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New traffic safety features on Juanita Dr and 68th

Sept. 14 potluck to feature City Manager Rob Karlinsey explaining what they were thinking

New traffic research shows that adding complexity to the roadway increases driver awareness resulting in improved safety.

If you've driven on Juanita Dr recently, you have noticed the periodic narrowed lanes, and center medians and bus medians that may have had you thinking, "what were they thinking?" Looking at the changes through the eyes of a driver it all looks like the design is intentionally trying to slow traffic flow, not make it smoother car traffic. And you'd be right.

Come to the Sept. 14 potluck to hear Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey explain the thinking behind the advanced safety enhancements to the Juanita Dr./68th St. corridor.

The voter-approved Walkways & Waterways projects finishing up this year are primarily aimed at improved SAFETY for pedestrians and wheeled commuters. According to an article in the Kenmore News, City Manager Rob Karlinsey says the design was based on the latest research on traffic safety.

Inspired by the 2014 tragic deaths of Inglemoor High students Caleb Shoop and Sarah Paulson, who were killed within a week of each other while walking in marked crosswalks, city traffic engineers based their safety improvements on studies that have shown that increasing the complexity of a roadway increases driver attentiveness. When drivers are too comfortable, meaning the road is clear and there is little impeding their progress, drivers are in what is called System 1 thinking. Drivers are in effect on autopilot, not wholly engaged in driving.

However when there is increased complexity in the roadway, an intersection or traffic light or bus median, drivers switch into what is called System 2 thinking. They are much more attentive, they slow down and pay more attention to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. And that saves lives.

As our transportation choices increase and more people begin using alternative modes of transportation aside from cars, our thinking needs to change to accommodate those transportation choices.

Join us Sept. 14 for a potluck at the Kenmore Community Club to hear Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey talk about the latest traffic engineering research behind the advanced safety features being built into the Juanita Dr./68th St. corridor.

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