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Seattle Awarded $25.6 million ‘Safe Streets’ Grant by USDOT for Underserved Neighborhoods 

Projects enhance safety for all travelers in Rainier Valley, SoDo, Downtown, and U District and advance Vision Zero goal to prevent serious injuries and deaths on Seattle streets by 2030 

SEATTLE – The City of Seattle was selected today by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) for a competitive federal grant to fulfill the Biden Administration’s transportation pledge of safer streets and roads for all. The expected grant amount of $25.6 million builds traffic safety projects in underserved neighborhoods with higher rates of fatal and serious injury crashes and lower historic investment. This federal funding, in addition to $5.1 million in City funds, advances our Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. 

“President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, and our entire federal delegation share our One Seattle commitment to ensuring every person can travel safely– no matter how they get around. This ‘Safe Streets’ grant means we will accelerate efforts to improve and innovate our sidewalks and streets, especially in underserved and disproportionately impacted communities. From calming traffic on high-crash streets to helping families safely walk and bike to school, we must do everything we can to reverse the heartbreaking trend of people being injured on our streets. We’re grateful for this partnership and the significant resources that will go toward keeping people safe,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said. 

This grant will fund safety projects in the Rainier Valley, SoDo, Downtown, and U District neighborhoods. Proposed improvements include:  

  • new sidewalks  
  • traffic calming tools like speed cushions 
  • flashing beacons to help people cross the street 
  • ADA curb ramps and curb bump-outs 
  • protected bicycle lanes 

 “Community members have shown me many locations where they want safety improvements;  this grant will enable SDOT to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and signals using a Safe Systems approach. Thanks to the investment of our federal partners in the Biden Administration and USDOT, we can focus these safety enhancements on the communities most in need – Rainier Valley, Sodo, Downtown, and the University District, making our streets safer for all,” SDOT Director Greg Spotts said. 

The USDOT developed its Safe Streets and Roads for All program in light of recent trends showing higher-than-expected crash and traffic fatality rates in recent years. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) was awarded the competitive grant and distinguished itself by presenting projects that can be built sooner rather than using the new funds for longer-term planning efforts.  

SDOT’s grant application included a map and a list of proposed safety projects. More than 90% of the proposed projects are within underserved community census tracts in Seattle.  

The grant funds projects that use a Safe System approach embedded in the new National Roadway Safety Strategy. This model emphasizes roadway design strategies that have been proven to lead to slower and safer vehicle speeds. The safety projects will be primarily focused on people walking, rolling, and biking in underserved communities citywide, and include providing greater support for people with disabilities or other mobility challenges. Most proposed projects are on arterial streets with the highest number of severe crashes, serious injuries, and fatal collisions.  

By focusing on high-impact strategies with a particular emphasis on the most vulnerable travelers, primarily in underserved communities, SDOT is continuing its commitment to the Transportation Equity Framework. Applying these proven measures in the areas of highest need improves safety for all travelers across the city. 

The 2023 City budget also directs $8.3 million to projects to make it safer to walk, roll, and bike to school and dedicates $1 million to replace plastic poles with concrete barriers on protected bike lanes in Council District 2.