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Kirkland Police: Two Pedestrians Hit by Vehicles on NE 80th in Five Days

A 53-year-old driver is facing DUI and vehicular assault charges after hitting a 66-year-old woman at 124th Avenue NE Thursday evening. Last Friday a man was hit by a car along 80th four blocks away. Both victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.

 

A 53-year-old motorist is facing DUI and vehicular assault charges after allegedly hitting a 66-year-old woman Wednesday evening at the Rose Hill intersection of NE 80th Street and 124th Avenue NE. It was the second pedestrian struck by a vehicle along NE 80th in five days.

Some residents near 80th -- along which are two public schools -- are expressing concerns about traffic safety there after the two incidents.

In the latest incident, the male driver was turning onto 124th Avenue from 80th at about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday when he struck the woman, who suffered broken ribs, said Kirkland Police spokesman Lt. Mike Murray. The woman was taken to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. Her injuries  were not considered life-threatening.

“He was eastbound on 80th and turning left onto 124th Avenue and didn’t see the gal and nailed her,” Murray said. “He got arrested for vehicular assault and was definitely intoxicated.”

On the morning of Friday, Sept. 28, at 80th and 120th Avenue just four blocks away away, a female driver failed to see a man walking through the intersection and hit him as she turned onto 80th.

The victim was thrown onto the hood of the vehicle and then to the pavement. He suffered cuts to his face and broken bones and was taken to EvergreenHealth Medical Center. His injuries were not life threatening. The driver in that case was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian.

Readers expressed alarm at the two cases and concern for safety on 80th by email and a post on the Kirkland Patch Facebook page.

One suggested that a traffic light is needed at 80th and 124th. “Corner of NE 80th and 124th Ave NE near LWHS really needs a 4-way stop signal! Drivers whip around the corner all the time,” she said in a Facebook post. “A pedestrian was hit by a truck just about an hour ago. Not the first time a pedestrian has been hit by a car on this corner!!”

Another reader emailed to say that many drivers use NE 80th as a route to bypass even busier NE 85th five blocks north. “And I’m not the only one noticing a lot of speeding (the limit is 25mph, 20mph when children are present) and aggressive and dangerous driving on 80th of late,” she wrote. “Some drivers even have the nerve to honk, flash high beams, or tailgate drivers who are actually observing the speed limit.”

Murray said Kirkland Police focus extra attention on NE 80th because Lake Washington High and Rose Hill Elementary are both along it within 10 blocks of each other, and drivers do use 80th as an alternative to 85th. But he said the two vehicle/pedestrian incidents over the last week are very different cases and coincidental.

“It’s one of the streets our officers work quite a bit,” he said. “I know it’s been studied by our (Kirkland) Public Works Department, and they’ve determined another light is not necessary. The main problem here (in the latest case) is the guy was drunk. In the other case, the lady just didn’t see the pedestrian.”

GeneL October 05, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I take a walk on NE 80th St between 132nd ave NE-120th ave NE several times a week. The most dangerous time for pedestrians attempting to use crosswalks along this stretch is the 4:45p-6:00p time period. During this time, the speeding , rush hour traffic is in full swing, especially w/b AND the drivers know the police school zone emphasis patrol is no longer present because school traffic was over around 3:30p. The intersection at 124 NE/NE 80 St is the worst. Drivers making the free right hand turn onto NE 80th from s/b 124th NE: they can't see the pedestrians walking w/b across the crosswalk because their view is blocked by cars waiting to turn e/b onto NE 80th St. A traffic control light is definitely needed.
Caron LeMay October 05, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I like speed bumps AND stop signs: They work! And they keep my foot light even when it's on the gas pedal. The law is clear: 80th St NE is a low-speed, neighborhood street. And as car drivers we must observe that 25 limit (20mph during school hours), but it's hard for many drivers to observe that law because of the topography and location of 80th St (wide and straight, close to 85th St and the I-405). How about we ask that the City of Kirkland make it easier for drivers to follow the law, by giving us a few strong traffic-slowing tools? There aren't any speed bumps and there are ZERO (four-way) stop signs on 80th all the way from NE 116th Ave to 132nd, which is the area where all these accidents occurred. How much would a couple of stop signs and some asphalt speed bumps cost? ($2000/hump, according to http://trafficcalming.org/measures/speed-humps/ ) Imagine how much of an impact a Four-way STOP sign would make - I can’t imagine too many people would be short-cutting along 80th to avoid traffic on 85th anymore,. I would think that a stop sign costs even less than a speed bump. Sooner or later someone driving will kill someone walking on this stretch of road and we’ll all wish we had made these kinds of changes sooner.
Kirkland Tony October 05, 2012 at 06:38 PM
That's a tricky road. In addition to the schools they mentioned, there's a Catholic school right near there, and a drive-thru Starbucks on 85th around 124th, and the 85th freeway onramps get severely backed up far worse than the 70th street ones, and too many drivers cutting through and then doing left turns without signalling... which both is dangerous and delays opposing-direction left turns unnecessarily. Or waiting for a minute-wide break in traffic before going. But I think the KPD does a good job of patrolling the area. It's just an area with lots of old, lots of teen and lots of distracted (by children in their cars) drivers.
Greg Johnston October 05, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Great suggestions Caron, thank you for posting them!
Greg Johnston October 05, 2012 at 10:51 PM
GeneL, I grew up on 80th, on the Redmond side of 132nd Ave, and used to walk it every day to Rose Hill Elementary, K-6. Wasn't so busy then. There was a log cabin at the intersection of 80th and 132nd Ave. This makes me realize once again how much Rose Hill has changed.

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