'Knowing what happened here is just such a tragedy': Safety upgrades called for following woman hit and killed
SEATTLE - The intersection where a student from India was hit and killed by police on Monday night, is part of a long envisioned walking and cycling corridor.
The Thomas Street Redefined Project has been in the works since 2013 but Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell cut more than $2 million from it last year.
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been in support of this project and is familiar with the issues at Dexter and Thomas where Jaahnavi Kandula died.
"Knowing what happened here is just such a tragedy," said Gordon Padelford, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.
Padelford says concrete islands, along with trees are part of the upgrades slated for this intersection.
"There are already some temporary upgrades here but more definitely needs to be done,"said Padelford.
These upgrades narrow the distance people have to cross, and Padelford believes that in the final design, more will be done to make it an even safer crossing.
He says Dexter/Thomas would have been the first protected intersection in the city.
When we asked Mayor Harrell about removing funding from Thomas Street Redefined, he sent us this statement:
Facing a significant decline in revenues funding transportation projects, along with a $64 million drop off in Real Estate Excise Tax resources forecasted over two years, staff at the City were forced to make exceptionally difficult choices to prioritize, rethink, and reduce funding for a wide array of safety and infrastructure projects. The Thomas Street investments were reduced in the proposed budget, removing $2.2 million of $5.5 million from the project in response to the falling revenue forecast, including reductions in Real Estate Excise Tax, Commercial Parking Tax, and other transportation revenues. No additional funding for the project was restored by the Council during the amendment and ratification process.
The budget continues to fund $3.3 million for the Thomas Street project, including $2.4 million in City Light resources and $821,000 of Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program (LCLIP). Following approval of the budget, the Mayor’s Office has directed City departments to reevaluate how the project should best move forward, what improvements can be made with the current budget, and what further steps should be taken to improve safety along the corridor should additional resources become available.
Right now there's no set date on when Thomas Street Redefined will be finished but groups like Seattle Neighborhood Greenways just hope it gets completed.
"It doesn't have full funding at this point but it's a real key walking connection between South Lake Union and Uptown, and we need to make sure this protected intersection is fully constructed," said Padelford.