What the speeders are up to: West Seattle’s latest roundup results

We haven’t heard much about them in a while, but the Seattle Police Aggressive Driver Response Team is still out there, patroling for speeders and other violators. Their latest weekly roundup includes a multitude of West Seattle results, from school zones to Admiral Way to the “high bridge” and beyond, including a 70-mph ticket along the way – read on!

Roxhill Elementary:
40 mph
38 mph
37 mph
36 mph (three)
35 mph (two)
34 mph
30 mph (two)
32 mph (two)
29 mph (three)
28 mph
Other: 5 – insurance, 1 – cellphone, 1 – driving w/suspended license

Arbor Heights Elementary:
35 mph
31 mph
28 mph
Other: 2 – cellphone, 1- expired tabs

Highland Park Elementary:
36 mph
32 mph (two)
29 mph
Other: 1 – cellphone

Sanislo Elementary:
37 mph
35 mph
30 mph
29 mph
Other: 3 – insurance, 1 – cellphone


West Marginal Way SW (40 mph speed zone):
67 mph
55 mph (two)
54 mph
53 mph (five)
52 mph (two)
51 mph (four)
Other: 3 – insurance, 1 – cellphone

Highland Park Way SW: (30 mph zone)
51 mph
49 mph (two)
48 mph (three)
47 mph (three)
46 mph (seven)
45 mph (four)
Other: 4 – insurance; 1 – failure to register out-of-state plate

West Seattle Bridge (highrise): (45 mph zone)
70 mph
69 mph
67 mph
63 mph
61 mph

SW Admiral Way: (30 mph zone)
50 mph (two)
49 mph
47 mph (five)
46 mph
45 mph (four)
44 mph (two)
43 mph (two)
Other: 2 – insurance, 2 – equipment violations

NOT WEST SEATTLE BUT NOTEWORTHY: A motorcycle going 84 mph in a 40 zone on Aurora north of the Battery Street Tunnel.

45 Replies to "What the speeders are up to: West Seattle's latest roundup results"

  • coffee June 19, 2012 (12:58 pm)

    Are city and county drivers exempt from getting tickets? I have experienced several city and county cars/trucks going way over the speed limit lately.

  • Bostonman June 19, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    West Marginal Way doesn’t surprise me. The place is a dragstrip

  • Rumbles June 19, 2012 (1:56 pm)

    Bookem’ Danno!! Sweet! There is lots of “low hanging fruit” in the Spokane Street Viaduct 25 mph zone. Double fines, it’s a work zone! I wonder what a 51 mph there would be….

  • jsw June 19, 2012 (1:59 pm)

    Sure wish they would patrol the bridge at 5:00am when almost every morning I get rear-ended for going the speed limit…

  • VBD June 19, 2012 (2:33 pm)

    @jsw, the reality is that in most cases, you will not be stopped for speeding on the highway if you are going less than 10 mph over. In fact, if everyone is going 10 over and you are the only one at the speed limit, it may be safer to speed up a little.

    I’m not saying speeding is “OK”, only that safety is very important too, and maintaining a speed equal to the flow of traffic is safer than being a potential rear-ender.

    Hopefully you are staying in the right lane.

  • kj June 19, 2012 (2:49 pm)

    Is it legal to do a u-turn in WS?
    I almost was crashed into at the junction when a pick-up driver parked the other way, across the street, pulled out suddenly and did a u-turn as I was pulling out of my parking space . He had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me. Is this ok now? I see it ALL the time on California Ave. My sister got a nasty ticket for doing this years ago. ???

  • BJF June 19, 2012 (2:54 pm)

    Did the SPD get their quota? I would like to see them more focused on preventing home robberies and stolen cars.

  • BretM June 19, 2012 (3:01 pm)

    For KJ from the times a few years ago.

    “In 1997, the State of Washington changed a number of codes including the U-turn provisions, and in 1998, the City of Seattle changed its code to more closely reflect the updates to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). As a result, the State of Washington now allows U-turns ‘made in safety’ at intersections unless they are explicitly prohibited (Seattle Municipal Code (SMC )11.55.120, RCW 46.61.295),” said Eric Widstrand, traffic engineer with the Seattle Department of Transportation.

    “Both the City and State codes now permit U-turns at intersections so long as it does not interfere with other traffic. Both codes removed the restrictions on U-turns from left turn lanes so long as there was at least 500 feet of visibility in each direction. The Washington Drivers Guide includes these changes and can be downloaded in PDF format at http://www.dol.wa.gov .”

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/Getting-There-Are-U-turns-legal-at-intersections-1305465.php#ixzz1yHOtHXqZ

  • owen June 19, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    Within the City of Seattle you can make a U-turn as long as “it can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic.” SMC 11.55.120 spells it out, basically adopting state code.
    SMC 11.55.120 – U turns — Restrictions.
    No person shall make a U turn unless such movement can be made in safety and without interfering with other traffic. No person shall make a U turn on any curve, or on the approach to or near the crest of a grade, unless the vehicle can be seen by the drivers of all other vehicles approaching from both directions within five hundred (500) feet. (RCW 46.61.295)

  • Christopher Boffoli June 19, 2012 (3:27 pm)

    BJF: I’d like to see more drivers obeying the laws so the Seattle Police wouldn’t have to work so hard to enforce them. Speed is a factor in the millions of annual car accidents (and 30,000+ annual fatalities) in the US which costs our economy billions.

  • I. Ponder June 19, 2012 (3:34 pm)

    I wish people would stop yacking on their cell phones while driving. It appears every other driver is still doing it despite it being against the law. I don’t think the ban is being enforced.

    It’s distracted driving and cell phone yakkers are unaware that they are driving impaired.

  • Rick June 19, 2012 (3:39 pm)

    West Marginal is a dragstrip. At least it was 40 years ago when I was in high school.

    • WSB June 19, 2012 (3:41 pm)

      We sometimes tweet scanner calls of note in the middle of the night as one-liners; one such, a few nights ago, was a police response to W. Marginal for “racers.” – TR

  • VBD June 19, 2012 (3:44 pm)

    As a cyclist who rides Fauntleroy past Lincoln park, I can assure you that there is ample opportunity for ticketing the numb-skulls who make u-turns into the ferry line. What they’ll do is move to the right, then, as fast as possible, whip to the left to beat the cars in line approaching from the other way. If any bicycles or street crossing pedestrians are nearby, they are on their own. The driver’s only concern is getting that spot in line. How about we get a u-turn cop there from 3:30 to 7:00 every day??

  • Coyote June 19, 2012 (3:49 pm)

    I’m really glad to see that they are enforcing the cell phone law. Whenever I see somebody do something stupid in their car, about a quarter of the time they are on the phone.
    I’ve been a pizza delivery driver in west Seattle for about a year, I know.

  • Danny June 19, 2012 (4:18 pm)

    Christopher Boffoli … Of all the studies I’ve looked for I think the highest percentage I have found for accidents where excessive speed was the primary factor was around 2.4%. It’s been a few years since I looked that up, but it is still insanely low. Actually, inadequate speed was a greater factor than excessive speed.

    WS Bridge should be 60MPH at least, anything less is ludicrous. There needs to be stiffer penalties for failing to signal lane changes and distracted driving, before they crack down on the average commuter trying to shave 10 minutes off their drive.

  • Steve June 19, 2012 (4:41 pm)

    Highland Park Way and SW Admiral between Luna Park and the viewpoint are ridiculous at the posted 30mph! Have you tried doing 30 down Highland Park? You need a friggin’ anchor dragging behind you to go that slow down that hill! ;-)

  • LE June 19, 2012 (4:58 pm)

    Danny – of course the “primary” factor is going to be something else – a lane change, a distracted driver, a raccoon, debris in the road, ice, water, dui – but the speed limits are designed so that drivers operating at the speed limit can safely react to those other causes.

    And the Bridge? 60 mph for a limit would be absurdly high. Because at one end the road turns into a city street with a stop light and a 30 mph limit, and at the other end it turns into a road with narrow lane and 35 mph limit (currently 25 for construction). And since acceleration and deceleration are supposed to be done smoothly, the bit of roadway in the middle where you could be at top speed would be very short. And that’s not even conting the merging traffic.

  • boy June 19, 2012 (5:23 pm)

    We need blinker police. You would think that the most expensive option on a car in seattle is the blinker. I mean nobody seams to have one. But I tell you this everybody had the money for those extra bright fog lights. They seem to be on no matter what the weather is like. I followed a brand new audi to the gas station one morning and when I told him that it is to bad with a bran new car that his lights don’t work he ask which one I said I look to see and told him to try his blinker. He then told me to f off. I thought it was kind of funny.

  • JeriO June 19, 2012 (5:31 pm)

    WSB and other commenters: Who can we contact to request an officer to assess the speed in another area of West Seattle? SW 106th Street is a main arterial to get in and out of Arbor Heights. Between 39th and 35th is a nice long hill and it’s easy to see why people drive too fast. I know some neighborhoods use the digital speed signs and have other ways to help slow drivers down. Do you have a contact that our neighbors can call and request assistance? The neighborhood has lots of kids and pets and only one sidewalk so it’s not as safe as it could be. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  • Christopher Boffoli June 19, 2012 (5:34 pm)

    Danny: I’m sure you can find statistics on the Internet to prove whatever point you want to make. But reliable sources (including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) always include speed as one of the top five factors in US accidents. When you drive faster it reduces your reaction time, as well as that of other drivers. Speeding also exponentially increases the physics at work when your car hits something, raising the potential for more damage to the vehicles and more severe injuries.
    The stupid thing too is if you crunch the numbers, speeding does very little in terms of getting you anywhere significantly faster while simultaneously burning excessive amounts of fuel and putting you and other drives at risk.

  • West Seattleite June 19, 2012 (5:56 pm)

    One of the great pleasures of West Seattle life is seeing the speeders getting nailed. Love it.

  • EF June 19, 2012 (6:01 pm)

    Years ago that spot on 106th was a common spot to see an officer with radar. Haven’t seen one there in a long time though. To the earlier posts about u-turns, I don’t think you can do a u-turn mid block. But I know you can do them in uncontrolled intersections of 2 lane roads, I remember practicing on the side streets in drivers ed. I got a ticket one time for pulling out from a parking spot on California to go the opposite direction. No one was around, so I went for it. Recently I saw someone do that literally in front of a cop and didn’t even get pulled over.

  • Plain Sight June 19, 2012 (6:49 pm)

    American car culture is a holocaust and the mass hysteria around it is terrifying. The fact that most people don’t even realize that it’s happening, and those that do equate the loss of life with financial figures is the worst part about it.

  • mike June 19, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    Get off my lawn!

  • JayDee June 19, 2012 (7:17 pm)


    I still respect you for being my former bacon dealer, but the whole point of “speeding” down Admiral or Highland Park Way is that whoever set 30 MPH as the downhill speed limit was smoking something. And there is no waste of resources except brake pads and tempers when doing 30 MPH down the hill. It would be easier if folks would lay off the brake or use the gears to assist and go a dangerous 35 MPH…OK, 50 MPH would be too much but 30 MPH is stupid.

  • islewrite June 19, 2012 (7:42 pm)

    Just to clarify: The officers on the speeding patrols are a separate entity (and division) entirely from the SW Precinct officers investigating robberies and break-ins. Their presence doesn’t compromise the number of officers on our local beats.

  • miws June 19, 2012 (7:43 pm)

    BJF, are you going to feel the same way when some Kindergartner gets nailed by some moron doing 40 mph in a school zone?


    Danny, are the accidents that are “caused” by the slower (going the speed limit, or a tad under) drivers their fault, or is it the fault of the excessive speeders tailgating them, cutting them off, and otherwise driving aggressively?



  • Christopher Boffoli June 19, 2012 (7:51 pm)

    JayDee: How long is that hill? Is it even a mile? You’re telling me that you can’t slow your roll for the 90 seconds it takes to go down the hill at 30MPH? The amount of time you’d gain by going 60MPH down that hill is de minimis when you take into the account the average length of a typical Seattle commute. So then it all becomes about what FEELS better to people, because you’re not saving any measurable amount of time and you’re increasing your risk of serious injury if something unexpected does happen. You apparently have great taste in bacon but you’re not making a convincing case that obeying the posted speed limit down that hill is an actual hardship. :-)

  • Heather June 19, 2012 (8:19 pm)

    And at this point I’d like to say that I’d rather be on a light rail train departing from West Seattle than driving: stuck behind a bus, detoured by construction, in grid lock due to a visual distraction on the side of the road, watching someone eat a bowl of cereal in their car when I’m in stop and go bridge traffic or wondering how to get back to West Seattle when the bridge is closed at night…but if I ruled the world things would be different…

  • Wat? June 19, 2012 (9:15 pm)

    Being a motorcycle rider ( many of us on this blog as well as West Seattle ) I can attest to the fact that majority of people have a hard time with the basic concepts of driving. I’m sure multitasking is a premium as well as I cannot count the number of times careless joe/suzie in their suburban assault vehicle weave in and out of their lane, don’t know how to use a blinker, rides the next cars butt, doing everything in the car – except for actually paying attention to their driving. It’s ridiculous. The driving test/process should should be like much of Europe where it is harder to get and you have to jump through several more hoops in order to get one.

    Still tempted to get a go-pro and begin posting daily videos of the circus that we call a roadway.

  • WSB June 19, 2012 (10:13 pm)

    JeriO: Sounds like you might want to contact the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Control Program – here’s a link or two:

  • CB June 20, 2012 (6:24 am)

    Imagine if SPD put this much effort into protecting our homes and property… but they won’t as there is no financial benefit to the city. Revenue (tax collecting) is SPD highest priority, not public safety.

    Don’t believe me? Check out the crime statistics for West Seattle. It’s alarming.

  • Danny June 20, 2012 (6:51 am)

    “by the slower (going the speed limit, or a tad under) drivers their fault” I specifically said excessively under the speed limit.

    “of course the “primary” factor is going to be something else”

    Thank you for agreeing with me. Yes, most accidents are caused by people who cannot properly operate a vehicle.

    Most of these speed limits were put in place many years ago. At the time a lot of that occurred, the technology in cars was vastly inferior to what is now. Breaking time for one has been decreased drastically for the common automobile.

    Yes I can find plenty of studies on the internet. But those studies came from somewhere else. Didn’t the state of montana not have a speed limit on highways for a while? Anyone want to guess if the fatality rates were lower or higher during that period.

    I have no problem if someone wants to drive the speed limit. Just don’t pretend that those of us who go over are crazed animals, and dispel the myth that driving 10 over is dangerous.

    Oh, and 10 mph over the course of my commute is 10 minutes. And can be the difference between parking 5 minutes from my desk or 20 minutes from my desk. So sometimes, that extra bit does make a difference.

  • BJF June 20, 2012 (8:01 am)

    Mike – Do a lot of kindergartners walk across admiral way and the west seattle bridge? Haha.

  • Brad June 20, 2012 (8:50 am)

    I just want to say I agree with Danny 100%..I just don’t understand 45 on bridge and the ridiculous 30 on E Admiral. Delridge and 35th have a 35mph and much more congestion.

    Lets also make all drivers pass a REAL driving test before licensing.

  • boy June 20, 2012 (9:13 am)

    I would have no problem with a higher speed limt on admiral way down the hill. Theres nothing there. It is just a wide open two lane road. Why did they make it only 30mph? And to think the mayor wants to make all surface streets 25 mph. Personaly I think anybody that enters on to the road system is doing so at thier own risk.

  • anette June 20, 2012 (9:50 am)

    Perhaps we all need to remember what it means to hold a license, pretty sure it has something to do with agreeing to abide by the written, published rules of the road.
    I agree, going 30 up or down admiral seems absolutely ridiculous but b/c that’s what I agreed to (and to avoid a potential ticket) I am going to stay within the speed limit.
    And yes, at times 10 mi over the limit is unsafe. Tried pulling onto 35th at an area with limited site lately? Very unsafe.
    I drive a route a couple of times a week and from experience it is not uncommon that some hotshot goes flying past and a couple minutes later I’ll meet up with them at a stop light or such. Its frustrating b/c excessive speeding not only is unsafe but it messes up the flow of traffic.
    When you, speed racer, gas it and jump ahead of the pack w/your speeding, you fill the gap between packs of cars, making it difficult for oncoming cars to turn left. (btw, I am talking about in city driving NOT highway driving, which has different circumstances)
    Our road system works much better if everybody follows the rules that we previously agreed upon. Also, if a rule isn’t working or is antiquated then perhaps it can be petitioned for change?
    Just remember that when you signed for your license you gave your word to uphold an agreement.
    Or perhaps we only need to be true to our word when it suites us?

  • datamuse June 20, 2012 (1:31 pm)

    You know, I drive Highland Park Way every day, and every day I see something that would make appreciably raising the speed limit a bad idea. This morning, for instance, two people got off the bus on the western (upward-bound) side of the street and then had to run to get across to the sidewalk because the traffic was going so fast. This is just above what’s essentially a blind curve when going downhill.
    I could see raising the limit to 35, but then all the speeders would start going 55.

  • Christopher Boffoli June 20, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    Danny: What’s curious is that while improvements in technology (like traction control, anti-lock braking, blind spot sensors, airbags, etc.) have made cars essentially safer to operate, other technologies like smartphones have probably more than undone all the safety gains. Leave it to people to outmaneuver progress.
    Also, I don’t think that comparing high speed limits in virtually barren, rural stretches of Montana is really a fair comparison with the heavy urban traffic we have around Seattle. Pretty much every article I have seen about localities that are trying out higher freeway speed limits always has a traffic engineer conceding that when accidents do happen in these high speed limit areas the bodily injuries to drivers and passengers are more severe. Somehow I don’t think that fewer aggregate accidents with a higher percentage of fatalities is necessarily a win.

  • M. June 20, 2012 (10:18 pm)

    I really wish the SPD would enforce the expressway between the bridge and I-5 25mph speed limit. Even when I creep up to 30mph, I get the strangest negative reactions…
    As for Highland Park and Admiral Way, I for one have zero difficulty keeping my vehicle’s speed at 30mph, uphill or downhill.
    Not agreeing with the posted limits is not a valid reason to exceed it, and enforcment is a worthy use of our SPD.
    Totally agree with Wat?’s comments: in the central European country I regularly visit, getting a driver’s license is an expensive and time consuming endeavor. It seems here, once you’ve got your easy to get license, it’s do whatever one can get away with. Like not even attempting to stop stop signs…
    Please stop when required, be safe, and happy summer.

  • ME June 21, 2012 (6:10 am)

    Noticed nothing about 35th … have been noticing the “freeway” drivers again on my way to the Mount! I pray every time I need to make a left off 35th! Too many close calls with people speeding to get ahead of the “race” for the West Seattle Bridge! Come get ’em traffic patrol!

  • LE June 21, 2012 (10:42 am)

    Danny – 10mph over the course of your commute adds 10 minutes to your commute? This only makes mathematical sense if you work in Everett, and speed by 10mph the whole way.

  • Klause June 21, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    Just wish all the LAZY Drivers would park in the right direction….it’s getting hard to tell if the streets are just “one-way” anymore. If Seattle Parking Enforcement would just ticket theses cars, I’m sure Seattle would have a little income.

    RCW 46.61.575

    Additional parking regulations.

    (1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a two-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels parallel to and within twelve inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder.

    (2) Except when otherwise provided by local ordinance, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a one-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked parallel to the curb or edge of the roadway, in the direction of authorized traffic movement, with its right-hand wheels within twelve inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder, or with its left-hand wheels within twelve inches of the left-hand curb or as close as practicable to the left edge of the left-hand shoulder.

  • M. June 21, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    Amen, Klause.

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