW, and the Fremont, North Lake Union and Wallingford business districts. User groups include bike commuters, elementary school students, the UW community, and recreational joggers and cyclists, and residents. Safe access points to the trail are limited, particularly along NE Pacific St. between N 36th St. N and 5th Ave. NE.

One section in particular that I feel needs addressing is where 2nd Ave. NE and Latona Ave. NE meet NE Pacific St. Despite the fact that dozens of JSIS students must cross NE Pacific St. at these junctions on their way to and from school each weekday, and the recent addition of ‘sharrows’ to both 2nd and Latona to encourage use of these avenues as cyclist ‘corridors’, there is nothing to alert drivers of the pedestrian/cyclist presence, or to facilitate their safe passage across NE Pacific St. A crosswalk at either 2nd or Latona is urgently needed; ideally one with a pedestrian/cyclist-activated flashing signal, since the high-speed traffic travelling along Pacific is frequently unaware of or unwilling to stop for pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross at these junctions.

I urge you to visit this site, particularly during the busy commute hours, or when JSIS students are travelling to and from school, and see for yourself the hazards faced by pedestrians and cyclists. A Neighborhood Project Fund application requesting a crosswalk along this section was filed this February; the application contact is Meg Chadsey. Feel free to contact her with questions or to set up a site visit at [email protected].

Thank you for your consideration,

[your name]

[your street address]

If you are interested in giving Meg a hand, you can grab a copy of the letter here: Letter in support of crosswalk at NE Pacific St. Meg adds:

Please send one copy of your letter to Mayor Mike McGinn through his website (, and email a copy to all Seattle City Council members at the following addresses (also cc Lake Union Neighborhood District Coordinator Tim Durkan <[email protected]):

Sally Clark Council President <[email protected]>

Sally Bagshaw <[email protected]>

Tim Burgess <t[email protected]>

Richard Conlin <[email protected]>

Jean Godden <[email protected]>

Bruce Harrell <[email protected]>

Nick Licata <[email protected]>

Mike O’Brien <[email protected]>

Tom Rasmussen <[email protected]>

Want to learn more about the proposed crosswalk? Meg will be attending the Wallingford Community Council meeting tonight to discuss the petition.

  1. DOUG. said,

    Yes! This is much needed. As part of the bicycle infrastructure improvements to the Latona/Thackeray/2nd corridor we saw last year, SDOT was supposed to install a ramp at the end of 2nd Ave for cyclists, strollers and wheelchairs to access the Burke Gilman Trail (PDF here). This has not materialized.

    Wed, March 7 at 8:47 am
  2. Claudia said,

    Interesting. Some years ago I tried to get a crosswalk across 50th by the 7/11. I think that is 2nd. No dice. It was not considered feasible to connect the two sides of the neighborhood. It seems they have to be more walker friendly since the kids need to cross 50th the way they cut up the district. Am happy to help!

    Wed, March 7 at 8:59 am
  3. Sam said,

    Yes please. And while we’re at it, how about some crosswalks on 40th street between Wallingford and 2nd ave? The crossing flags at Bagley and 40th are great, but don’t do much without a crosswalk.

    Wed, March 7 at 9:39 am
  4. Ryan on Summit said,

    SDOT’s opinion on crosswalks seems to be if they might be helpful (i.e. if drivers are not currently stopping) then a crosswalk is dangerous and must be avoided, because it will encourage people actually crossing there. Backwards.

    Thu, March 8 at 8:10 am
  5. protected static said,

    @Ryan – my understanding is that there’s a fair amount of data to back that up. Marked crosswalks can make some crossings more dangerous.

    That said, I’d love to see pedestrian islands like on Stone Way or Dexter implemented at at least one choke point on 40th…

    Thu, March 8 at 10:20 am
  6. Claudia said,

    Yes, I have had that told to me and I believe the data – crosswalks give people the irrational view that it should be safe to cross. Rather than not helping people cross lets actually enforce and reenforcement cars to stop.

    Thu, March 8 at 11:02 am
  7. Marley's Ghost said,

    Perhaps, but my understanding is that SDOT does not believe crosswalks are safe because data shows a higher number of pedestrian accidents occur there.

    Of course some might reply that this is because more people hopefully use a crosswalk than any one unmarked crossing. More pedestrian traffic means more opportunity for interaction with an auto. The data needs to be adjusted to reflect the number of crossings, which is difficult to track.

    Everyone knows, however, that the actual causal agent is crosswalks combined with smartphones or iPods. :-)

    Fri, March 9 at 7:49 pm
  8. Abdul Alhazred said,

    I concur that marked crosswalks produce a false sense of safety for pedestrians. We can remember kids killed using marked crosswalks, primarily on 4-lane plus roadways. With some exceptions, federal agencies discourage the use of crosswalk marking, and state law supports that – drivers must consider every unmarked intersection a crosswalk.

    So, it’s difficult to get new crosswalk markings that are not school routes. Can be done and I suggest that petitioning Council is less effective.

    I imagine steps and standards already exist to get this done. Securing (unbudgeted, relatively expensive) warning lights or hardscape changes takes time and planning, not letters to the city council. I applaud volunteer effort pursuing grant funding, which is necessary but not sufficient.

    Start to build support in the city agencies – and gather their data.
    1) Get the police out to monitor speed (with their mobile radar), then ask for emphasis enforcement.
    2) At the same time involve SDOT to evaluate proper signage and additions along that stretch.
    3) Observe and record the speed, traffic, and pedestrian counts. SDOT traffic engineering is in the position to help and make recommendations. SPD citations and accident statistics can be considered. To help the case for a school-related route document the number of kids crossing each schoolday, and the walking distance from the site to school.

    Mon, March 12 at 8:27 am
  9. Jeff said,

    I received the following from the city’s engineer:

    Dear Mr. Dubrule,

    Thank you for writing to Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle City Council regarding your request for two new crosswalks on NE Pacific Street at the intersections of Latona Avenue NE and 2nd Avenue NE. The Seattle Department of Transportation was asked to respond directly to you.

    We understand the reasons why you and others have requested a marked crosswalk at these locations. This roadway can be busy at times, especially during the warmer months when the Burke-Gilman Trail becomes busier and more people head for waterfront destinations.

    We often use a marked crosswalk to identify a preferred crossing location, if one location has better visibility or serves as a stronger connection than another location. Legal crosswalks exist at every intersection; however, these intersections do not meet the warrants for marked crosswalks. When marking a crosswalk we like to see approximately twenty pedestrians crossing in a one-hour period. This helps drivers become more accustomed to stopping for pedestrians and not grow accustomed to seeing an empty crosswalk on a continual basis. These two locations did not meet this threshold.

    We reviewed the three-year reported collision history and our records indicate that the intersection of 2nd Avenue NE and NE Pacific Street experienced one reported collision and the intersection of Latona Avenue NE and NE Pacific Street experienced five reported collisions. None of these reported collisions involved a pedestrian or bicyclists crossing NE Pacific Street.

    While it is not our policy to wait for a collision to occur prior to reviewing or implementing engineering improvements, the historical incidence of reported collisions is an indicator of whether or not a street or intersection is operating as planned for ordinary travel. The number of low reported collisions suggests that NE Pacific Street at these two locations is operating as planned for ordinary travel. After review of our findings, we will not recommend the installation of crosswalks at this time.

    Thank you for your interest in public safety. Please contact me directly at (206) 615-1243 or [email protected] if you have any additional questions or comments. I will be happy to assist you further.


    Cynthia Robinson

    Senior Civil Engineer Specialist

    Seattle Department of Transportation


    Mayor Mike McGinn

    Seattle City Councilmembers

    Cheryl Swab, SDOT

    Mon, March 12 at 6:41 pm
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