How to Control Speeding in Your Seattle Neighborhood

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.

A persistent problem residents and local traffic officials face is the public perception of speeding in Seattle's neighborhoods. According to both state law and the Seattle Municipal Code, the speed limit on non-arterial (neighborhood) streets is 25 mph (20 mph in marked school zones). In residential areas, fast-moving traffic can be noisy, endanger pedestrians and children playing outside, and a threaten all who live there. If your family member was hit by a motor vehicle traveling too fast in your neighborhood, you can contact Max Meyers Law to begin filing a pedestrian accident claim.

Resident complaints are usually accompanied by suggested solutions such as more stop signs. But traffic officials conclude that for the most part, they don't work as envisioned because they are frequently violated and tend to increase speeding between stop signs. Often this news can create confrontations between neighborhood citizens and local governments.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has created a Neighborhood Traffic Control Program that offers a variety of ways for members of the public to participate in the speeding solution in their neighborhoods, and help make them safer.

One solution that has gained traction in the past few years is traffic circles that essentially force all drivers to yield to traffic on their left and eliminates the need for stop signs at some neighborhood intersections. SDOT receives many requests for new neighborhood traffic circles each year.

Neighborhood Speed Monitoring

Another solution is SDOT’s “Traffic Calming Program;” which requires dedicated participation by neighborhood residents. After conducting a brief neighborhood assessment to determine if it is a good fit for the program, SDOT will establish one and provide residents of details for their participation. 

The first step involves citizens taking part in Neighborhood Speed Monitoring of individually assigned residential avenues. This initiative requires two-citizen teams to record data of vehicles traveling in their neighborhoods using a DOT provided radar gun for one week; then record the data on the provided forms.

The information collected includes:

  • Date and time
  • Direction the vehicle is traveling
  • Vehicle license number
  • Brief description of the vehicle (green sedan, red SUV, etc.)
  • Measured speed

 

After the DOT compiles the data from all neighborhood monitors, it determines what – if any – non-arterial (residential) Physical Traffic Calming Measures need to be engaged.

Possible traffic calming measures include the following.

  • Installation of a traffic circle
  • Installation of chicanes: a series of several curb bulbs to slow traffic by creating a narrower roadway.
  • Speed Humps
  • Speed Cushions
  • Radar Speed Signs which tell drivers their speed
  • Rechanneling residential streets: which essentially converts a four-lane neighborhood street to a three-lane: with the middle becoming a turn lane

 

There is also an Arterial Traffic Calming Program for more heavily traveled streets that mostly works the same way as a Neighborhood Calming Program. Anyone can request traffic calming for a neighborhood or arterial street by calling SDOT Neighborhood Traffic Operations at (206) 684-0353, or sending them an email at [email protected].

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