9:46 AM: Lots of questions about temporary installations along/near 35th SW in Arbor Heights, including the one in our photo – a tall, skinny pole fastened to city poles and signs, topped by small cameras. We at first thought this might be related to more city improvements for safety along the route to Arbor Heights Elementary School, and asked SDOT if the cameras were theirs; they said no, not theirs (but they have been getting questions too!). We found a phone number on one of the boxes and tried it; received a call back from a rep at IDAX, which owns the equipment. The cameras are “counting cars,” he explained, as part of a traffic analysis related to AH Elementary. We’re checking with the school district right now to see if it’s part of the preparation for building the new AHES (this is the last year the existing building will be in use) or for something sooner (the school has just implemented a new pickup/dropoff traffic plan, as noted in its newsletter), and we’ll add whatever we find out. The IDAX rep, meantime, said that they are keeping the cameras up through today so they can compare traffic today (with no classes at the school) to measurements from a school-in-session day like yesterday.
11:24 AM UPDATE: SPS spokesperson Tom Redman tells us it’s “for the traffic study we are performing as part of our SEPA checklist requirements” for construction of the new AHES. (SEPA is short for the State Environmental Policy Act, as explained here; traffic is one of the factors considered in SEPA reviews of projects.)