Skip to content
Musings on digital media, urbanization and politics from Seattle, Wash.

Traffic safety is public safety

mini world
ke wen, Unsplash
February 16, 2023

A child was hit by a car in front of a school in my neighborhood yesterday morning. Full details aren’t known, but it was serious enough that emergency services were called and the Seattle Fire Department responded.

It’s a cool and funky little school, too. It’s dated, yeah, almost worryingly so, but out in the expansive field next to the similarly-expansive playground, you can look out and see the Puget Sound. It’s less than a half-mile away from the water as the gull flies.

And the view from a little spot up above an old rusted backstop is exquisite.


But this is a part of town that’s north of 85th Street, so sidewalks aren’t standard. Out in front of the school, on 24th, only one side of the street has a sidewalk. It switches to the other side as you proceed north up a hill.

The details of this aren’t especially important. While not always involving children, this type of tragedy happens every day in Seattle. Follow Ryan Packer on Twitter for a sense for the scale—multiple people walking or wheeling are sent to the hospital about every day.

The sentiment expressed in the title of this post is one I’ve alluded to in relation to a few subjects, but it bears stating all on its own, and with increasing frequency.

Traffic safety is public safety.

As an aside, I do appreciate the Times approaching this from the angle of “Hey, our readership may care more about this more if it’s about property and not people.”

Anyway, here’s Mudede:

The question we must ask is, despite the frequency of such crashes, and the real financial threat they pose to the very small businesses that Seattle’s right endlessly claims are fleeing the city (along with cops), is this: Why do they generate no outrage? None. Zero. Zip. […]

Now imagine for a moment if Seattle Times reported that homeless people destroyed, on average, “buildings and homes… every 3½ days.” And this destruction often runs “into the tens of thousands and [can] sideline businesses for months.” My god. We would never hear the end of it. It would pump millions into political campaigns. Sara Nelson would find herself surrounded by her kind on the Council.

Seriously, imagine if a homeless person in crisis clocked a seven-year-old in front of an elementary school yesterday. It’d be the biggest story in Seattle all year. It’d define the entire fall election.

A car sends multiple people to the hospital every day—and even the politicians who say they care so much about “public safety” won’t touch this.

This doesn’t count.

Well, the electorate needs to make this count. If you don’t care about kids getting hit by cars, about anyone getting hit by cars—you gotta go. Elected or not.

We know the solutions to this stuff. We know we can move quickly.

Stop getting people hurt or killed.