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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mayor Announces more School Zone Speed Cameras

From Seattle.gov:

Today Mayor Mike McGinn announced five new locations for future school zone speed cameras at locations across Seattle. The existing school zone cameras have led to a combined 16 percent reduction in citations for speeding across the four schools.

“The public has been clear that we need to do more to protect children as they travel to and from school,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “The data shows that the existing cameras are helping improve safety near schools by reducing travel speed and cameras should be installed at additional schools.”

“Increasing safety in our school zone and beyond continues to be a high priority for me and for our school community,” said Sherri Kokx, principal of Nathan Eckstein Middle School, a potential location for future school zone traffic cameras. “School zone cameras are one more tool that can help increase safety.”

Last fall, the City installed school zone speed cameras in four locations – Broadview-Thomson K-8, Olympic View, Gatewood, and Thurgood Marshall Elementary Schools – in an effort to reduce speeding in school zones. The four existing school zone camera locations have seen an average reduction of 16 percent in citations for speeding, from the week of December 10 to the week of April 22.

The City identified future locations for cameras at five schools based on an analysis of documented speeding problems that showed these schools would receive the greatest speed reduction and safety benefit from automated speed enforcement. These new cameras would be funded by revenues from the four existing camera locations and would be installed in early 2014, pending City Council approval of funding:
  • Bailey Gatzert Elementary, on East Yesler Way (Westbound only)
  • Dearborn Park Elementary on South Orcas St
  • Nathan Eckstein Middle School on Northeast 75th Street
  • Roxhill Elementary on Southwest Roxbury
  • Holy Family Parish School on Southwest Roxbury
This fall, the School Road Safety Initiative will include a School Road Safety Plan, which, among other efforts, will include a plan for expanding the school zone speed camera programs to more schools in the future. Revenues from the five proposed new camera locations will fund projects identified in the School Road Safety Plan. The School Road Safety Initiative is part of the Road Safety Action Plan launched in August of 2012.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

All of these zones are in high-traffic areas. Drivers -- wise up about the dangers to children!

Careful Driver

Charlie Mas said...

I drove on MLK past Thurgood Marshall and someone in front of me kept to the school zone speed limit of 20mph. It felt very strange to drive so slowly on that road.

mirmac1 said...

I remember running out onto busy Roxbury St by Roxhill as a kindergartner (looooong time ago), chasing after my art project blowing in the wind. Drive 20 mph people!

bothered said...

Quite torn about this. On the one hand, if we can encourage people to slow down in school zones, that's obviously a good thing.

But how many government-owned cameras do we want in a free society? It seems they're popping up on every other intersection. Seattleites are up in arms about the potential of 30 cameras at the waterfront. What is a reasonable limit?

If limits aren't put in place it's inevitable that cities here will eventually become like London. Look up "naked citizens - world" on YouTube for a view into what's happening there.

I'd much rather see big, oversized speed limit signs that read something like this:

Speed Limit
20 MPH
When Children
Are Present
$450 FINE!

And stick with the huge fees like glue. Because even if people aren't motivated by safety, they are definitely motivated by losing money.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, so you think putting an officer to ticket those drivers is better/cheaper than a camera? The camera takes a picture of the car/license plate so it's not invasive as the London cameras are.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Looks like those cameras can't come soon enough - a pedestrian was hit by a car and seriously injured just down the street from Eckstein (at 75th and 35th).

bothered said...

The question isn't "better/cheaper", because cameras will typically be cheaper in the long run; and while they run 24/7, they are not as reliable as a human in practice. It's a mixed bag. Also, cameras take full stills (or video), not just a license plate data. That filtering takes place at the whims of the organization or service provider, and can change at any time.

The real question I'm asking though - and this is far beyond the scope of a few school zone cameras - is at what point does 24/7 video surveillance become too much? London didn't turn into the insane CCTV monitoring city they are now overnight. It started slowly with specific areas (like we are doing here) and picked up steam over the years. In London, if you so much as pause for a couple minutes to talk on the phone and pace back and forth, you can be marked as a threat and tracked as such as you go on your way. If you live in an urban area your movement and tendencies may very well be monitored every minute you're not in your apartment or office.

Is that what we want here? If so, I guess there's no need for a conversation. If not, we need to define limits well beforehand, because traffic cameras and similar "security cams" are how it starts.

The video mentioned above ("Naked citizens - World" on YouTube) is highly recommended. Most people don't understand how deep the surveillance is in other cities like London, how easy it is to get there, and impossible to undo once it's in place. Technology is making it easier all the time.

Unknown said...

Hopefully drivers will become more serious while driving through school zone areas. I don't like to read news that another school kid or bus gets hit by an irresponsible driver. Thanks.
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