Shoreline students lobby city council for safer streets

Friday, May 17, 2024

A request from St Luke elementary students asks for an improved crosswalk,
a speed limit beacon and an automated speed camera 

By Oliver Moffat

At the Monday May 13, 2024 Shoreline city council meeting, students Thomas, Solomon and Isaac from St Luke, joined a growing chorus of students and parents from schools across Shoreline asking the city council to do something about Shoreline’s dangerous roads.

The eighth grader’s request comes after a school staff member was nearly run down while crossing the road in front of the school. With assistance from city staff, police and the fire department, the students measured vehicle speeds on the roads in front of St Luke where Dayton, Greenwood and 175th Street intersect.

A graphic from a 2021 Shoreline city staff report illustrates
how pedestrian fatality rates increase with vehicles speed.

In the report presented to the city council, the students found that 70% of vehicles were going above the speed limit. The students asked the city council to improve a crosswalk, install a speed limit beacon and install an automated speed camera.

The St Luke student presentation is the latest in a growing chorus of voices from children and parents from across Shoreline who want the city council to do something about traffic safety.

On May 14, Gracie and Evelyn from Girl Scout Troop 41974, who are fourth graders at Meridian Park Elementary, wrote to Shoreline Area News about traffic safety at the intersection of Meridian and 175th Street in front of their school. Parents from Meridian Park have raised safety concerns about that intersection.

Angelina Vaughn Shorecrest Sophomore asks the city council
for safety improvements on 155th street near Paramount Park 
Angelina, a Shorecrest Sophomore, has spoken in front of the council not once, but twice asking for safety improvements on 155th street near Paramount School Park where she catches the bus.

At the November 13 council meeting, Angelina told the city council, “there isn’t a blinking light for someone to signal, or a light to stop cars if they want to cross the street. 

''All we have are orange flags that usually disappear.”

Angelina returned to the city council at the April 8 meeting and again told the city council about the danger of 155th street and asked for safety improvements. 

She also told the city council the useless orange flags had disappeared. Again.

“I really hope that we can have some sort of pedestrian sign or some sort of lights there, because the orange flags and the stop signs don’t really work,” she told the city council.

According to data from WSDOT, Angelina, Thomas, Solomon, Isaac, Gracie and Evelyn are right: Shoreline’s streets have gotten more dangerous in recent years.

Shoreline’s police department recently told the city council that the number of reported traffic collisions in Shoreline has increased by 65% and Chief of Police Kelly Park warned the city council about “highly aggressive” driving on city streets.

The city restocked orange flags at the intersection on 155th street
where a Shorecrest student raised safety concerns
Photo by Oliver Moffat

As reported on KUOW and The Seattle Times, 2023 was the deadliest year for traffic fatalities in Washington State since 1990.

While neighboring cities like Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood and Seattle have moved to lower speed limits and installed automated traffic enforcement cameras, Shoreline’s city council has rejected traffic cameras and chosen to keep top speed limits at 30 mph.

The Shoreline city council voted to set top speed limits at 30 mph in 2021 after reviewing a staff report that showed when Seattle reduced speed limits from 30 mph to 25 mph the number of crashes decreased.

In 2023, the city council told staff not to install automated traffic enforcement cameras in Shoreline.

Although the city council has not moved to lower speed limits or install traffic cameras, the city has restocked the orange flags at the intersection on 155th street where Angelina crosses the street.


Anonymous,  May 17, 2024 at 8:02 AM  

It is so encouraging to see these students engage with their civic leaders. They did a wonderful job with their presentation. I wish I could have seen them present it. I hope the city council takes some action. It would be great if a city council member or two went to the schools to deliver their action plan.

Tim Guirl,  May 17, 2024 at 7:19 PM  

I sent an email to one of the City Council members a month ago about this subject. I think that the speed limit should be 25 mph near any schools. This was the reply I received from City Traffic Engineer, Kendra Dedinsky:

"Thanks for writing in with your interest in changing the speed limit on 3rd Ave NW and 8th Ave NW near Einstein Middle School. Shoreline uses studies (rather than blanket policy) to determine appropriate speed limits for arterials and conducts these studies in conjunction with industry standards with the goal of improving safety outcomes. Once studies are completed, staff brings a recommendation to Council. If speed limit changes are adopted, public outreach is conducted, and signs need to be changed. Subsequent post-implementation studies are also good practice. All this is to say that studying, legislating, and implementing new speed limits takes considerable resource, and we are not currently planning to study 3rd Ave NW or 8th Ave NW at this time. Staff will be studying Aurora Ave N, and 4 other 35 MPH roadways in 2024 and 2025. After this batch of roadways are completed, staff will begin studying 30 MPH arterial roadways (likely in 2026 based on current staff resource)."

Anonymous,  May 18, 2024 at 12:12 PM  

There is no enforced speed law. Spend one evening on 20th outside the Saltwater park and you will see multiple cars goung airborne over the useless speed bump to and from the park.

Just My Opinion May 18, 2024 at 7:10 PM  

I can echo the issues with NE 155th - and I still say if the City would assign ONE police officer to traffic enforcement /ticketing the revenue would fund new sidewalks. As someone who crosses 5th NE by the Shoreline library in the crosswalk and has to wait for multiple cars to speed by I say ! traffic cameras! motorcycle police to stop speeders! speed humps! bring back driver's training in high school...opportunities abound.

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