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Opinion: Pedestrian crossing at Beacon and Lander demands attention

May 30th, 2010 at 2:34 am | Posted by Dylan Ahearn

Since the light rail station opened last summer, the crosswalk at Beacon and Lander has become the busiest on Beacon Hill. The majority of the people exiting the station are headed west to go to the bank, Red Apple, the southbound bus stop, or home. All of these people must cross Beacon, and many get very creative in the process. Because the crossing is way out at the corner and runs diagonally to the corner away from Red Apple and the bus stop, many people choose to just cross through the middle of the street. Because the crosswalk—which now has flashing beacons and signage, but once only had markings on the pavement—is at the intersection with Lander, there is not only north-south traffic moving through but also people turning onto Beacon from Lander. With the long crossing, the multitude of car approaches, and the scurrying light rail riders, it is ripe for an accident.

The other day I camped out at the crosswalk from 5:00-6:00 pm and filmed about 16 pedestrian crossings when cars were around. I put them together and, with very little editing, made this video:

This was not a “best of” video, but simply what you see at every rush hour here. After bemoaning the miserable state of our most popular Beacon crossing, I started to think about how the pedestrian infrastructure at all the other light rail stations in Seattle seemed satisfactory and even exemplary. Yesterday I decided to take a ride on the light rail and check out each station and then do a little compare and contrast with what we have been dealt. The results from this foray are here:

Apparently Sound Transit is only responsible for putting things back the way they found them, and Seattle’s Complete Streets Ordinance—which requires attention to pedestrian safety among other things—does not apply to them when they do their repave this summer. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been working with Beacon BIKES! to improve this crossing, but they have limited funds. I am suggesting that Sound Transit work with us and SDOT to improve this crossing as part of the repave this summer. If you want to get involved please email me at dsahearn@gmail.com, and attend the next Beacon BIKES! meeting on Monday, June 21, at 6:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

Be Safe!

(This is Dylan’s first post for the Beacon Hill Blog. Thanks, Dylan! — Editor.)

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