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Harrison Street is unsafe for pedestrians

  • Written by Richard Lind & Bill Moore

Shortly following our move to Friday Harbor from Seattle in late 2015, we began writing letters to the mayor and town council regarding the unsafe pedestrian conditions on Harrison Street.  Harrison Street is a residential arterial connecting the main part of Friday Harbor to the rest of the island via Turn Point Road and Pear Point Road.  It is one of the very few residential arterial streets on the island to have no sidewalks running the full length of the street.  Children, dogs, cats, and other beings reside and play in the neighborhood.   Several stretches are poorly lit, creating even more hazardous conditions, especially during the dark season.

The posted speed limit on Harrison is 20 MPH, but very few drivers observe it. There are residents and construction workers who park partially on the street, making the road narrower and even more hazardous.  On Friday, October 20th, a large deer was struck in broad daylight in the 500 block by what we assume was a speeding vehicle.  We cannot get the image of that distressed animal out of our minds.  Later that week, one of us observed a close call between a pedestrian and a speeding vehicle on the curve in the 200-300 block of the street.  Additionally, drivers have all too frequently not obeyed the do not enter sign prohibiting traffic from driving up the hill to Harrison from Turn Point Road.

Following our letter to the mayor and town council in 2022, we received a cordial telephone call from the mayor.  We were told to expect a letter describing plans for the street, but no letter was received.   Several viable solutions have been proposed by neighbors.  Design issues could most likely be solved by a skilled and imaginative street engineer. 

Recently, a deer was killed and a pedestrian was nearly struck on Harrison Street.  Is it going to take the death of a human being to get something done about speeding and other unsafe conditions on Harrison (a residential arterial street)?  When driving on Harrison, as with any street, please be mindful of your speed.  In all likelihood, you will make it to your destination in good time.  But one careless speeder could make sure that a potential victim never makes it to theirs.

Richard Lind & Bill Moore