Pedestrian Deaths Spike in King County Cities

Eight cities in Washington’s King County saw sharp increases in traffic fatalities, signaling a need for more robust road safety and traffic calming policies.

1 minute read

January 11, 2023, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of pedestrian suspension bridge over waterway surrounded by green grass with small apartment buildings in background

Pedestrian bridge in Tukwila, Washington. | Nathan Zwally / Green River Trail Bridge

Pedestrian fatalities in eight cities in South King County, Washington have almost tripled in the last decade, reports Andrew Engelson for The Urbanist.

According to Engelson, “The trend has been on the rise consistently over ten years, hitting a peak of 97 in 2019 and dipping slightly to 70 during the pandemic year of 2020.” The pattern mirrors statewide statistics.

Some cities are using federal traffic safety grants to analyze dangerous streets and implement enforcement, education, and infrastructural fixes. Auburn revised its traffic calming plan to “take a more robust approach to reducing speeds at intersections and increasing safety for pedestrians and cyclists,” while Tukwila issued a plan focused on reducing driving speeds near schools and in residential areas.

But “the more difficult work of redesigning streets, roads, and highways for pedestrian safety is an expensive project that falls to an array of jurisdictions,” Engelson explains, causing bigger, more expensive projects to fall by the wayside. For example, “One especially dangerous road in South King County, according to Sara Wood, King County’s coordinator for the Washington Traffic Safety commission, is State Highway 99,” a hotspot of crashes involving pedestrians. But improvements such as adding stoplights and crosswalks to stretches of the highway “sometimes fall down the priority scale because of cost.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 in The Urbanist

View of small-town street with brick buildings and cars parked in diagonal parking with string lights going across street in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Norman, Oklahoma Eliminates Parking Mandates

The city made a subtle, one-word change that frees up developers to build parking based on actual need and eliminates costly unnecessary parking.

September 14, 2023 - Next City

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

View of Boston from Bunker Hill with statue in foreground

Boston to Begin Zoning Code Update, Mayor Announces

It’s been nearly 60 years, but the city of Boston is finally ready to do a comprehensive rewrite of its zoning code.

September 14, 2023 - The Boston Globe

Sidewalk in Seattle with yellow fall leaves on the ground and cars parked next to the curb.

Proposal Could Mandate Sidewalks as Part of Seattle Complete Streets

Almost a third of the city’s neighborhood streets lack sidewalks.

September 24 - The Urbanist

View of San Francisco neighborhood from top of hill with misty bay in background.

San Francisco Supervisors Punt Housing Ordinance

After hours of public comment, the zoning reform package aimed at increasing housing production and limiting red tape was delayed for further discussion.

September 24 - SF Standard

Woman wearing helmet riding POGOH bike share bike in bike lane in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Launches Adaptive Bike Share Fleet

The new bikes include a recumbent bicycle and a front-loading cargo bike.

September 24 - Pittsburgh Magazine