The Seattle Times report of the retiming of traffic lights on Rainier Avenue South [“SDOT to retime traffic signals on busy Rainier Avenue South,” Local News, March 11] to make them safer for pedestrians, was very good news for our community. It demonstrates three important facts:
First, we achieve health and safety not just in clinics, but in our environment — on our streets, in our homes and workplaces, in our air and water. This is public health.
Second, we need solid data in order to safeguard health and safety. In retiming the traffic lights, the Seattle Department of Transportation relied on careful observations of signal timing, pedestrian experiences, and community perceptions. Without this evidence, informed changes would have been impossible. This is why public-health research is so crucial.
Third, UW students are a tremendous asset to our community. The Rainier Avenue observations were made by UW School of Public Health students, who put in countless hours. In their research and report preparation, they had close UW faculty supervision, and many partners. What a wonderful example of community-university partnerships to benefit both students and the community.
Howard Frumkin, dean of the UW School of Public Health