The City of Bothell kicked off its Crosswalk Flashing Lights program with a little celebration on Sept. 13.
The new program for pedestrian-activated flashing lights at unsignalized intersections and mid-block crosswalks near schools is funded by the Safe Streets and Sidewalks levy voters approved in November 2016.
The celebration at 35th Avenue Southeast and 214th Place Southeast in front of Canyon Creek Elementary and Skyview Middle School featured speakers from the Northshore School District and Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr. Students from Canyon Creek Elementary were also in attendance and demonstrated how the new signals work.
“We’re here today to celebrate another important step in student safety,” Duerr said. “When we were developing the Safe Streets and Sidewalks levy, we heard loud and clear that parents are concerned about the safety of their students walking to and from school. Your Bothell City Council and staff share that concern.”
The city has installed 10 solar-powered flashing lights at five locations, including one at 35th Avenue Southeast and 214th Place Southeast. The city plans to install five more in 2018.
Pedestrians can activate the flashing lights by hitting a button. Duerr added that pedestrians still need to look both ways before crossing.
“Studies have shown that the lights increase the number of drivers who yield to pedestrians at crosswalks,” Duerr said. “These lights are a great, low-cost way to improve student safety and safety for all pedestrians.”
City traffic engineer Jamal Mahmoud, who has been responsible for designing, ordering and figuring out where to place the signals, said the signal at 35th Avenue Southeast and 214th Place Southeast wasn’t originally in the city’s scope for the new program, but Mahmoud had heard from many parents about how unsafe the intersection was.
Mahmoud said he visited the intersection before the pedestrian improvements were made. He said parents had to walk into the street to stop cars so children could safely cross.
“I felt like I had to do something,” he said.
Mahmoud needed to find more funding to secure the light at this intersection, so he went to Snohomish County. He was able to secure a $150,000 loan to help pay for the signal.
The signal at this intersection cost $25,000, but that cost also included work done to the sidewalks.
Flashing signals have also been installed near Frank Love Elementary at Fourth Avenue West and 220th Street Southwest and Fourth Avenue West and 218th Street Southwest; near Crystal Springs Elementary at Ninth Avenue Southeast and 216th Street Southeast; and near Canyon Park Middle School at 23rd Avenue Southeast and 234th Place Southeast.
Coming next year, flashing lights will be installed near Heritage Christian Academy, St. Brendan School and Maywood Hills Elementary at 100th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 200th Street; near Sammamish River at Waynita Way Northeast and Valhalla Way; near University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College at Beardslee Boulevard and Northeast 185th Street; and near Canyon Park Middle School at 19th Avenue Southeast and 232nd Street Southeast and 232nd Street Southeast and 20th Avenue Southeast.
In addition to the levy, University of Washington contributed about 50 percent of the design and construction of the future flashing light at Beardslee Boulevard and Northeast 185th Street.
For more information about the nine-year levy, visit www.ci.bothell.wa.us/989/Safe-Streets-Sidewalks.