- About Us
Accidents prompt Redmond resident to ask for 'Deer Crossing' signs
Although certain parts of the Eastside have been designated as high-density areas and the region’s natural environment has been altered to accommodate this growth, the local humans are still sharing space with the local animals.
And when the two worlds meet, it can be dangerous — for either party.
In the span of two weeks, the cities saw two car accidents that killed two deer along the city line.
The first accident occurred on July 25 in the 2600 block of West Lake Sammamish Parkway Northeast in Redmond and involved a fawn, while the second occurred on Aug. 10 in the 17100 block of Northeast 24th Street in Bellevue and involved a doe.
After the two accidents, Redmond resident Laura Spalart, who lives nearby, has become concerned about the possibility of future collisions. She said the speed limit of 35 mph is “far too high” for the narrow and winding road, which has poor visibility due to the natural overgrowth and low tree canopy.
Spalart, who has lived in the area for about 21 years altogether, said she would like to see a “Deer Crossing” sign somewhere along the road to warn drivers of the possible danger. She contacted the Washington State Department of Transportation but was told the road is out of their jurisdiction because it is city road. So she contacted both the cities of Bellevue and Redmond as well as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, she said, no agency has stepped up to do anything to mitigate.
“I think hitting a deer also poses a threat to humans,” she said about why she would like to see a sign installed. “People are killed hitting deer.”
Spalart said the addition of deer in their neighborhood has been a recent development.
“I had never seen deer until four or five years ago,” she said.
Ron Grant, interim director for the City of Redmond’s Public Works Department, said it is generally acknowledged by those in the transportation profession that “roadway warning signs are most effective when they alert the driver to an obvious danger” such as a “Curve Ahead” sign.
“The use of warning signs that alert drivers to infrequent encounters or possible situations (such as ‘Deer Crossing’ or ‘Slow Children’) do not have a consistent impact on driver behavior,” he said.
Grant said research has shown that “Deer Crossing” signs do not have a consistent impact on driver behavior or reduce deer-vehicle collisions, which is why the city and other surrounding communities do not install such signs.
He added that Redmond is an area with a lot of wildlife and “we cannot keep them from crossing roadways or predict where they may enter a roadway at any given time.”
“There are many potential areas within the city where deer may be present and it would be impossible for us to install signs at all of these locations,” Grant said. “In addition, deer are migratory and will likely move to new areas throughout the year.”
Hillary Stibbard, a traffic engineering manager for the City of Bellevue, said they work with the Department of Fish and Wildlife when it comes to placing signs regarding animal crossings. Before placing a sign, she said they will usually monitor strikes over several years to try to determine whether the area is a well-used wildlife corridor.
“Generally, we don’t sign unless there is a known migration route,” Stibbard said.
She added that another reason they pause before installing a sign is that there are federal guidelines for signs. Stibbard said they don’t want to post too many and have “sign pollution” because people will stop paying attention.
“Unfortunately, people forget about them,” she said. “They just don’t see signs.”
Stibbard couldn’t say how much a “Deer Crossing” costs, but said the price to put up a sign ranges and depends on various factors. For example, she said a memorial sign — usually located along a road where someone has died in some sort of crash — ranges from about $200-$250. She added that if they were to get a “Deer Crossing” sign for the area, the city where the sign is posted would pay for it.