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October 24, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Seattle launches Road Safety Summit

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn kicked off the Road Safety Summit Monday night at City Hall, asking for ideas on how to make it safer for everyone to get around.

“People are often upset at how other people use the road,” the mayor told a crowd of about 130. But it’s time, he said, to show a little empathy.

It’s not a war on cars, he said. It’s not a war on bikes. It’s about understanding “the other users” and starting a conversation.

“We really need to stop being angry,” agreed City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the city’s transportation committee.

Dr. David Fleming, Public Health Director for Seattle and King County, shared several sobering statistics.

Injuries, he said, are the leading cause of death for Seattleites younger than 45. Of those injuries, one-third take place on the roads, “so this is a significant public health problem.” he said

The city is averaging 26 deaths a year –- or about two a month –- on city streets. Of those, Fleming said, 11 are typically pedestrians who’ve been killed, and two are bicyclists. This year, he noted, the city has already recorded four fatalities on bicycle.

Many more are seriously injured.

Fleming avoided using the term “accidents,” he said, because “they are mostly things that we can control,” like failing to yield the right of way.

Participants at Monday night’s summit broke into small working groups and were asked to discuss three questions:

1) What do you think are the highest priority safety problems to solve on Seattle roads?

2) What do you think are the most important things to do to make Seattle roads safer?

3) We often talk about what government can do to promote safety. What are the ways that non-governmental groups and individuals can promote safety?

If you didn’t get a chance to participate Monday, there will be more meetings.

The second summit is from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Northgate Community Center. A third forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Southwest Community Center.

A wrap-up meeting is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at Seattle City Hall to discuss next steps in the plan for safer streets, the city says.

For more information, or to RSVP to attend a meeting, go here.

 

 

 

Comments | More in Government, Traffic & Transit | Topics: Seattle, Traffic

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