Community Post

Too Many Close Calls – Rainier Ave/Franklin HS

I literally came within inches of hitting three Franklin HS kids this morning who were crossing the street in the middle of moving traffic. A van in the left-hand lane was stopped, I was in the right hand lane, and next thing you know there were three kids in front of my car. I screeched to a stop and luckily didn’t hit them, or get hit myself by the car in back of me.   

I commute to work everyday heading north on Rainier and too many times to count over the past couple years I have almost hit kids (or witnessed other cars stopping, or screeching to a stop) who are crossing Rainier Ave south of this intersection without using the overpass or cross walks. It’s a very busy traffic time of the morning, and the kids don’t even wait until there are no cars passing. They start stepping out into the street and they basically obligate the cars to stop for them. And of course, most of the time cars do stop because, who wants to hit a kid? This seems to be an issue always around the same time for me, between about 7:30 and 7:45 in the mornings. If I’m passing by here a little earlier or a little later, I don’t see the same problem. It is this specific 15 minute period of time when this seems to be an issue in the mornings.

I feel like I need to do something to let people know this is a problem.  I have called the school at least five times over the past couple of years about this. They’ve told me there’s nothing they can really do, to call the police, so I have done this as well a number of times. Once in a while the police do station someone there to monitor, and the issue improves for a while. Today (and many other days recently) there was a police officer with a radar gun two blocks south of this intersection when I almost hit these kids (two blocks south was obviously too far away to do anything about this issue).

 Today, because I had to do something more than just call, I went and was able to speak with the Vice Principal, Patricia Newton, at Franklin. She listened, and said she understood this was a big problem. But, unfortunately, I didn’t feel that she wasn’t very helpful with regard to working on any new solutions. She told me “we’ve told the kids not to do this” and “we’ve talked with the police” but told me there wasn’t anything more they can do. I asked about stationing one of their security people down there (because I remember they used to do this and this was effective), but she says they don’t have the resources and she wouldn’t promise something that they wouldn’t follow through with. Franklin High says it’s not their problem. I wonder if it will be “more of their problem” when a child or children are killed or seriously injured?

It seems terrible to wait for something terrible to happen before we respond with some action.  

0 thoughts on “Too Many Close Calls – Rainier Ave/Franklin HS

  1. Seems to me that, if you are stupid enough to step out into traffic, perhaps it’s best if you are hit by a moving vehicle. I’m just sayin.

  2. SPD would be more than happy to provide compulsory jaywalking tickets as well as complimentary punches to the jaw.

  3. Why did you post this on Central District News? This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Central District.

  4. What’s with the attitude? It’s not like she’s talking about Olympia. There’s no doubt that’s a problem intersection that’s seen plenty of drama in the past year or so. If this is something she feels strongly about fixing, what’s wrong with reaching out to others in the surrounding area for help? I’m guessing a lot of us pass through that intersection on our way in and out of the CD, so this seems like a logical place to me for her to find others with the same concern.

    I personally don’t consider Mad Valley part of the CD but I don’t attack everyone who posts something about that neighborhood on here. If you don’t have anything to contribute, then ignore the post and spare us all your grandstanding. Your hostility is getting really old on this site. Give it a rest already.

  5. Oh, thank you for speaking for everybody. This is the Central District News. There is a Rainier Valley Post. On the RVP the topic of jaywalking around Franklin and other issues of pedestrian safety come up regularly. I feel kind of sorry for you now because you seem to think things are hostile when they aren’t. You perceive attacks where there are none. And you actually wrote two paragraphs about it. That is all.

  6. I have lived on North Beacon Hill all my life, and lots of people have told me that I live in the “CD” over the years. I think of the “southend” as South Seattle, but lots of people think of it as the southern suburbs.

    As for the Franklin kids, they’re brats. (I can say that, as I went to Franklin) That pedestrian overpass was built forty some years ago to address this issue, yet there’s always been a segment of the kids who won’t use it. School lore – at least in my day – was that only white people use it (I’m not white, and I used it)

    But I agree with the administrator. There’s not a whole lot Franklin can do. Maybe if they put a 6′ chain link fence with razor wire on top down the west side of Rainier from the intersection of MLK/Rainier Ave down to S Hanford Street so that it would be more convenient to use the overpass. That’s about the only solution that I think would work.

  7. would be to put a railing on the edge of the sidewalk that the kids would have to climb over (which most wouldn’t.) they’ve done pedestian control all over europe and noteably in new york city with and easy!

  8. Your ideas of who is in the CD is interesting, but has no basis in anything but your own individual feelings.

    It’s been long hard years of work to establish the Central Area as a group of neighborhoods that are designated in city organization and laws. And, if it ‘bleeds’ over to friendly interchange on the ‘other’ side of boundaries, then that only enhances our ability to network and deal with local issues, as the circle of concern any one of us has is not necessarily bounded by a straight line.

    Franklin is on the edge and many of our residents deal with that intersection. The light rail station planned for I-90 will be something that some, maybe not YOU, CD folks will care about.

  9. You won’t win with Jennifer MLK, in her words she isn’t here to ‘play’. Notice her negative vote count, it’s best to just ignore her like the teacher’s voice on Charlie Brown, it’s just noise.

  10. or perhaps we could look at redesigning the intersection and the transit access so that kids getting off the bus southbound would have an easier way to get to school. That overpass is enormous and very inefficient; teenagers often think they’re invincible. The combination is fraught with peril, and all the security guards and police officers in the world are only going to make so much of a difference. Railings are one approach, but that’s basically telling pedestrians they are unimportant.

  11. A cross walk would be a radical idea… Seattle police routinely pop up conducting traffic / peds at area schools, as well as making sure the shoppers downtown cross (or don’t cross) safely. 30 minutes 2x per day, helping kids get to school safely?

  12. I’ve lived in the CD for nearly 50 years. When I was a kid the “CD” started right about where the Hop In Grocery is in Montlake (i.e., right about where the poor people’s houses began). Now Montlake is all gentrified and no one remembers that back in the day the police would hardly come there at night, and as late as 1982 I could not get yellow cab to bring me home to 29th and John at 2am on a Saturday night. t was just considered too awful being in “The Seedy” and all. I never heard the term “Madison Valley” until I was grown. There was a time when it was called Coon Holler by various racists and by the kids at the North End high school I was forcibly bussed to. I also never heard of Squire Park or Judkins Park as actual neighborhood names when I was a kid. It was all just part of the CD. The CD extended, in the minds of those I grew up with, right down to Rainier. If someone lived on 24th and Jackson they were definitely a CD kid. All the dividing up of the area in to little named neighborhoods doesn’t change the fact that it’s all still the CD in the minds of people from here. Jackson street’s problems are the same as Union’s, and for many years were the same as Madison’s. Remember the house on 23rd and John that for years and years had a toilet seat on the front? The whole ridge there was full of dilapidated wrecks of houses, and now it’s “lower Capitol Hill.” The labeling of a certain area as “the CD” while shrinking that area is telling, especially since the areas that were shrunk right out of it are now very pricey. Real estate folks don’t want to call certain areas “The CD” but they still are, despite the fact that you can now get a cab home at night.

  13. @good lord y’all

    all i can say is amen to that. So much of your words ring true and people should remember that what is the lower Capitol Hill today is going to be called something different in another 20 plus years.

  14. Every time the cops try to do anything about the jaywalking there, like actually write a ticket, a near riot ensues. God forbid they try to arrest anyone there, then you’ve got wig snatching and shoving and everyone filming hoping that someone does something worthy of selling the tape to the media. Good luck with changing anything at or near that intersection.