City plans to install pedestrian upgrades at accident intersection

May 1, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

The city plans to add a flashing sign to alert motorists to pedestrians at a problematic intersection along Newport Way Northwest.

Police said a hit-and-run motorist struck and killed Troy Scholzen’s dogs, Jake and Yogi, during a morning walk March 12. The motorist struck the dogs in the crosswalk at Newport Way Northwest and Northwest Oakcrest Drive as a nearby pedestrian signal blinked.

Now, city officials plan to add another blinking sign to alert motorists, so drivers using Newport Way Northwest in both directions see the signs. Crews also plan to install reflective markers adjacent to the crosswalk to alert motorists.

Installation is expected to occur before late spring.

Scholzen’s partner, Jon Francis, said a lower speed limit for the road should accompany the additions.

“If they’re going 40, 42, 45, whatever it is, I don’t believe there’s enough time for them to stop, regardless of flashing lights,” Francis said. “If the speed limit is lowered, there’s more ability for a response time, either from the person in the crosswalk or from the driver.”

Mayor Ava Frisinger outlined the changes last month in a letter to Scholzen and Francis.

Traffic engineers conducted a speed study along Newport Way Northwest in the process to set a speed limit for the area. The study determined 85 percent of motorists using the road drove at no more than 43 to 44 mph in the posted 40 mph zone.

Frisinger cited the statistics in the letter to Francis and Scholzen.

“In addition, our professional experience indicates that lowering speeds below the level supported by an engineering study does not reduce the speed at which people drive and actually may increase it,” she continued.

In the days after the accident in the intersection, a memorial sprouted as neighbors dropped off flowers and created signs. Hart Sugarman, a resident along Northwest Oakcrest Drive, called on the city to lower the posted speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph along Newport Way Northwest near the neighborhood.

Francis said the effort to increase pedestrian safety in the neighborhood is ongoing.

“I’m still going to push for a lower speed limit,” he said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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Comments

6 Responses to “City plans to install pedestrian upgrades at accident intersection”

  1. kellyp on May 2nd, 2012 1:52 pm

    Those sort of blinking cross walks are needs in the highlands as well.

  2. kevin on May 2nd, 2012 2:55 pm

    Kudos to Issaquah PD for the radar/speed efforts in this area lately. Good to see them as I pedal Newport Way to work.
    I would support a general speed reduction along Newport Way, if only to curtail the sheer volume of drivers using this arterial at rush hour to avoid I-90. Too many are going 50+ and often too close to the poorly designed bike lane. The little curb separators create a very limited opportunity for cyclists to get away from traffic, and create a pedestrian area that isn’t easily cleaned by a street sweeper. That said, Newport Way is 100% in Issaquah proper than in the King County and Bellevue sections.

  3. Gabe on May 3rd, 2012 4:24 pm

    Kevin: how do you know they’re going 50+? Are you equipped with radar? If not, would you let me know your technique for figuring out the cars that are going 50+ versus 40?

    I do agree that the curb separators are stupid. After the last storm, it was a long while before the trees and other debris was cleared from that lane, causing bikers to have to go outside of the curbed areas to pass. I wonder what level of protection they offer on a road with a speed limit of 40. It seems that an out-of-control car would hop those curbs and keep going.

    I’m not from the Pac NW area and I see a serious problem with the typical pedestrian attitude. I’m not sure if it was displayed by this individual or not. I see so few pedestrians LOOK BOTH WAYS before crossing the street! Yes, pedestrians legally have the right of way (from what I’m told) but it means little if you attempt to take the right of way and the driver of the car is distracted. Flesh versus metal isn’t a fair competition.

    I am glad that the City decided not to lower the speed limit. I live on this road and I don’t want to drive slower than 40!

  4. bryan on May 3rd, 2012 10:24 pm

    sad – this is all happening because of the loss of some treasured dogs. what would the city do if a person was hurt or killed there? it gives one pause.

  5. kevin on May 4th, 2012 10:32 am

    Take it easy Gabe, attacking my methodology, or lack of one doesn’t change the reality of the traffic on that road. Anyone that’s driven a car for any period of time becomes quiet adept at estimating speed. But yeah, I carry one of these with me at all times

    http://www.amazon.com/Pocket-Radar-Personal-Speed/dp/B003IM6YAM

  6. Sally on May 4th, 2012 9:26 pm

    There never will be traffic speed control in Issaquah. The city is not so inclined, IPD does not care enough to work at it, people want it their way to go the speed they want without concern for others and if no human is killed all of it will stay status quo.
    If you want to speed up to 35 miles/hr over the limit my street is open from beginning to end. The city won’t clear blind left hand turns because somehow that seems to “slow people down”. Doesn’t equate but that goes with “no one has been killed up there yet”, so in spite of the horrendous thoughtless deaths of two dogs, the extreme sadness of the owner and the dangers on the road, please don’t expect anything. As for those “not from the Pac. NW”, I am sure you know best, but the problem is speed on OUR roads, not how perfect your previous home was.

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