Michael Harthorne, formerly of the Ballard News Tribune and now working for KOMO, posted an article on the Komo News Ballard Blog about a recent SDOT report on pedestrian/vehicle fatalities in Seattle over the last 5 years, titled “Mapping Seattle’s deadliest streets”.
14th Ave NW is unfortunately on this map and lists the only fatality in Ballard. This post brought my thoughts back to the tragic accident that happened a little over 3 years, on December 13, 2007 when Agnes Meserole was hit by a vehicle while posting a letter at the mailbox installed in the median at NW 58th and 14th Ave NW. Although I had never met Agnes, she’s a daily reminder to me as to why I continue working so hard to make our East Ballard community stronger and safer. Agnes’ death brought the community together to move the mailbox out of the median. It’s new location around the corner may not be as convenient, but we know it’s much safer. The community also came together to work with SDOT to implement crossing improvements at the intersection at NW 58th, including an elevated crosswalk and curb bulb extensions to slow down traffic at the intersection. The crosswalk was dedicated to Agnes in 2008. The median improvements took away a few parking spaces, but now drivers are more aware of pedestrians at the intersection.
Today, the community is a step closer to transforming the full length of 14th Ave NW from NW 65th to the ship canal into a Park Boulevard. I know there will be detractors to this change, because of potential conveniences lost. I’m just hoping that as we embark on our conversations with the Parks Department, SDOT, and members of our community in designing the Park Boulevard, that we go into this process with an open mind. This project has the potential to bring greatness and lasting goodness to our community, but only if we can be willing to sit back and look at the big picture. This may mean giving up certain conveniences that may seem impossible to live without today. I know I’m ready to do this for the chance to keep 14th Ave NW off of any future maps of Seattle’s deadliest streets. Are you?