Fauntleroy Community Association asks city to move school-zone light

August 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm | In Fauntleroy, Gatewood, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 9 Comments

First of two reports from tonight’s Fauntleroy Community Association board meeting:

(WSB photo added Wednesday afternoon)
While FCA board members say they’re fine with the Seattle Police plan to install a fixed speed-monitoring/ticketing camera in the Gatewood Elementary school zone on Fauntleroy Way, they say the current southbound warning light needs to be moved. (That point also was made in comments on our Sunday night story about the forthcoming camera.) Ahead, the letter FCA is sending to the city:

It’s addressed to SPD Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh:

Gatewood Elementary is among the selected sites for fixed school zone installation of cameras. We do not disagree with location, but there is a problem with the current installation of the school beacon for the Fauntleroy Way southbound traffic. The beacon is located behind a telephone pole and around a curve. If the beacon were to be moved north of the curve it would be in the line of sight for some time before entering the school zone. As it is, the driver has to be aware that the beacon is coming up and that it may be active, or the driver will have to suddenly apply brakes.

If the goal is to slow the traffic down rather than to give out tickets, moving the beacon will go a long way toward this end. Please consider moving the beacon when you install the camera.

The letter is signed by FCA president Bruce Butterfield and cc’d to various city officials, elected and otherwise, along with the president of neighboring Morgan Community Association, Deb Barker. SPD’s project manager told WSB yesterday that the installation is expected within a few weeks, before school begins; speeders caught by the camera face $189 tickets.

9 Comments

  1. I almost mentioned this the last time around. It is even worse in the early fall and late spring as a tree has grown out past the signal so it is almost impossible to see at times. If you know it is coming and know it is during the time it normally is active it isn’t a big deal, but it should be moved as the letter says.

    Comment by Jordan — 6:41 am August 15, 2012 #

  2. Good call. My thoughts exactly.

    Comment by 35this35mph — 7:49 am August 15, 2012 #

  3. I am glad the FCA is doing this, however I wonder if the purpose is really to generate tickets and revenue and not to slow down traffic. Maybe im just cynical.

    Comment by Brandon — 8:26 am August 15, 2012 #

  4. Well Brandon, you’re not the only one who wonders about the revenue side of this issue. I drive this route every day and with the speed readout and the flashing school zone light and the radar traps they post every few months, I’m wondering how big a problem speeding even is anymore in these areas?

    I know they ticket for even a couple miles over the 20 mph which seems pretty punitive. And I suspect that they’ll be sending out LOTS of $189 tickets for 23-25 mph to people who have no idea they’re even speeding. Well, until they see the flash of the camera.

    The cynical side of me thinks this has more to do with reduced revenues to city coffers in bad economy than it does children’s safety. But then I’m open to being shown that safety is a big problem. Wonder if anyone’s got statistics they’re willing to share?

    Comment by Tom — 11:19 am August 15, 2012 #

  5. Surely the purpose is to save kids’ lives.

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 11:32 am August 15, 2012 #

  6. This is good news. I sent a similar request to the City a couple of years ago with no response. Glad to have FCA – with a fresh notch in its belt from turning away the Go Ape zipline in Lincoln Park – make its voice heard. Strength in numbers!

    Comment by Fauntleroy Tom — 12:54 pm August 15, 2012 #

  7. I often wait for the 54 at that stop and can tell you that a lot of cars and trucks exceed the limit … esp when a ferry is scheduled to leave shortly or when a ferry has just dumped a load of islanders. They barrel thru because they know they won’t hit a traffic light for a while.

    Comment by metrognome — 3:30 pm August 15, 2012 #

  8. Of course the purpose is revenue generation. These companies come in and PURCHASE our city leaders and they then push this nonsense on us.

    Most cities are rejecting these camera whole-cloth. I fully expect the school zone hours to be expanded, and/or the camera to start issuing tickets full-time. Once it’s installed, I imagine there is a single unelected official who can make those changes with a pen stroke…

    We saw the Red Light cameras installed down in the Phoenix Metro area; then they shortened all the yellow lights so the revenue would jump up. Oh, sure, it stopped a lot of red light runners… And instead we had ENDLESS rear-end accidents as people desperately tried to panic stop their cars on the line and avoid the ticket. After few months of this madness, people were spray-painting the lens, shooting the cameras off the poles with 12-guages and ramming them with their cars. I always figured the cameras weren’t the problem- Phoenix’s leaders were. My thinking is the same here. *shrug*

    Comment by cascadianone — 3:56 pm August 15, 2012 #

  9. that’s quite some imagination you have, cascadianone, except these aren’t red light cameras — they are speed cameras and they are quite effective in reducing traffic speeds. If you ever drive the mean streets of Tacoma or Lakewood, they have these outside every school and traffic slows down.
    .
    Heck, those ‘bought and paid for’ elected officials even put up a sign warning drivers of the cameras which considerably reduces revenue. And no rear-end collisions to worry about if you decide to obey the law!
    .
    Guess you should put that 12-gauge away.

    Comment by metrognome — 4:44 pm August 15, 2012 #

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