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Pedestrian deaths are rising, but not in Seattle. Here’s why.

Published on March 13, 2019

The beginning of the Burke-Gilman Trail
Image Credit: CC A SA 3.0 unported: Wikimedia Commons: Visitor7

Across the U.S., pedestrian fatalities are increasing, according to a recent report.

That’s often due to distracted drivers and pedestrians looking at their phones. Some are high or drunk, and increasingly, they’re driving heavy, taller SUVs that strike victims at chest height, where they can do more harm. But Seattle has bucked the trend, thanks in part to strategies aimed at calming traffic and increasing safety.

Dr. Beth Ebel is a pediatrician at the University of Washington Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center. One afternoon in 2013, when she was on call, a whole family was hit by a drunk driver near Eckstein Middle School in the Wedgwood neighborhood of northeast Seattle. Ebel, who lives near Eckstein, started looking into the safety of the Northeast 75th Street, where the crash happened. “It turned out there had been many kids who had been hit by cars around the school that the principal had heard of,” Ebel said. The street had become more like a highway over time, with four lanes of traffic, and less like a neighborhood street that kids could cross safely on the way to school.

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Originally posted on KUOW by Joshua McNichols
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