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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.
Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.
The City Council today passed the Pedestrian Safety Resolution (Resolution 30951), which will establish a citizens advisory group for developing a Pedestrian Master Plan, to be completed some time next year.
There were a number of citizens who contacted my office offering positive suggestions on how the original draft of the resolution could be improved. The Council, after working with the Mayor’s Office and citizen advocates passed the twentieth draft of the resolution unanimously.
As part of the process of creating a pedestrian master plan advisory group, the Council wants this body to engage the public through sponsoring an open forum bringing local and national leaders together to discuss best practices for promoting pedestrian safety. Also, the group will review and suggest possible changes to be made to a number of policies, laws and directives, all of which are named in the legislation.
Rather than trying to restate the various elements of the resolution, I think it is best to read the sections which actually describe what is to be done. They are reprinted below.
Section 1. The City Council and Mayor support the development of a Pedestrian Master Plan that will incorporate the principles of education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation, and recommends that the proposed plan include, but not be limited to, the following elements:
- a.. the Plan’s short and long-term goals;
b.. a summary of the public-outreach process utilized to develop the Plan;
c.. a presentation of pedestrian fatality and injury data trends, with associated maps;
d.. a review and potential modification to the City’s pedestrian policies affected by the Comprehensive Plan, the Transportation Strategic Plan, the Right-of-Way Improvements Manual, the Municipal Code, Neighborhood Plans, Director’s Rules, and other relevant City documents and policies;
e.. inclusion of education and enforcement plans and policies;
f.. incorporation of existing or planned safe-routes-to-school information;
g.. inclusion or reference to design standards affecting pedestrians, including any relevant discussion of research concerning street design and operations (including, but not limited to, signals and roadway geometry) and emerging best practices in pedestrian safety (treatments such as, but not limited to, red-light cameras, in-pavement flashing lights at crosswalks, road re-channelization, crossing flags, raised crosswalks, and overhead lighting);
h.. pedestrian performance measures using standardized methods for evaluating safety improvements, programs, and activities;
i.. a needs assessment to guide completion of the pedestrian facilities system; and
j.. a prioritized list of desirable long-term pedestrian infrastructure improvements and associated cost estimates, along with maps detailing the proposed improvements, with appropriate reference to SDOT’s capital improvement program (CIP).
Section 2. The City will create and staff an ad hoc Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group to develop a proposed Pedestrian Master Plan. The Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group will serve only through the development of the Pedestrian Master Plan and should include, at a minimum, representatives from the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB), neighborhood organizations, regional representatives, health officials, an organization representing senior citizens, Seattle Public Schools representatives, representatives from pedestrian advocacy groups and safe-driving-oriented organizations, and members of the disabled community. Members of the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group should reflect the diversity of the citizens of Seattle. The Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group shall meet periodically with members of the interdepartmental team formed to work on pedestrian safety.
Section 3. SDOT, in conjunction with the Seattle Police Department (SPD), SPAB, and other relevant City agencies, will develop and carry out a pedestrian safety education and enforcement campaign during 2007 and 2008, which will seek to educate and raise awareness of drivers and pedestrians concerning pedestrian and vehicle safety issues. The campaign should include development of public education materials, public service announcements (PSAs), and special events to highlight pedestrian and driver safety issues, among other activities. The City should make any published materials available in multiple languages. This campaign should also incorporate high-visibility pedestrian safety enforcement activities, to be carried out by SPD. Particular efforts should be made to involve area school children, parents, and school officials in activities related to the public awareness and enforcement campaign.
Section 4. The agencies and organizations involved in the development of the Pedestrian Master Plan and in the implementation of the pedestrian safety campaign shall periodically brief the Council’s Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety on the progress and results of both efforts. The Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group shall participate in any briefing concerning the Pedestrian Master Plan.
Section 5. The City, SPAB, and the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group will hold a public forum to engage citizens, City staff, elected officials, and regional and national pedestrian safety experts in providing input on the Pedestrian Master Plan, the pedestrian safety education and enforcement campaign, and other activities related to enhancing pedestrian safety.
Seattle is fortunate to have citizens who are actively engaged in promoting pedestrian safety measures. I encourage UP readers interested in this topic to check out the following organizations and their websites.
Feet First helps people create more walkable communities. Every other mode of transportation has an organized industry and a professional lobby, yet pedestrians are lacking a basic right to safe, healthy mobility. We’re the group that puts feet first.
HEADSTRONG is a non-profit organization based in the Puget Sound region that provides support for survivors of pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes living with severe injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). HEADSTRONG supports families surviving the trauma of a child injured by pedestrian-vehicle crashes through companionship, care, and service.
Pedestrian InRoads operates with the belief that real change occurs when understanding and empathy are engaged through education, a fair legal structure, and intelligent enforcement. The freedom to walk and use our roads without fear or pain of violent, sudden loss from being hit by a car is a basic human right.