Petition update

"We want to move" - SDOT #GivePedstheGreen

Troy Heerwagen
Seattle, WA, United States

Jun 13, 2017 — Hello pedestrian advocates,

I have more progress to report! SDOT has been having discussions internally about making signals better. As I shared last time, there are a lot of signal types and intersection configurations, so it's not exactly simple to extrapolate our petition to "Give Pedestrians the Green" into an actionable city-wide plan.

SDOT personnel in the Signals group and Director Kubly himself are committed to moving forward, however. SDOT is starting to define a new policy for pedestrian signals. Some details of this new policy include timing concepts like "leading pedestrian interval", how long the walk signal stays green, and potentially whether vehicle right turns on red would be allowed.

The good news is the new policy will also give pedestrians the green at some intersection types. SDOT is responding to our passionate voice of reason with action and the Signal Timing Manager expects a draft policy to be in place by December.

Nevertheless, this isn't good enough. I've asked SDOT not to wait for the perfect policy before implementing changes and SDOT plans to improve some intersections to test the new policy before the policy is finalized. I've also asked SDOT to establish a minimum threshold for intersections that gives pedestrians the green at most intersections.

Another challenge is that SDOT currently re-times signals for only 5 corridors per year. At this rate, it would take 19 years to update signals throughout the city. SDOT admits that's not good enough and acknowledges that signal improvements have the highest return on investment of any transportation improvement.

Once the policy is defined, more advocacy may be needed to ensure that SDOT prioritizes making these changes to more intersections. SDOT's Signal Timing Manager is planning to speak at the Pedestrian Advisory Board this Wednesday evening to provide an update on the changes in progress, as well as to discuss pedestrian crosswalks along MLK.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks again,
Troy Heerwagen

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