A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Traffic safety cameras at Broadview-Thomson K-8 to issue $189 citations starting Dec. 10

November 29th, 2012 · Comments

Traffic safety cameras went live at four Seattle Public Schools at the beginning of the month (including at Broadview-Thomson K-8 at 13052 Greenwood Ave. N.), and thousands of motorists have been issued warnings since then. Starting on Dec. 10, motorists who speed through those school zones will receive a $189 citation in the mail.

According to a City of Seattle press release, the city has issued 5,927 warning notices in those four school zones.

“If this current level of speeding continues in these school zones, the City could see between $2-4 million in revenue annually,” the press release states. “The City is exploring options to invest this revenue back into these school zones for additional safety improvements. The City would prefer that motorists comply with the posted speed limit in school zones.”

The other schools with traffic safety cameras are Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Olympic View Elementary School and Gatewood Elementary School. The four schools were chosen because of documented speeding problems.

The cameras will only issue tickets when the school zone yellow beacons are flashing, which is usually for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

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  1. Jon says:

    “Oh, and this totally isn’t financially-motivated, you guys.” proclaimed the director of the initiative.

  2. Norm says:

    It might help if the city removed the trees that obstruct the view of the flashing signs for the Southbound traffic until you’re right at them.

    Of course that would lower revenues, so I won’t hold my breath.

  3. Those that accuse the city of installing the cameras simply to make money can foil the evil plot by simply slowing down. That will show them!

  4. Jon says:

    @Mike: I walk most places, and when I drive, I drive within the speed limits. You don’t have to be someone who speeds to see that ticket cameras are simply an additional revenue stream.

    If safety is such a concern, it sounds like these deadly intersections would benefit from the presence of a police officer, during peak hours. If they’re got the time to drive around and issue parking tickets in the U District, every 5 minutes, then they’ve got time to ensure that kids don’t get run over.

    Ah, but that wouldn’t help them meet those monthly quotas…

  5. jimby says:

    greenwood ave – nearly impossible to drive that slow.

    in my neighborhood, the frantic crazed school-zone speeders are the soccer moms running a bit late for drop off or pick up….

  6. daniel says:

    I wish we had these cameras blanketing our cities.

    Seriously, it frees up law enforcement for really important things like catching the punks breaking into our houses.

    If you think it is “unfair” to use technology like this put yor smart phone down.

    Mike has the right idea!


  7. Norm says:

    My complaint isn’t so much that the city is using technology to write tickets to drivers for breaking the law it’s that they keep claiming it’s all about safety, when it’s clearly about the revenue. As John pointed out beefing up SPD patrols would do more to slow drivers down than installing these cameras. It’s further irksome that yellow light times at camera monitored intersections have been demonstrated to be shorter than at non monitored intersections. So once again the city is simply lying. This is all about them finding a new revenue stream. They should just own up to it.

    My beef here is less about the addition of a speed-limit camera in front of Broadview Thompson than it is with the young (i.e. newly planted) maple trees that are right in front of the school zone sign. Their foliage completely blocks the sign and flashing yellow lights for drivers going SB on Greenwood in the right lane. So they is no way for even the most attentive driver to know the speed limit has been temporarily reduced by 15 MPH until they are on top of the sign and most likely ticketed by the camera. The only thing that saved me the other day was that I slowed down because traffic 300+ yards in front of me was slamming on their breaks for no apparent reason. Once I was about 5-10 yards from the sign I could finally see the lights and tell was going on.

  8. Aaron says:

    One more voice to add to the group of people stating the school sign isn’t prominent enough. I took a slightly different route to work one morning after stopping off to get gas at the Arco on ~143rd. Headed southbound on Greenwood doing about 30 when all of a sudden I saw a flash, then thought, “aw cr@p, that’s probably one of those new speeding cameras.” At NO point did I see any yellow flashing lights indicating I was in a school zone. Thankfully it was still in the warning period… $189 is exceptionally steep for going 30 mph on a four-lane road. I took a drive down the same stretch a couple days later, and that school sign is just completely surrounded by trees and not very visible.