Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reader Comments On Speeding Drivers On NE 41st Street Hill And SDOT Contact For Concerns

Bottom of dangerous hill looking east on  NE 41st Street

We have received many comments after our post Tuesday about a dog being hit and killed on NE 41st Street, near the very steep hill.

One neighbor, submitted his concerns and comments to Jim Curtin, SDOT Traffic Safety Coordinator, over a month ago, and Jim has just told the neighbor and the Blog Staff that the evaluation of the site will finally be available on Monday. 

Jim added: 
Please let me know if you know of any recent collisions at this location since crash information is one factor we take into account during our evaluation. There is a rather significant lag time between the incident and the collision report being sent to SDOT so any additional information you can provide would be helpful. To date, we show one collision at this intersection in 2013 that occurred on June 24th.
Jim Curtin can be reached by email at or by phone 206-684-8874.

In addition, the Laurelhurst Community Club, (LCC), has been working on this major safety hazard for many years. SDOT installed a reduced speed sign and a yellow blinking light in the past to calm speeds.
"More obviously needs to be done to address the problem,"Jeannie Hale, LCC President told us. 

She said that the two worst accidents she is aware of were at the top of the hill - due to lack of visibility. In one accident, one car was totaled and another accident was at the bottom due due to excessive speeds, in which a car was proceeding along 42nd Avenue NE and was hit by a speeding car proceeding on NE 41st Street.

A neighbor who lives two blocks from the dangerous intersection said that he has heard numerous accidents from his house. He told us that about five years ago an SUV with five Chinese students in was  heading south on 43rd Avene NE and was hit broadside by a full sized sedan heading east fast up NE 41st Street.  There was a lot of damage to the SUV and he believes a broken arm to one of the students.

Another accident he remembers is one aout ten years ago that involved a plumbers truck heading west down NE 41st Street and hit a car crossing the intersection at 43rd Avenue NE, which ended up being totalled. And the impact was so great that pipes on top of the plumbers truck flew down the hill at least 300 feet.

The neighbor also recalls at least five dogs and one cat that have been killed on this stretch over the years.  One kid was crossing the intersection with his dog on a leash. A car coming fast up the hill missed the kid but hit and killed the little dog.

We received these comments from those who travel in that area:
I have lived on NE 41st St. for over 40 years and have tried many times to get the city to install speed bumps or traffic calming always with the same response...NO Their reason is because this street is a main arterial and emergency vehicles need access. I do believe every road leading to Villa Academy has speed bumps so what would happen if there was ever an urgent need response required there?
This past June, we came across a car wreck at the cross streets of NE 41st Street and 43rd Avenue NE. Ever since we moved in almost two years ago, I frequently cross NE 41 Street from 43rd Avenu NE. Every time I cross that street I'm thankful I made it safely. I often thought it might take an accident for the City to put stop signs on the 45th Steet  sides, both east and west. Perhaps the unfortunateaccident will make this happen. 
A concern I have for that intersection is during the School year. The public middle school kids catch their bus at the NE between 7-7:20. I have often seen many students wait until speeding cars, coming from the east, heading west, are traveling too fast to slow down. They come flying down that hill. And many cars come flying up the steep hill, coming from the west, heading east. The speed limit coming up the hill is 15MPH (I believe) and I know many are going much faster than that. During most of the school year the morning is dark, making it really hard to see the kids cross the street.
SDOT now has a new kind of speedbump called a Speed Table that targets inattentive or impaired drivers while leaving the rest of us without "speedbump bruises" They can also be installed on arterials or transit streets prevously off limits for speedbumps. 
So sorry to hear about the dog who was hit. My husband commented Tuesday about 2 police cars, with sirens going, driving very fast on 42nd Avenue NE between NE 45th Street and NE 41st Street. There is no way someone coming down 41st Avenue NE at the usual rate of speed could have stopped in time after hearing the sirens (probably blocked to some extent by the hill) or seeing the car(s).     

We again have problems turning into the alley behind that block of 42nd Ave NE and Talaris.  The lowest branches of the trees in the center median of 41st Avenue NE block the view up the hill necessary for a safe left turn. These trees were pruned slightly last year, but branches grow longer and are weighted down by leaves this time of year. It's a steep hill, and some folks drive so fast that their cars hit bottom on the flat part.  I think the speed limit should be clocked on that hill. 
I was so sad to read about Jacopo getting hit by a car on NE 41st. We live on that street too, and speeders have always been a problem -- from awful to outrageous. I contacted the City about six-eight weeks ago about conducting a traffic study after talking with a neighbor on the northside of 41st, west of us.  The usual blah-blah from the city in response (arterial, etc), but the City did promise to study us within the next year. This is long overdue.
This past June, one of my labs escaped from my back yard and was hit by a young lady speeding east up NE 41st Street. The dog wasn't killed but I spent the whole night looking for her, together with several neighbors, finally finding her in the park. She had to have 7 stitches in her head and 4 on her front leg. She was only 2 years old and was never the same again. Very sad. 
I really believe the very safest solution for the NE 41st. Street and 43 Avenue NEcrossing is to install one large Convex Traffic Mirror (About 24" diameter) on the NW corner and another one on the SW corner. This would enable drivers heading south or north on 43rd Avenue NE to check the mirrors and see what is coming up the hill. I also think we should install stop signs on ALL FOUR corners. This will help slow down all the speeding drivers traveling up and down NE 41st Street. The police would have a field day giving out tickets on NE 41st Street. If the SDOT say NO then I really would like to hear what they suggest. Their explanation concerning "no speed bumps" is ridiculous. If there ever a fire at Villa Academyevery road leading to that facility has speed bumps so the reasoning of emergency vehicles needing clear access goes right out the window.  
I have lived on NE 41st Street for 40 years so I do feel i"m somewhat of an expert when it comes to traffic flow in this part of Laurelhurst. The speed limit on this stretch of NE 41st is 15 mph and there are several signs warning drivers of hidden driveways as they head west down the hill from the park. Only about 10% ever obey the speed limit. It is a wonder no children have been run over though a collie dog was killed about 20 years ago by a stop-and-run driver heading west. 
The couple we bought our house from on NE 41st Street in 1968, kept a first aid kit in the front closet to treat those injured in accidents at that intersection. I myself was deposed in a court case in which a young woman riding on the back of a motorbike was hit by a car going north across 43rd Avenue NE. She had stopped but the motorcycle was going so fast she couldn’t see them coming. If there had been a mother pushing a stroller across, they all would have been dead. I refused to testify on behalf of the motorcycle kid as he was speeding. I also remember a driver who drove down 41st (westbound) so fast he lost control, and took out all the trees on our parking strip.  I could go on. This hill has been a problem now and since before we moved in. 

Here are two of many past Blog posts published about this area of the neighborhood:

Drivers Rolling Through Stop Signs (2/12)


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