Red-light cameras coming to West Seattle


This just in from the city press-releases page: 35th/Thistle and 35th/Avalon will get cameras this year to snap photos of red-light runners. If you get caught, it’s a $124 fine (up from $101 last year). Specifically, at those intersections, the cameras will watch drivers heading south on 35th @ Thistle (above photo, right) and west on Avalon @ 35th (above photo, left). Full citywide list of present and future cameras here; map of West Seattle locations here:

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31 Replies to "Red-light cameras coming to West Seattle"

  • Eddie January 2, 2008 (12:36 pm)

    Will they ticket Metro Bus drivers too?

  • Bob Loblaw January 2, 2008 (12:38 pm)

    Amen, Eddie. And can we also get bus drivers off their cell phones while driving their routes? You would think this would be a no-no.

  • 34th and Thistle January 2, 2008 (12:46 pm)

    Couldn’t come soon enough! I catch the bus at 35th and Thistle, and have been nearly run over in that crosswalk and witnessed multiple car vs. car near-misses at speeds well over the posted 35. I’ve also seen people “avoid” a red at the new left-turn arrow by going straight through on green, then U-turning across 35th to head west on Thistle.

  • flowerpetal January 2, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    I suggest using the means available to commend or castigate Metro drivers. My Rte. 21 driver right now is really good, and I always feel safe with him.
    Call Metro at 553-3060 or online at

    And isn’t cell phone usage now a secondary offense? Its certainly something I would be calling Metro about; as well as suggesting to my fellow passengers to do the same.

  • Jack Loblaw January 2, 2008 (1:54 pm)

    Will the City of Seattle be paying for my car repair when I get rear ended while stopping at one of these intersections ? I wonder if there has been a study regarding increased accidents at a red light camera intersection ?

  • jb January 2, 2008 (2:18 pm)

    I would also like to see a “stop sign” running camera at California & Thistle!

  • cruiser January 2, 2008 (2:30 pm)

    Wow a whole $23 increase!! How about a $1,000 fine and/or impound the vehicle for a month?? Bet ya wouldn’t go through a red in a hurry again.

  • Christopher Boffoli January 2, 2008 (2:34 pm)

    Not sure if it was mentioned in the City’s press release, but there has been a dramatic decrease in accidents at the intersections where the cameras have been installed.

  • CMP January 2, 2008 (2:41 pm)

    Cell phone usage isn’t a secondary offense…it’s reading and writing text messages that will get you in trouble. Good luck to a police officer in proving that one though…all you have to do is hit exit and there’s no way of knowing what you were doing on your phone!

    Anyway, I hate the 35th & Thistle intersection, especially now that the green arrow lights were installed. This red light camera will just irritate me more, as I wait over a minute on eastbound Thistle for the light to change at 5:45 am when there are no other cars to be seen. You don’t know how many times I’ve been tempted to pull the u-turn maneuver mentioned above but have resisted the urge, surprisingly. The SDOT traffic engineers just ignore my requests for a sensor light during the wee hours. I know it’s only a minute of my time, but when technology can cut my wait down to ten seconds, I’d certainly appreciate it.

  • A.A. January 2, 2008 (2:48 pm)

    CMP, I agree with you. That left turn light is WAY too short, and should be on a sensor rather than a timer. I’ve sat at about 8th car back numerous times, and don’t make the light.

  • Sue January 2, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    I’m thrilled to see red light cameras being installed. There is way too much red light running in Seattle in general, and this might just get people to respect them a bit more.

  • flowerpetal January 2, 2008 (2:58 pm)

    Thanks CMP. You’re correct. As of January 1 (yesterday) reading and writing text messages is a secondary offense. However, cell phone usage or any wireless communication device usage will be illegal while driving beginning July 1, 2008. This is RCW 46.61.667 and does not include emergency vehicle drivers, hands-free modes, etc.

  • old timer January 2, 2008 (3:22 pm)

    They could do a better job of timing the lights, giving the advantage to people who travel at the limit rather than to those who travel at 10 or 15 mph over the limit.
    Travel at legal speed limit south on 35th,
    Stop @ Morgan light
    Stop @ Webster light
    Stop @ Holden light
    Stop @ Kenyon light
    Stop @ Thistle light (really cranky here)
    Stop @ Trenton light
    Stop @ Henderson light
    Stop @ Barton light
    Final stop @ Roxbury light.

    Where is our commitment to CO2 reductions with all this stopping and starting?
    What kind of a needless and capricious waste of our time and energy is this traffic scheduling for?
    Is it on purpose, to egg on the frustrated drivers into doing something not only unsafe, but remunerative to city coffers?


  • WSB January 2, 2008 (3:31 pm)

    JB – re: California/Thistle – us too. Just about every time on this site that we have ever mentioned getting nearly killed at an intersection by someone running a stop sign – that would be the intersection we alluded to. In particular, the people heading west on Thistle, turning north onto California, seem blind to the stop sign. However, our friendly neighborhood Seattle Police officers do show up from time to time to watch for these offenders, and we cheer to see every “catch.”

  • WestwoodWriter January 2, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    I agree with “old timer.” The City of Seattle has a LOT of NERVE installing red light penalties in a city where most of the traffic lights remain timed to retard the smooth flow of traffic! 35th and Delridge both “catch” drivers who travel the speed limit at every single light from the WS Bridge allll the way to White Center. And, I’m quite sure the city will not use the money to re-time the lights but instead the money will probably go toward a other stadium we don’t need. WHY does the city continue to refuse to re-time the traffic lights from 1970 traffic levels to 2008 traffic levels?!

  • Todd in Westwood/S.Delridge January 2, 2008 (4:11 pm)

    Speeder camera on Roxbury PLEASE!! I have people doing 45-55 mph most of the time and sometimes I can only guess they are doing 60+.

  • RS January 2, 2008 (4:32 pm)

    It is a beautiful thing to drive down 2nd ave downtown at a steady 25 miles an hour and watch the lights go green for you, one after another. Yes, I’m truly shocked (SHOCKED!) that the city hasn’t invested in this technology for West Seattle. Perhaps if someone could convince them that WS is part of Seattle and not actually a suburb of Burien…

  • m January 2, 2008 (5:30 pm)

    I don’t like the eastside much, but at least they install sensors for their traffic lights. And it can’t be that hard for the city to time the lights properly north-south bound on 35th and Delridge. As others have said, it’s a waste of time, gas and emissions. If it can be done on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Avenues downtown, it can surely be done in WS.

  • chas redmond January 2, 2008 (8:28 pm)

    Here’s an idea for folks who get nearly run down by red-light running or completely asleep-at-the-wheel vehicle drivers. Copy down their license number, make, model and color of their vehicle and let’s start a new Forum thread with published information about the bad drivers in the area. I’d have no compunction whatsoever in exposing these inattentive jerks who regularly threaten other people’s lives. Perhaps a neighbor will recognize a car and make some comment in person to those who get cited thusly. Public pressure and/or peer pressure can very often change behavior. What if it’s a guy and his wife sees their license number on the WSB? Anyway, it’s at least something proactive we could begin to do.

  • que January 2, 2008 (10:04 pm)

    I drive through the 35th and Thistle light frequently and since they installed the arrows only about 4 cars can get through on the left turn arrow going North on the green. Often one or two more sneaks through on the yellow, but I have often seen several cars head through the intersection after the arrow had fully turned red, just to avoid sitting through the light again. BE CAREFUL!! I will be more than happy for them to be getting tickets.

    I hope that this slows down some the the traffic at night, as people RACE down 35th and what sounds like attempts to break land-speed records. I swear I can hear the Doppler effect on some of these cars at night sometimes.

  • Jim January 2, 2008 (10:56 pm)

    The law as it stands, does not permit the issuance of a Red light camera violation, when the red light uses a red arrow instead of a round light. a loop hole if you will for Thistle street. I’m sure it will get closed before long.

    On a similar subject, free rights are allowed on a red arrow, provided it is at an intersection (duh). I have found many police who disagree with this. But state law says it must be posted no turn on red, or turn on green arrow only. That means you can take a free right at Fauntleroy to Alaska past the Schucks/hancock fabrics lot. Not that I would recommend it…..

  • Mags January 3, 2008 (6:18 am)

    And I am the pedestrian at Alaska and Fauntleroy walking with my walk sign and carefully stopping before I get to the last lane to be sure the jerk in that lane doesn’t run me over thinking that he can take a free right with his red arrow..(has happened nearly a dozen times.) They always seem surprised that there is a pedestrian there. I work near one of the red light cameras at Fairview and Denny and I only wish they would add one to Denny and Stewart (not on the list)where cars gun at the red light and you count to 3 before crossing the street. It has made a huge difference at Fairview and Denny. Not just for red light runners but also for the people who get stuck in the interesection and no cars or pedestrians can get through. Yes, Metro buses are some of the worst offenders all through downtown, both blocking interesections and running red lights. All you have to do is take down the bus number, route number and the time and send an email to metro. They do respond. Bottom line, maybe we are all just too rushed.

  • CMP January 3, 2008 (8:40 am)

    I’ve said this before but I think every driver in Washington would benefit from a review of the driver’s manual. We should be retested every five years to make sure people actually know what road signs mean or when a car can turn at an intersection if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. It’s not rocket science! And I love the idea of posting the bad drivers on the blog…I wouldn’t be surprised if my defensive driving skills were considered dangerous by a “good” driver out there :) Anyone who sits at a red light with their hands on the steering wheel at 2 and 10 is a bad driver in my book. Loosen up!

  • AltRoute January 3, 2008 (8:51 am)

    JB and WSB and all… rather than driving Thistle Street to get between 35th and California, take Holden. You never have a back-up of six cars to turn, like there always seems to be at the Thistle/California intersection. It’s the same size street as Thistle, hardly ever has traffic, you can turn right (south) onto 35th from a red light, and best of all, in the winter, when everyone seems determined to spin their car out of control and/or get stuck in the snow on Thistle’s hill, Holden’s hill is so much more gradual you don’t have the problem.

  • Jen V. January 3, 2008 (10:55 am)

    What I would like to see is more care at the uncontrolled intersections. I stop and look at every uncontrolled intersection EVERY TIME but only because I was a claims adjuster for a few years and handled FAR too many claims resulting from those types of accidents. I can’t tell you how many times I see people blowing thru uncontrolled intersections at 35-40 mph without even looking. (That, and the idiots pulling out from Jefferson Square Safeway without even looking to see if there is any traffic….)Needless to say, my brakes and horn get a great workout in WS on a daily basis. FYI: The person to the right at an uncontrolled intersection has the right of way, and the speed limit on Seattle residential streets is 25.

  • RS January 3, 2008 (11:34 am)

    Thanks for pointing out the right on red arrow law Jim!! I’ve been accused of being a inconsiderate and impatient east coast driver when really it’s just that I know the rules of the road and know that I don’t have to sit there when there’s no traffic just because there’s an arrow. And yes, I always yield to and look out for pedestrians so I’m not that jerk trying to kill Mags.

  • Trace January 3, 2008 (4:35 pm)

    I work downtown and see cars needlessly running red lights every day –it’s a wonder more peds aren’t run down. It’s a pet peeve so in general I support this program. BUT has anyone ever tried to make that left from westbound Avalon onto 35th anywhere in the 3-7pm window? If you don’t pull out into the intersection and turn through on the red you’ll never get through at all. It’s still one or 2 cars per light cycle. How about a left turn arrow along with the camera then?

  • dinolicious January 4, 2008 (7:27 am)

    AltRoute: Please don’t advise people to drive Holden. The street is getting very dangerous from the amount of traffic on it plus the 128 bus. It is impossible at times for me to turn onto my street. There are also cars speeding on Holden and with very few traffic lights you can imagine what the situation has become. On New Years Eve there was an accident and the car on Holden was going very fast. I stood there and thought the car was going to hit my fence! Luckily the guy had good brakes. Also, there are alot of pedestrians walking their dogs and trying to cross the street. So please, please, please, we don’t need anymore traffic on Holden!

  • m January 4, 2008 (4:37 pm)

    Holden is a lot faster than Thistle. Sorry dino but I’ll take whatever route is faster. But, I promise to obey the speed limit and leave your fence alone!

  • Justin Shaw February 22, 2008 (8:44 am)

    Slow it down people, There is a reason for the red light cams. When I was 13 years old, I witnessed a fatal accident on 20th & Roxbury, shortly after a signal light was installed. I would hate to see that happen to anyone ever again. So slow your roll! Thanks

  • Luke March 25, 2008 (10:51 am)

    How many people have seen Metro busses running red lights and where?

Sorry, comment time is over.