Neighbors demand action after car kills elderly pedestrian

SEATTLE - Relatives of a man hit and killed by a car took part in a march they believe will save the lives of other pedestrians.

"When this happened to him, I prayed you know," says Darlene Saxby. Her uncle, 69-year-old James St. Clair, was killed while crossing 35th Ave. SW in the High Point neighborhood.

She says her hope is "that (what) happened to my uncle will help make those changes that need to be desperately brought to this neighborhood."

Saxby spoke as about three dozen people gathered at the intersection where St. Clair died December 30th. The group of residents, activists and city officials walked down the sidewalk, many holding photos of St. Clair.

"I felt so horrible when I found out he'd been run over," says resident and marcher Betty Tester. "This road is so dangerous. People drive too fast and it can be almost impossible to cross the street."

The organizer of today's march says St. Clair's death is the fifth fatal accident along 35th Ave. since 2006.

"It's a place that really needs some focus and city attention," says Cathy Tuttle. She is executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, an organization that advocates for safe streets for people and cars.

Tuttle and others who marched met at a nearby community center afterwards to brainstorm about possible safety improvements along the four-lane road.

"It's a low income community with lots of elders, lots of vulnerable people, lots of children," she says. "They need to know they can cross the street without risking their lives."

A representative of the Seattle Department of Transportation told participants the city will consider conducting a thorough traffic review of the corridor.

All options are on the table, he said, including the possibility of more traffic signals and a turn lane. More frequent police patrols would also help. He said another important element is a campaign to raise awareness about traffic safety in the area.

James St. Clair's niece wants the city to follow through with safety improvements.

"I just hope my uncle's death is not in vain," Saxby says. "I think it would make him happy if he knew his sacrifice could help others."