Seattle’s Walkability Score Does Not Necessarily Mean Seattle Streets Are Safer

Posted on May 16, 2016

The Walk Score neighborhood assessment app has named Seattle the eighth most walkable city in the United States. With a walkability score of 73, the city layout and infrastructure make walking a convenient way to run errands and go about daily life. However, this high score has nothing to do with walking safety.

Walkability Score Is About Convenience, Not Safety

Walk Score ranks cities and neighborhoods as "walkable" using a 100-point scale. A score between 70 and 89 means residents can complete most errands without a car. The lower an area's score, the more car-dependent you should expect to be if you move to that city.

Neighborhood assessments and even real estate listings use these listings. They encourage potential residents to move to areas based on how easy it is to get along without a car. What these scores do not address is how safe it is to walk these communities.

Fortunately, Seattle Ranks Highly for Pedestrian Safety

Seattle's numerous walking safety campaigns such as the Vision Zero Project and the Safe Routes to School Project help make it the only platinum-level community on the Walk Friendly Communities list.

Becoming a Walk Friendly Community (WFC) is an application-based process, so not all cities receive a pedestrian safety assessment. Advisory panels review the applications and put the city's statistics through a community assessment tool.

Seattle ranks highly for the quality of its infrastructure planning and quick evaluations of problem areas. WFC also applauded Seattle's outreach and education programs, especially those in schools. Another feature highlighted by the WFC is Seattle's traffic control initiatives such as the Traffic Calming Program and speed enforcement cameras in school zones.

Help Our City Stay Great By Being Pedestrian-Friendly

Pedestrians and drivers alike can help make Seattle score high not only for walking convenience but also for walking safety. Pedestrians who follow all traffic laws and cross at designated areas can help reduce the risk of jaywalking accidents. Wearing bright clothing and carrying a light while walking at night also helps improve visibility and reduces the risk of a driver not spotting you on a walk.

Drivers need to slow down and heed speed limits, especially in residential and commercial areas. Remember that you must yield to pedestrians when they are in crosswalks or other designated pedestrian areas. Driving while drunk or distracted by a smartphone also increases the risk of hitting a pedestrian, so avoid these behaviors.

If You Were Hit While Walking, Call Max Meyers Law

Even though Seattle is making strides to stay pedestrian friendly, with more people walking for health and financial reasons, the risk of pedestrian accidents will keep going up unless drivers and pedestrians both pay attention to their surroundings.

If a vehicle hit you or a loved one while walking, contact Max Meyers Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your right to recovery: 425-399-7000.

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