It's a School Zone, Folks

Update: I had originally posted the info below because of an incident at Chief Sealth where two girls were struck by a car during school hours.  However, it turns out the woman who hit the girls meant to.

Allegedly there was an altercation over a dog, the woman tried to use a stun gun on one girl, couldn't catch her and then got in her car, circled the block and hit the two girls head-on.   The woman then drove off.  One girl was released from the hospital but the older victim is in critical condition.  The woman turned herself into police, claiming she felt threatened by the girls. 

End of update.

Unbelievable.  From the Times:

Mayor Mike McGinn said he expected traffic cameras near four Seattle schools to catch a lot of speeding drivers when the devices went live Nov. 1.

But almost 6,000 in less than a month?

"We were surprised," McGinn said.

Because there were so many speeders, the warning-citation period that was to end this week has been extended to Monday, Dec. 10, he said. From that day on, the registered owners of vehicles caught driving faster than 20 mph in those school zones while beacons are flashing will receive a $189 ticket in the mail.

Cameras have been installed in front of Broadview-Thomson K-8 School on Greenwood Avenue North, near Thurgood Marshall Elementary on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, Gatewood Elementary on Fauntleroy Avenue Southwest and Olympic View Elementary on Fifth Avenue Northeast.

Seattle police say the cameras are recording all day, but drivers will be ticketed for speeding only when the school-zone beacons are flashing — times when children are most likely to be walking to and from school. Like red-light cameras at some intersections, the camera shoots a picture of the license plate.

The speed-camera pilot project is scheduled to end June 30, 2013, unless the City Council decides to extend it. Before approving any more cameras, the City Council will release a report by June 7 detailing how effective the cameras have been in improving safety.

Either some people are just driving on auto-pilot or there's a lot of people out there who simply don't care.  Maybe a $200 ticket might get their attention.  


Kate Martin said…
I worked with pedestrian activists up in Broadview on this a couple of years ago and implementation is now happening. It's a disaster as far as the speeds folks travel at in that stretch of Greenwood Ave N. Bravo!
biliruben said…
When we design a road like a two-way urban highway, we shouldn't be surprised when it's treated as such.

Take out a lane, but in a turn lane in the middle, put in some curb bulbs to make it safer to cross. Then drivers might slowly start to realize that it's not actually a highway.
Anonymous said…
I agree that people should drive the speed limit, including the 20 MPH when kids are present near schools. It's not always black/white, though. In West Seattle, the sign that shows that the 20 MPH limit is in effect is not visible until you're already in the zone. And, the lights are flashing on Fauntleroy after 3:30 PM, when school at Gatewood dismisses at 2:50. Why so long after school gets out? There are no students around at that point. Beyond that, there are the privacy issues with photo camera tickets. For more comments, see the blog post/comments at

Jan said…
Another issue here is whether we are talking 30 mph (or more) or 21. It is important to remember with cameras that they are not cops. They have no ability to look at their radar when a car is clocked at 21 mph and take a pass. When this initiative was announced, I sent my family a long, boring lectury email reminding them that the deal here is that they have to be BELOW 20 mph before they hit wherever the camera is placed. If not -- it is all automatic after that.

So, while I agree with all those who are irritated by blatant and flagrant speeding in school zones (and I have no problem if those guys get tickets), this is a net that will catch a whole lot of very careful drivers slowing down to 20, or at 21 or 22 mph the edges of the zones. But -- it will make the city a bundle -- so it will get extended.

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