Campaign launched to change all Seattle intersections to 'all way walks'

SEATTLE -- A man fed up with too many close calls trying to cross Seattle streets is starting a campaign to make all intersections "all way walks."

That would allow a period of time where pedestrians could cross all ways, similar to what they can do at the West Seattle intersection of California Avenue and Alaska Street.

"Lots of vehicles, a lot of pedestrians," says campaign leader Akiva Kenny Segan. "Give the pedestrians the right of way."

Segan launched the campaign through Facebook after too many close calls trying to get to the other side.

"It happens all the time, he said. "I've been nearly hit by drivers several dozen times in the past year and a half two years."

Segan's dream of all-way walks would mean cars could never turn on a red light -- a prospect that would anger some drivers.

"If you cannot turn, it just backs up and you're gonna have a line all the way down the street," one driver said.

And Seattle's traffic engineer agrees.

"The model shows...numerous intersections downtown would go into the failure mode," said Brian Kemper with Seattle Department of Transportation.

Kemper says an independent consultant's report a few years ago concluded "all way walks" would save a pedestrian about 20 seconds in crossing time but cause significant delays for cars and buses.

"For every corridor downtown transit is on, it increases their travel time by several minutes -- per street, downtown," Kemper said.

The city acknowledges they do increase pedestrian safety to a degree, but say you need to strike a balance. They also say they are not seriously considering Segan's proposal, though he says he's got the ear of some council members.