West Seattle’s speed cam tickets fewer drivers than its counterparts

January 13, 2013 at 10:45 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

Are West Seattleites more law-abiding than drivers in the other three areas of the city with speed-ticket cameras in school zones? Our partners at The Seattle Times have a story tonight with the numbers from the first almost-two-weeks of ticketing by the Fauntleroy Way camera near Gatewood Elementary and three others elsewhere in the city; the West Seattle camera was responsible for 435, the lowest total, less than a third of the 1,510 tickets attributed to the camera near Thurgood Marshall Elementary.

28 Comments

  1. Traffic is what saves me. Even though there is a bright orange flashing light advising that you entering a school zone, I find it easy to miss when heading southbound. Something about how it is right at the end of a corner and kind of high on the pole. If I weren’t almost always behind someone that does see it and remembers to slowdown I’d probably have a couple of tickets by now too.

    Comment by Ted — 11:24 pm January 13, 2013 #

  2. It’s only relative if you also know the total number of cars that drove past the cameras at each location and didn’t get a ticket. Then calculate the percentage of cars who did and use that for comparison.

    Comment by TLS — 1:00 am January 14, 2013 #

  3. Be very aware of the S.T.E.M. school zone on Delridge. There are NO FLASHING LIGHTS, just a sign that says “school zone 20 mph when children are present”. I was driving by (37 mph) on a Thursday at 9:30 am. and was pulled over and ticketed. Apparently this school starts late (9:20). Algthough I mitigiated this $189 fine by mail, arguing no flashing lights or school times on the sign, it was not dismissed or even reduced. I am all for slowing down to 20 mph in school zones, however, in all fairness, they must be clearly marked, especially with such a late start time! Perhaps the city can give all the money they collect from unknowing school zone speeders and give it to this school to buy proper lights and signage?

    Comment by shirley — 7:00 am January 14, 2013 #

  4. If every single person requested a court date and contested all tickets given by red light and speed cameras they would be gone in a week. The courts can’t handle even if a fifth were contested. Contest them all. Make it cost the city more to prosecute your case than what they will get from you in fees. And watch what happens to the “it’s for public safety” traffic cameras.

    Comment by Come on — 8:14 am January 14, 2013 #

  5. I was surprised not to see the school zone on 35th at OLOG Catholic school mentioned on the list. I didn’t see them mentioned here on the blog or on the Seattle Times article. They have a sign saying that cameras are in use. Does anyone know if cameras are in use here or are the signs just meant as a deterrent?

    Comment by AIDM — 8:59 am January 14, 2013 #

  6. The sign in that area relates to the speed van, which has been in use along 35th and Fauntleroy among other places (including outside WS) WSfor more than four years, off and on, as noted in our original coverage of the Gatewood camera announcement. There is no fixed camera there – the Gatewood (Fauntleroy Way) camera is the ONLY fixed one in WS – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:15 am January 14, 2013 #

  7. I agree with Come On, and contest it is exactly what I’m going to do. Cameras = Robo Cops and I for one am pissed off. Now I’m forced to pay the city because I was going 27 in a 25. These cameras should be illegal.

    Comment by lox — 9:38 am January 14, 2013 #

  8. Children and other pedestrians in school zones don’t have flashing lights on them. Nor are there signs warning you where they specifically are. So instead of making excuses and forming plans to work the system to avoid acting like a responsible adult, I happen to think that obeying the law and the speed limit is still the best way to go.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 9:50 am January 14, 2013 #

  9. Speed Limits are artificially low and have zero to do with safety and 100% to do with revenue generation. Speed enforcement has become a tax. I’m all for clogging the system and doing everything we can to eliminate this unjust tax on the middle class.

    Another tip is to contest the ticket by saying you saw emergency lights behind you and were attempting to get out of the way.

    Comment by Danny — 9:57 am January 14, 2013 #

  10. cjboffoli … Wouldn’t it be safer for the kids if drivers had their eyes on the road and not on their speedometer?

    Comment by Danny — 9:59 am January 14, 2013 #

  11. My guess is that the information we received from WSB increased local awareness of speed cams and therefore many adjusted their driving habits by Gatewood. We are definitely a very informed community compared to others.
    I have noticed a huge difference in speeds at OLG school zone since 2 years ago which makes me think the cameras are making a difference.

    Comment by Rodrigo — 10:08 am January 14, 2013 #

  12. Slow down, people. I recently saw a woman blow through a red light at the Lafayette school crossing at Lander because she was apparently texting.

    Not a fan of ticket cams – who is – but Seattleites are shockingly casual about their speeds in school zones, generally speaking.

    Comment by G — 10:48 am January 14, 2013 #

  13. You know what would really teach the city a lesson? Drive the posted speed limit through the school zones and show them that they don’t need cameras. You wouldn’t even need to be pissed off and calling for mass contesting of tickets.

    Comment by Michael — 10:50 am January 14, 2013 #

  14. I was roundly criticized when I posted in the forums about the van camera at 35th and OLG and the ticket i received. Many have Cjboffoli’s belief that “if you do the crime, you do the time.” Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, I think there are some very pressing broad questions associated with this kind of policing that we should all be asking ourselves:

    - If the City can make a million a month on this type of survelilence what is next? What about jay walking? What about smoking near a business?

    - When I got the ticket my main concern was that this wasn’t a cop stopping me and showing me how he had come up with my speed, it was a camera on a van…and I think this raises interesting questions about technology and how much we trust it, especially at 189 a pop. Maybe many of you think this is MORE reliable than a human. I, personally, do not.
    And the idea of cameras monitoring us all over the City kind of just creeps me out.

    -How many children have been hit in school zones in Seattle in recent years? I have absolutely no issue with penalties to stop certain behavior, but at OLG kids don’t even load on 35th – so sometimes it feels like the City is using this hammer “protect the kids!” as an excuse to create a revenue generate enough surveillance.

    Now, I am fine if you just want to criticize me and say “pay your ticket!” because the camera said I was speeding, but in my opinion there are these deeper more concerning questions here that we should all be talking more about, and are more important than whether I deserve a ticket or not.

    Comment by Kgdlg — 10:58 am January 14, 2013 #

  15. How is contesting a ticket working the system? We still have a presumption of innocence in this country. The burden of proof lies with the state to make a case that I did in fact committ an infraction. It is your right to contest their evidence and present your own case. You’re not working the system you’re embracing it.

    The people that are working the system are theropod who dreamed this up. Red light and speeding cameras were suppose to cost the same as a parking ticket according to the legislature. But instead of the standard fee of $30-40 for a parking ticket they interpreted the law to include such parking tickets as not having a handicap permit and parking in a handicap zone. Thus allowing the city to charge $150-250 per infraction. Without charging the higher amount the city wouldn’t be making any money on the cameras. That’s working the system. And completely against what the legislature intended.

    So challenge every damn one of the tickets. And when the city starts losing money on each infraction watch what happens to the cameras.

    Comment by Come on — 11:05 am January 14, 2013 #

  16. I got my $189 ticket at Gatewood on December 12 a little after 3:00 pm. I was clocked at 30. I would swear the light was not flashing and there were no kids around. If the light was flashing, I would think that the picture they sent me should show some blur around the lights just like car lights in the picture have a light aura around them. It took me several calls but finally I got to SPD Traffic who explained the power source for the camera is only on when the flashing light is on. At Gatewoood that is 7:55 to 8:55 and 2:35 to 3:35.

    Comment by Alex — 11:40 am January 14, 2013 #

  17. And as far as red light tickets, that is a scam. Especially the one at 35th & Thistle. If it is going to be a red light camera intersection, make the blinking “walk/don’t walk” device have a count down timer one it. I don’t know whether to speed through the light or slow down enough to make the stop if I needed to, potentially causing someone to rear end me. Very dangerous! And to cjboffoli, I did not realize driving down Delridge at 9:30 am at 37 mph would be breaking the law!

    Comment by shirley — 12:07 pm January 14, 2013 #

  18. “The burden of proof lies with the state to make a case that I did in fact committ an infraction.”

    Photographic evidence triggered by a speed detector is proof of an infraction. You might be able to contest the calibration of the equipment used but without multiple other “false readings” it’s ludicrous to assume the equipment would have one single error out of hundreds of positive non-activations and dozens of proper ones. That in and of itself is catching you via speed detector and catching a photo to verify and prove it is you, in your car committing the infraction. I can only imagine how upset you’d be if instead of the manned camera vans they staffed multiple cars to go after each speeder.

    Here’s an idea, observe the speed limits posted instead of complaining that you got a penalty for speeding. It’s really that simple. You probably are one of the folks who have complained that Admiral hill is one 30 mph or the Bridge is 45 and that the limits should be raised. Plan accordingly, leave 5-10 minutes early when you can and you’ll still get where you’re going with time to spare without violating the standing traffic laws regarding speed.

    Comment by J242 — 1:13 pm January 14, 2013 #

  19. Again I have to agree with everything Come On said. We are allowing Big Brother to control our every move. If I am getting slapped on the hand, I want a human being to do it. It’s amazing how we are just letting this happen to us. Nobody is questioning why our government thinks it is ok to run our lives by remote control.

    Comment by lox — 1:16 pm January 14, 2013 #

  20. J242,

    Actually it is illegal in the state of Washington to take a picture of someones face. The cameras can not do this. So there is no “photographic evidence” that you did anything. There is a photo of a car that is registered to you committing an infraction. But who is driving the car? Again the burden of proof is on the state. they have to prove YOU committed the infraction. Not your car.

    And by the way I don’t have a problem with a cop enforcing the speed limit in a school zone.

    Comment by Come on — 2:43 pm January 14, 2013 #

  21. The mayor’s spokesperson stated that the tickets can be reduced through mitigation.
    *
    RCW 46.61.440 states the fine can not be reduced
    *
    (3) A person found to have committed any infraction relating to speed restrictions within a school or playground speed zone shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.
    *
    So, are the SMC judges ignoring State law or are there different rules for the camera issued tickets?

    Comment by j — 5:59 pm January 14, 2013 #

  22. I am so paranoid I refuse to drive. Big brother is watching my every move.

    Who cares if I don’t stop at stop signs? Who gives a rip if I go 50 mph in a school zone?

    Big brother.

    ROFL at laughing at some of the comments above mine. If their precious little buck-snorts got run over, you would hear and see a different tune.

    Comment by WAMU Refugee — 6:00 pm January 14, 2013 #

  23. Yes. I was speeding. But my name is Shirley. Shirley that should excuse me. LOL.

    Comment by Am I Dumb? — 6:07 pm January 14, 2013 #

  24. I am one that got a ticket in front of OLG. If you notice, the white van is always parked northbound, right at the blinking lights. Not a lot of time to slow down from 35 to 20 before they take your photo! The light should be moved back to the old fire station if that’s where they photos are going to be taken. I contested by mail and got my $189 ticket down to $100 (which seems to be the standard amount if you contest).

    Comment by sadiegirl — 9:44 pm January 14, 2013 #

  25. Sorry, but we’re talking about kids here. Go slow. I don’t care if it’s cops or cameras, go slow and you won’t get a ticket. It’s black and white.

    Comment by AJP — 9:54 pm January 14, 2013 #

  26. It is called a Speed LIMIT, not a Suggested Speed. It is that basic. Stop thinking you are above societies laws and you need not fret, complain or make excuses like some little kid. Jesus people, grow up!

    Comment by Mike — 3:10 pm January 15, 2013 #

  27. I wonder if the people complaining about getting a ticket from a machine instead of living, breathing cops are the same ones who complain about taxes being too high?

    Comment by Ajax — 3:09 am January 16, 2013 #

  28. Here is a video recreating the reaction time required to adjust your speed from thirty miles per hour to 20 miles per hour. Reaction time required going south (which is how I got my $189 ticket) is roughly 2-5 seconds, a significant slow down AROUND A TURN, and something I consider very dangerous!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgOOsqGGjdg

    Comment by Andrew Edmond — 5:20 pm January 22, 2013 #

Sorry, comment time is over.

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^