My comments (again) to Kirkland City Council on Vision Zero

Thank you Mayor and Council.

On September 15th, Kyle Warnick was tragically killed by a driver of a car while walking in the Kingsgate neighborhood.

 

I already did that one in 2014. Unfortunately, it’s still applicable today. On Friday, a 78-year-old woman was hit by a driver on NE 68th St. She died on Saturday.

 

In the aftermath of the 2014 tragedy, I wrote to David Godfrey, then transportation manager:

“… what are we doing to prevent the next Warnick case? Sadly, it’s coming. We don’t know how long it will be until the next, or if it will be in similar locations in Redmond, Bellevue, etc., rather than Kirkland, but right now it still seems inevitable.”

Then, 2015: Drivers crash in Bellevue and kill a toddler in a stroller on a street corner.

Last December: A 70-year-old woman on Avondale in Redmond

Last February: A 44-year-old man with a street sweeper in Bellevue ($)

Now back to Kirkland

Sadly, it’s coming.

But, here’s the thing: the primary claim of Vision Zero is that these “accidents” aren’t accidents but a predictable result of a transportation system designed to move cars at speed. We don’t need to accept death as a byproduct of mobility. Other places have shown us how to make our streets safer. Even without sacrificing mobility. The Netherlands is one of the safest places in the world to walk and bike, and they also have the happiest drivers in the world. New York City is no Amsterdam, but its pedestrian death rate is the lowest it’s been since they started measuring ($).

There are lots of engineering solutions, but we don’t have an engineering problem. We haven’t embraced Vision Zero. We don’t put safety at the top of every project, every policy, every day. So we accept death, injury, and damage. Later tonight, you’ll continue to discuss the widening of the intersection at Juanita High School.

[ed: I misread the council packet. The detail about Juanita HS was in the consent calendar so there was no discussion.]

Sadly, it’s coming.

I encourage you, no I beg you, to stop accepting death. I would like to propose a Vision Zero task force. I’ll gladly serve on it. Let’s fix this. Thank you.

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