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(86 posts)

RANT: Police Ticket Camera at OLG on 35th and Myrtle


  1. I am borrowing a car from a friend right now. Today they called me to tell me I got a ticket for going 25 in a 20 school zone in front of Our Lady Guadeloupe School on 35th and Myrtle. $189!!!! I didn't even know there were cameras here now. And I am pissed, because I always feel like I slow down faster and more than anyone around me here (cars frequently drive around me mad because I drive so slow on purpose). So maybe this day I was late to work and wasn't as careful.

    My question: has this happened to anyone else here? If so, have you fought with any luck? How can they take a picture of someone "speeding"?

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  2. celeste17
    Member Profile

    celeste17

    Challenge it and ask for the calibration records for the camera. Bet they can't provide the record.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  3. skeeter
    Member Profile

    Whoa!! 25 in a 20 zone? I would venture a guess that THOUSANDS of people every week drive 25 in a 20 zone.

    I didn't actually realize Seattle used speed cameras. I knew about the red light cameras, but I didn't realize electronic tickets were issued for speeding.

    Thanks for posting. I hope there is more feedback.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  4. Really? If it's a borrowed car your (ex)friend should have got the ticket. All they have to do is say (sign a document) they were not driving the car. I don't think they have to say you were driving but if was me I would give the police your name and address and offer them a box of doughnuts to whoever gets this outlaw!!

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  5. http://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/spd-plans-fixed-speeding-ticket-camera-for-gatewood-school-zone

    There is also a mobile speed-camera van that has been in West Seattle for four years now. That is likely what was used in this case.

    http://westseattleblog.com/2008/10/speeder-catching-van-shown-off-in-gatewood-with-a-political-underscore

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  6. I believe there are signs. I will look when I go to work shortly

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  7. skeeter
    Member Profile

    Okay, more info. The electronic speeding tickets are only issued in school zones.

    http://www.seattle.gov/police/technology/speed_photo.htm

    Technically, you (the driver) didn't get the ticket. The vehicle owner got the ticket. The vehicle owner will need to read the instructions on the citation for what to do if a driver other than the owner was operating the vehicle at the time of citation.

    My guess is the owner will have to pay the $189 and I suspect you (being a decent person) will reimburse him/her. But that's only a guess.

    Good luck.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  8. You admit to speeding in a school zone while school was in session. Pay the ticket.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  9. skeeter
    Member Profile

    It would be awfully frustrating to get a ticket for going 25 in a 20 zone. However, 35th is an exceptionally dangerous street. So draconian fines might be the only way to enforce laws.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  10. yes indeed there is a sign "photo speed enforcement" heading north not sure about southbound

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  11. It pisses me off because it's a City gotcha mentality. I was photographed going the ungodly speed of 30 in the school zone on fauntleroy. No children around, no traffic except for me but I missed seeing the yellow flashing lights. (they are on one side, posted high in the trees on a bend) So, $189 and no choice but to pay it. I'm sure a chunk of the cash goes to the people who designed the camera and the City uses the what's left as revenue enhancement. I think the fee is way out of line.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  12. It's a SCHOOL ZONE!! What more is there to say for heavens sake?

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  13. I got mine in the mail yesterday. $189 for going 26 mph in a 20 mph zone. I thought I slowed down fast enough. Guess not. I usually don't go that route and yes, I understand that it is a school zone and I need to slow down, but slowing down from 35 to 20 in a short span can be difficult if you don't want to completely slam on your brakes. There really doesn't seem to be a way to contest it, and $189 is a huge ticket. This is my first speeding ticket.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  14. waterworld
    Member Profile

    waterworld

    kgdlg: You need not pay this ticket. Nor do the owners need to pay it. They can get it dismissed. And it's all totally legal. The reason is that you borrowed the car.

    There are actually several requirements the city must satisfy to issue and collect on tickets issued based on automated traffic cameras. But the one that makes it easy in your case is that the statute incorporates a presumption that the registered owner was the person in control of the vehicle at the time of the infraction, AND it provides a mechanism for the registered owner to declare that in fact, he or she was not driving at the time.

    The state law is at RCW 46.63.170 and .075; the Seattle Municipal Code, which is nearly identical, is at SMC 11.31.090. In all likelihood, this ticket was issued under the municipal code.

    The registered owner is entitled, under the statutes, to respond to the ticket by mail, and can overcome the presumption by providing a written statement, under oath, to the court that "the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen or in the care, custody, or control of some person other than the registered owner." That is all that the law requires for the ticket to be dismissed. The owners are not required to say who had custody of the vehicle. In fact, it wouldn't matter if the owners did supply that information, because even then there would not be enough evidence to prove that you were the driver.

    The reason it works this way, if anyone cares, is that the legislature did not authorize using these cameras to identify people, just cars. The police can look at the picture and identify the license plate number, but they can't use the photo to identify or prove who is driving the car. That's why the only person who can be held liable is the registered owner. The legislature also wanted to ensure that an owner who was not in fact driving the car could escape liability. (Otherwise, the law would likely be unconstitutional.) The provision for the statement under oath accomplishes that.

    Obviously, a person could use this to get out of a ticket when she was driving her own car. No doubt lots of people do that. But in your case, kgdlg, the owners would be telling the truth. So you can all go forward with a clean conscience.

    (None of this is legal advice, of course. If you want legal advice, you'd have to talk to a lawyer.)

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  15. waterworld
    Member Profile

    waterworld

    To the other folks who have gotten these tickets, read the statutes -- there are lots of ways to contest these tickets.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  16. Genesee Hill
    Member Profile

    Genesee Hill

    Yes, officer, I realize I was speeding. But, I didn't want to have to slam on my brakes to slow down from 35 MPH to 20 MPH.

    ROFL

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  17. dhg..
    i got a ticket in the same spot last year on the first day the zone was active when nobody was anywhere near the school.

    in spite of the fact that the leaves on the tree actually hide the light until they fall..
    i had to pay the ticket.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  18. @waterworld, a good friend who went through the same thing just confirmed your advice thank you!

    I want everyone to know that I am very aware of my driving and routinely slow to well below 20 in this zone. I believe in speed limits and fines to control behavior.

    The only aspect of this situation that bothers me is the lack of a posting (I did not see one and I realize it may have been there). Like at the red light photo stops. It feels a little creepy big brother to have a mobile van that runs around taking pics without any connection to the actual driver like in a traditional speed trap.

    Also I will admit to sticker shock, 30 bucks for every mile over?!?!

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  19. kgdlg: Good luck fighting it -- I was mailed a ticket for a traffic light in Federal Way and distinctly remembered the intersection and that it was traffic'd cam'd (pardon the bad apostrophe's and crappy English!) but that a right turn was acceptable.... went back to said intersection and took pictures of the sign that said "Right turn OK if clear" (or something to that effect) and sent it into the City of Federal way -- no consideration at all of my proof, still had to pay and I'm still PISSED OFF!!!

    So bogus, I think they are mostly money making scams!

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  20. I truly was driving a friends car, which by law means they cannot make her responsible for the ticket. I will let everyone know when I see if I can get it released!

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  21. That's right kgdlg. Take the attorney's advice. Don't be responsible for your actions. Work the system, make excuses, ask for exceptions. Everyone does it, right?

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  22. Christopher, i didn't write the law, butif it explicitely states that she nor I are responsible because she wasn't driving, darn right I will follow the regulation that is in place. If this regulation weren't in place I wouldn't go and make up an argument or claim something that isn't. As far as I am concerned, I am following the law as it is written.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  23. The fine is frustrating. However these citations do not affect your insurance or driving record. If as earlier stated the "flashing" sign was obscured by leaves or a foreign object that would also be grounds for dismissal. It's generally best to contest all tickets.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  24. rockergirl5678
    Member Profile

    My hubby got one of these tickets recently too....same situation, 26 in a 20 zone with the "mobile" van camera photo enforcement apparently providing the ticket/picture. He did not realize he was going over the limit at the time and while I get that it is a school zone it is frustrating in that there is a sign only indicating the "beginning" of the zone but no sign indicating the end of the zone when going northbound so how are you to know when you can once again increase your speed. Also the School speed zone photo enforced sign is not permanent and not very visible. I would also like to know why the parents who drop off there children and cross the solid double yellow line to turn into the OLG parking lots are never ticketed. I can tell you as a former parent how many times I have seen potential accidents happen from the cars turning across traffic when they aren't suppose to. He paid the fine but we are not too happy about it as no one has an extra $189 laying around these days. Technically I also could have protested as well since the ticket came to my name since the car he was driving is registered in my name and I was not driving it. Needless to say he is not driving on 35th during the school hours anymore but through the neighborhood instead. Best to slow down in advance and stay slow well down the hill past the area.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  25. waterworld
    Member Profile

    waterworld

    Rockergirl: It's not illegal to turn left over an ordinary double yellow line in the city (or in the state, so far as I'm aware), provided you don't block traffic by doing so. What you cannot do is cross a double yellow line in order to pass a vehicle on the left.

    CJ: I don't think kgdlg was asking for an exception to the rule. There's no unfair advantage in expecting that the law will be applied as written. More importantly, we're talking about a traffic infraction, not a moral issue or, given kgdlg's account of the event, a safety issue. That's my view of it, anyway.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  26. singularname
    Member Profile

    singularname

    This entire thread of the majority folks all cool with blowing through a school zone and/or without owning up to getting caught is sorta dumb-founding.

    kgdlg, Does this ring a bell?

    "I drive 35th every day. I was tailgated the other day for going 20 in a school zone and then 35 down the hill to Morgan and 35th. The man sped past me and then weaved in and out to the junction. Maybe it was you Danny? ***I go the speed limit on 35th, always.*** I wish others would too!"

    And unless you're in a trial for retina identification with the DMV and DOL, or you share an address with your friend the car owner and haven't actually checked that it's your name on the citation, your story is completely implausible on that point.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  27. EdSane

    "It's generally best to contest all tickets."

    I recently attempted to fight an undeserved speeding ticket in what turns out to be a real speed trap right here in West Seattle.

    Imagine my surprise when i found myself in traffic court confronted with a prosecutor.

    Probably not such a good idea to have let the mediator bully me into a court date the day after i returned from a 3 week European working vacation?

    Fighting a traffic ticket is not as easy as it once was.

    the funny thing is that if i had been aware of the circumstances i was facing and hadn't been jet lagged i could have provided the kind of evidence that should have had the ticket dismissed. Proof of the disability that prevents me from bouncing through the potholes on that road was in my purse but it didn't occur to me to prove a medical condition that was evident to the judge.

    As far as i am concerned, that process is a total waste of your time unless the ticket will impact your driving record enough to warrant hiring an attorney.

    As it turns out, my age, not my driving record would have made hiring an attorney a financially feasible choice had my driving record not already qualified us for something called "incident exemption" for our rates.

    For those who want to know.. the speed trap is in the small section of the access road along 509 that is technically first avenue. There is no posted speed on that section of Marginal/2nd/1st so even though the posted speed is 35 on every road leading into that section.. the speed on that short section is 30mph...

    and if the officer says he pointed his radar gun at you and you were speeding.. all the officer has to prove is that the radar was calibrated before and after you were cited.. not that he actually measured your car with the device...
    or that he noted the correct color or make of your car.. or...

    that was not a positive experience on any level.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  28. anonyme
    Member Profile

    Genesee hit the nail on the head - twice. And CJ drove it in.

    If you're so distracted while driving that you can't see a big, flashing light, or going so fast that you can't slow from 35 to 20 - you deserve a ticket. Period.

    I will say that the school zone law could use refinement. Signs saying "while children are present" are meaningless. The speed restriction should be in effect during regular, posted school hours, and/or only when the lights are flashing.

    That said, I wish there were more speed cameras on 35th. Everyone these days seems to think that they are personally exempt from the law. Get over it.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  29. Wow, sorry I put myself out here so honestly. I am actually a very speed conscious person. I was very very surprised when my friend got this in the mail as I always feel like I slow appropriately on the speed zone. I am not lying about my situation, I was honest. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    I am sorry we have reached a day when we cannot constructively talk about going 26 in a 20 zone (no I am not the worst person ever for this) and the fact that a picture of me was taken versus an actual moving violation. I guess no one is bothered by the fact that everyone here was cited for 26 miles per hour and 30 dollars over per hour. I honestly have no idea if we were all doing this because I have stated before, I am very speed conscious. And again, I am being honest.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  30. Wow is right. You are entitled to your opinions. I personally don't think that going 25 or 26 is "blowing through a school zone." But I guess things look different from the top of high horse.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  31. skeeter
    Member Profile

    Kgdlg – I think some of the confusion on this thread is some readers do not understand the details. In your first post you said “I got a ticket for going 25 in a 20 school zone.” That’s not what happened. You did not get a ticket. The owner of the vehicle got a ticket. The owner of the vehicle can either (1) pay the ticket or (2) sign an affidavit that he/she was not operating the vehicle at the time of the citation and the ticket is dismissed. That’s the law. If the legislature had intended otherwise, they would have made the law differently.

    As a driver it is your job to operate the vehicle safely. But it is not your obligation, or the owner’s obligation, to pay a fee you are not legally required to pay. You just got lucky that you happened to be in a borrowed vehicle.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  32. @Skeeter. In the affidavit they actually ask for the information in regards to had control of the vehicle. They will then forward the infraction to that individual.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  33. I knew there would be a few judgmental people posting from their high horse when I stuck my oar out. They can't help it, they are the moral few. I typically don't meet them on the road because I'm usually the one that's the rock in stream that slows down cars wanting to go 50 on beach drive. The moral few are tremendously capable people who can keep an eye out on the driver who is pulling into the road into the left turn lane having timed things perfectly so that he'll be on your bumper (and not in your car) so long as you maintain speed and watching the car on the right that doesn't brake for the stop sign until nearly in your lane and STILL see the flashing yellow light in the trees.

    There are two points to be made here, even for those who cannot get off their high horses long enough to actually drive a car:
    1. The flashing lights are easily missed and are insufficient
    2. The $189 citation is outrageous. It is not just punitive, it is revenue enhancement for a city that can't figure out how to honestly balance its books.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  34. Question... what is the acceptable speed ABOVE the posted limit for the speed camera? Can you go over 1, 2, 3 MPH without receiving a ticket?

    It seems much less safe to me to have to slow down abruptly and then be looking at your odometer to make sure you're all the way under 20 MPH then it is to slow down to a reasonable speed.

    Just curious what, if any, leeway the camera allows.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  35. skeeter
    Member Profile

    EdSane (#32) - thanks for that information. I didn't realize that was the case.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  36. pigeonmom
    Member Profile

    pigeonmom

    High horse?? Isn't a law a law?

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  37. Here's the view looking north on 35 Ave SW. I snapped this shot from about half-way between SW Myrtle and Our Lady of Guadalupe. To get as close as I could to the driver's perspective, I stepped out into center of the right lane. When traffic was clear, of course.

    Please note: I used the telephoto feature on my camera to enlarge the subject, so in real life the sign would NOT appear to be this big from where I was standing.

    This was how things looked at about 1 PM today, Wednesday. As you know, it's been overcast, but the visibility is still pretty good. If the lights had been flashing, the sign would've been even more noticeable.

    My conclusion:

    The signage is visible from both directions on 35th. However, I can STILL see how this could sneak up on someone. There's just a few seconds (as the car flies) between when the "school zone" sign first becomes visible to drivers and when those drivers need to be going 15 mph slower.

    Add to this the fact that there is another (older) sign just 15 feet or so behind the school zone sign, and the fact that this other sign also has flashing lights, and you can see how the new school zone sign might not register with some drivers who are not expecting it to be there.

    Oveall I feel that SDOT has done a good job making the school zone signs visible, so I can't really fault them. However, given the special traffic circumstances on 35th, it might have helped if they'd put up "school zone ahead" signs or something.

    On the other hand, perhaps that's coddling.

    ****************************************************************************************

    One more thing: As you know, 35th is a very busy street and school kids almost never venture across it. In fact, the nearest controlled intersection where they do cross is Myrtle SW, which is actually outside the 20-mph zone.

    However, the purpose of the slow zone is not to make it safer for kids to cross the street there. The purpose is to make it safer for kids to get into cars as they pull over in front of the school.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  38. DBP

    i would note that these pictures were taken after the leaves had fallen from the trees making the signage very easy to see...

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  39. waterworld
    Member Profile

    waterworld

    EdSane and Skeeter: Seattle, Bellevue, Burien (and likely other cities) all have form affidavits, usually titled something like "declaration of non-responsibility." However, neither state law nor the municipal code require the registered owner to use those forms or to provide information about who was in control of the car. The affidavit can be in any form, so long as it includes the language from the statute. An owner could probably also just ignore those spaces where the city asks that the owner identify the "driver."

    This doesn't have anything to do with whether people are "all cool with blowing through a school zone." It is not immoral to not pay a fine for a traffic infraction when the law does not require it. The law requires the registered owner to pay a fine, or else to state under oath that he or she did not have custody and control of the car.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  40. Genesee Hill
    Member Profile

    Genesee Hill

    Yes, dhg. I am a judgemental person who got a speeding ticket in a school zone approximately eight years ago.

    I was upset.

    But rather than blaming everyone and everything for ME speeding through a SCHOOL ZONE, I tried to look at it as a "learning experience".

    I have not had a ticket since.

    Signed,
    High Horse Rider

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  41. JoB has a good point about the better visibility what with the leaves having fallen.

    But, as DBP alluded to, it looks very "busy" with all of the signage, etc there, whether the lights were flashing or not.

    Mike

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  42. There is a difference between getting caught because of negligence and getting caught because of poor signage. When I get a citation, I do not immediately blame everyone (even though it is clearly your fault, Genesee Hill). But when I get cited despite being very careful, I have to review my actions and wonder what happened several days ago. Was I taking chances? being reckless? was I negligent? I'm usually the one who is in the headlight glare of the impatient. I missed the warning light. If the light was flashing, my best guess for that neighborhood is that I was distracted by a driver on the cross street who timed his merge to get in just behind me. Happens all the time. People can't wait another 3 seconds for when the lane is actually clear. So I watch them in case I have to brake. It is a distraction.

    I feel it is an unjust citation because the signage is very poor, little chance of seeing it, and because the fee is so high.

    Good on you for being so noble and taking it on the chin without a single whine. I'm sure you deserved it.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  43. anonyme
    Member Profile

    Frankly, the photo by DBP makes it appear that the signage/flashing light would be more hard to miss than hard to see. There's such an array of signage there that it's almost distracting. Was this the first time the OP had ever driven down this stretch of road, and therefore had never, ever had an opportunity to become aware of the school zone? Highly unlikely.

    This situation brings to mind a common scenario: Child gets caught stealing candy. Parent makes child come clean and apologize to storekeeper. After apology, parent insists child pay off candy debt as part of punishment. Child cries "But I was HONEST!! Why do I have to pay, too?" You've "honestly" (note how often this word is repeated) admitted to speeding. Whether or not you're "usually" very careful to slow down doesn't cut it. Time to pay the consequences.

    Also, has the fine been paid yet? Because an "honest" person would do so quickly, rather than pay back a friend kind enough to loan a car by burdening them with a ticket in collections.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  44. FYI all interested in this topic - I didn't know the Gatewood camera hadn't gone live yet. Today, says SPD, is day 1.

    http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2012/11/01/enhancing-child-safety-in-school-zones-through-automated-speed-enforcement/

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  45. Genesee Hill
    Member Profile

    Genesee Hill

    Thank you for your comments, dhg. It is never fun to get nailed for speeding.

    In my case, I realized, after being VERY UPSET having been caught, that I had two choices:

    1) Make excuses.
    2) Pay the fine and re-double my efforts to ensure that I would not lose FOCUS while driving a motor vehicle.

    I chose the latter, angry, and with my tail between my legs. Knock on wood that I keep that focus. You, of course, can do whatever you want.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  46. rockergirl5678
    Member Profile

    The school is actually located on Myrtle and 34th not 35th - kids load in cars in the parking lots not on 35th. Parents turn left across two lanes of traffic coming and going in and out of the lots so it makes it a little safer for them to get in and out of the area. Other than that I do not really see any reason to have a school zone sign or reduced speed zone there in my opinion. It is there now though so make sure not to speed or risk paying an outrageous $189 fee for doing so.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  47. I'm against these speed cameras myself but I'm wondering what the reaction would be if it was an actual police officer who pulled the OP over and issued a ticket?

    It could, of course, be argued that a police officer may not have bothered pursuing someone going 5 miles over but what if it actually happened? Would the reaction be the same? Just curious.

    When police cars stake out the school zone by Arbor Heights Elementary, they often do brisk business. People zoom by that section all the time. There are no trees obstructing the lights, etc. - I think people may just tend to not pay attention to them.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  48. diane2726
    Member Profile

    It is a school zone.. school zones you drive 20 MPH. You got nailed there..pay the ticket. It stinks that the ticket is so much. But, children do cross 35th to get to OLG. Kids do walk too and from school on 35th. Mine included..For the safty of my children (who are at OLG) and the safty of ALL CHILDREN- pls slow down. The camera was request..they finally got one installed. Not just OLG kids..there is also public school one block in..I would rather slow down then hit some kid or adult who is droping their kids off at school. Just my opinion..

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  49. Corrections to my earlier post (#37):

    ► The view of the photo is looking north from Othello toward Myrtle.

    ► Myrtle (where the kids cross with a light and a crosswalk) is well within the school speed zone.

    *************************************************************************************

    People definitely do cross 35th at the crosswalk on 35th at Myrtle.

    People may also be crossing 35th at other places, too, but they really shouldn't be. It isn't safe.

    Posted 1 year ago #         
  50. DBP - I may have misinterpreted your earlier post (post #37), but isn't the Myrtle crossing within the school/20-mph zone? I think the southward school zone light is a little past Willow St when headed south. So folks headed south would need to slow down before Myrtle.

    I've seen some accidents there involving people attempting left turns and I've always been extra cautious there in general since there's a little less visibility due to it being the crest of the hill.

    I've also seen parents park on the west side of 35th & Myrtle and walk their kids across the intersection. So the school zone certainly helps for those cases.

    Posted 1 year ago #         

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