BACK TO SCHOOL: New speed-enforcement cameras on Delridge

So now that we know Seattle Public Schools will start classes on Thursday … one reminder: There’s a new speed-ticket camera zone in West Seattle, on Delridge Way SW by the home of Louisa Boren STEM K-8 and interim home of Arbor Heights Elementary.

Before the strike pushed back the start date, we had been trying to get specifics from SDOT verifying the grace period when only warnings would be handed out, as was done when the new cameras on Roxbury were put in last year, but never received an answer (we’ll be checking again tomorrow). In June, they said it would be a 30-day grace period starting September 9th, which of course was supposed to be the first day of school.

This makes four speed-ticket-camera zones in West Seattle – the other three are along Fauntleroy Way SW near Gatewood Elementary and along SW Roxbury by Roxhill Elementary and Holy Family School. The times when beacons are supposed to be flashing at those schools and others in West Seattle (plus the rest of the city) are listed on this SDOT document; for a map showing only the schools with speed-enforcement cameras here and around the city, go here.

35 Replies to "BACK TO SCHOOL: New speed-enforcement cameras on Delridge"

  • Panda September 15, 2015 (9:55 pm)

    *like* I am all for this in a School Zone.

  • WSDad September 15, 2015 (10:27 pm)

    Log me in as a “like” as well. People in West Seattle need to slow down in general, and having a camera in place to photo enforce school zone speed limits is absolutely necessary.

  • Alan September 15, 2015 (11:00 pm)

    I like this as well. I would like one up on 16th at Myrtle. Too many people fly on both streets, passing on the right on 16th, passing in the turn lane on Delridge, tailgating on both, endangering everyone not in a tank, and flying when there is no traffic to impede them. Those drivers will show up soon to claim this is a tax being inflicted illegally on them.

  • Kadoo September 16, 2015 (12:25 am)

    And one more on 35th Ave SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe School. Lots of speeders have gotten fined on that one.

    • WSB September 16, 2015 (12:41 am)

      If anyone gets a ticket there, it’s the speed van that debuted in 2008 (though I’m not certain it’s still in operation) – no fixed camera there.

  • Born on Alki 59 September 16, 2015 (7:18 am)

    Fyi, 21 mph will cost you $189. Several of our employees have received tickets at 21-22 mph. Vehicle speedometers can be off by 5% and considered “normal” by the manufacturer. It is no defense in traffic court. Go under 20 to avoid the ticket.

  • Brian September 16, 2015 (8:23 am)

    I’m all for speed zones around schools but that is 12 words spread out across 5 distinct signs. That’s a lot of signs.

  • Chad September 16, 2015 (9:29 am)

    This is great! I am all for putting these in and putting them in as many places as possible, not just near schools. However, I don’t think tickets should be given out if someone is going 1 MPH over. As previously mentioned, a speedometer can be off by nearly that much. Perhaps 22 MPH, maybe 23 MPH.

  • Alan September 16, 2015 (9:31 am)

    As much as I agree with having the cameras, I have assumed that there was a little leeway given on speed. One mile an hour over seems a little tight, especially considering it is the same camera fine for the person doing 45. When you are shooting for 20, it is pretty easy to drift between 19 and 21. I guess I will be shooting for 19.
    The good news on the speedometer accuracy is that they are nearly always off in a way that will prevent you from getting a ticket, barring your putting larger than original tires on your car. Do a search on “speedometer accuracy” or read this (yes, fairly old) article from Car and Driver.

  • Cynical girl September 16, 2015 (10:53 am)

    I am one of those “speeders” (55 on marginal and why 99, 40 everywhere else) and I promise I will slow down and obey when everyone else stops using their phone while driving. Veering into my lane and hitting the brakes hard when there’s no traffic makes me want to get away from you asap.

  • WestSeattleEast September 16, 2015 (10:54 am)

    Do these cameras have a shared revenue model like the red light cameras where Phoenix-based ATS gets a monthly management fee? I’d also be interested in seeing the stats from other WS school cams and whether there has been a significant decrease in collisions in those areas.

    Considering almost 80% of people just pay the fines, it seems like it may be more about money than safety. I looked through some old WSB articles and, even a few years ago, people in the comments were talking about the tickets they received for going 21 or 22 mph and just paid the fine.

  • dhg September 16, 2015 (11:18 am)

    The city needs to fix their signage. The speed trap on Fauntleroy, for instance, deploys yellow blinking lights just like the CONSTANTLY BLINKING yellow lights a few feet away that tell you to look out for pedestrians.
    I also think $189 is way too much for a first time offender.

    • WSB September 16, 2015 (11:36 am)

      I believe it’s $201 this year, as the state raised a variety of fines by $12 as of July.

  • anonyme September 16, 2015 (12:04 pm)

    Please put these everywhere – especially on 35th, and not just in school zones.

  • Dave September 16, 2015 (12:13 pm)

    Speed bumps/traffic circles are more effective if they want people to slow down. Much cheaper also, but they don’t generate revenue for downtown and that is what is driving these cameras. Why don’t we just have DOT drones flying at all times so if we ever break ANY rules we can instantly be fined. I’m all for protecting the kids but this is a solution looking for a problem. I can’t recall any kids being hit by speeders in recent memory if ever. All of the cameras are beginning to become excessive. Really love the single lanes on 35th also. Another bright idea from a new to Seattle bureaucrat who has arrived to save us from ourselves.

    • WSB September 16, 2015 (12:26 pm)

      Dave, (A) There are four speed cameras in West Seattle now, out of 16 school zones. (b) Yes, kids have been hit by drivers. An incident in High Point comes to mind. I’ll pull up the link when I can; we’re heading out on a story. (c) Speed bumps and traffic circles aren’t allowed on major arterials, which Roxbury, Delridge, and Fauntleroy (locations of the now-4 cameras) are.

  • Heidi A September 16, 2015 (12:22 pm)

    In response to the comment that it’s about the money not safety, no, that’s not true. It was the parents and staff who asked the City to come study the situation. They spent weeks observing Delridge, documented the very dangerous speeding and use of the turn lane on Delridge and agreed with our plea for the camera. We are starting our 4th year at Boren, yet people still weren’t getting the message that it’s a school zone. The penalty is a way to bring that message home. We use to go to gatewood and the camera on Fauntleroy has reduced speeding/increased safety there.

  • Heidi A September 16, 2015 (12:56 pm)

    I’m glad we didn’t have to wait for a kid to get hit to get improvements, though we saw a lot near misses. One of the problems is drivers going north who decide to use the turn lane to pass those doing the speed limit. That has caused some near head on collisions with cars facing south waiting to turn into the parking lot. So, here’s an idea: go the speed limit during school hours,

  • Joe Szilagyi September 16, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    We need one on 35th/104th and one at 35th/100th. The former is where Arbor Heights elementary is and at the latter lots of kids get off buses, as well as passengers from the 21x, and it’s always like trying to cross a NASCAR track.

  • Mickymse September 16, 2015 (1:51 pm)

    All the words and signs are because people who were caught speeding got off on a technicality in the law that specifies how things have to be worded in order for the ticket to be lawful under state law.

  • j September 16, 2015 (2:56 pm)

    Bad economics for this Seattle. We are shipping millions of dollars out of state to Arizona to ATS.
    Millions collected so far. Money was to be used solely for improving safety in the area where the money was received. There have been zero changes! Where’s the money? How much is in h the mystery account now? Months after Gatewood camera installed wsb reported 800,000 projected 5,000,000 collected. That has been years now. Where’s the money, how much is it, and where is it intended to be used?
    Why are there no blinking lights when you enter from the side street into the roxbury camera zone. Isn’t that illegal?
    Where can we find info on this and who is our person to contact at sdot?
    Is ATS fined when cameras issue tickets during times when they are not supposed to be on?
    Bad economics!

    • WSB September 16, 2015 (3:09 pm)

      J – Brian Dougherty is the SDOT manager of Safe Routes to School – the camera enforcement is under SPD but aspects of their installation and use is certainly part of SRTS. – However, it’s not true that there’ve been “zero changes.” You can see the Safe Routes to School projects by going here – – TR

      • WSB September 16, 2015 (3:19 pm)

        Re: revenue – this is the most recent doc I’ve found so far – will try looking for something newer a bit later but have to take a break right now to write a short story.

        Seattle expects to generate $8.6 million in revenues in 2014 from school zone camera citations. The 2014 Proposed Budget reinvests all of these proceeds back into the school zone camera program, including $7.1 million into pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements – such as curb bulbs, street crossing improvements, and installation and repair of sidewalks – near schools throughout Seattle, as well as maintains school zone warning beacons. The following schools will benefit from infrastructure improvements in 2014:
        • Arbor Heights Elementary
        School (ES)
        • Bailey Gatzert ES
        • Broadview Thomson K-8 School
        • Bryant ES
        • Eckstein Middle School
        • John Rogers ES
        • McDonald
        International School
        • Nathan Hale High School
        • Olympic View ES
        • Sacajawea ES
        • Thornton Creek ES
        • Wedgwood ES
        The remaining citation revenues support program operating costs, including leasing the cameras.

        • WSB September 16, 2015 (3:22 pm)

          From the 2015-2016 budget. Use the dropdown when you get to the page.

          • WSB September 16, 2015 (3:55 pm)

            And one last response to J – Regarding what ATS is being paid, this is from a story about a year ago by the Seattle Times’ transportation reporter Mike Lindblom (whose work I do trust, and not because he’s also a West Seattleite) – “School-zone speed cameras brought the city $6.9 million last year — far more than expected. Seattle’s 2014 budget anticipates $8.6 million. About $1.5 million covers court, police and camera costs, including $38,000 a month to Arizona-based ATS. That leaves $7.1 million earmarked for sidewalks, bicycling, and education.” Currently tracking the ATS contract, will add link when I find it.

  • anonyme September 16, 2015 (2:57 pm)

    Joe, the crossing ramp at 35th & 100th, recently installed by SDOT, is a death trap for pedestrians – which is why all of them headed further south cross mid-block at the bus stop around the corner on 100th. Incredibly poor placement, hidden behind a pole, a sign, and a large pine, at a sloped corner where vehicles accelerate into the turn. Genius.

  • Josh September 16, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    If you live on a side street, you’ll see me. I take the side streets around the cameras always. For two reasons: 1) I don’t trust my speedometer and/or camera calibration, 2) when I go 15mph, there’s ALWAYS people right on my bumper. Real safe idea to have these cameras everywhere!!!

  • Kimmy September 16, 2015 (4:05 pm)

    I believe Dave is talking about speeders, rather than just drivers, WSB. Important when distinguishing potential causes and discussing traffic issues. I think the child that was hit near Lafayette, for example, was hit by a woman on a phone. Cameras only address speed and red lights, as I understand it. Lots of issues to factor in regarding safety for our drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

    • WSB September 16, 2015 (4:39 pm)

      That wasn’t the one I was thinking of; I was thinking of one on 35th in High Point back around the time of the first wave of safety rallies. Just back from observing 35th near Trenton for a while while waiting to see what would happen with a damaged truck blocking the southbound lane, I wonder if there are stats about whether inattention is more likely the faster you go or the lower you go. Certainly the major point of the city’s campaign is that whatever the reason someone hits you, if they hit you at a slower speed, you’re more likely to survive. The Lafayette crash you mention (final reports on traffic incidents are hard to get so I don’t know how it eventually was ruled), blessedly, did not result in serious injuries, I’m reminded by having brought up the story from that day. – TR

  • duckduckgoose September 16, 2015 (4:51 pm)

    Only folks I see driving fast here are usually the parents, desperate to get in and out of the parking lot through the 20 mph parade.

  • mrseattle September 17, 2015 (9:55 am)

    Please note the school hours at STEM are 9:30-3:40. Three years ago when the school first opened, I was driving by on a Tuesday morning at 9:20 and was pulled over for speeding. When I asked the motorcycle officer how fast I was going, he said 37 mph. I was surprised he pulled me over for only 2 mph over the limit. Three years ago, flashing lights had not yet been installed and I did not realize the school had such a late start. My children start school at 8:25. I asked the officer for a warning and was told “no Mam, not in a school zone”. Beware of the late start time as well as the release time. This knowledge could spare you $189!

  • j September 17, 2015 (12:34 pm)

    WSB Tracy, thank you for all of the info and research!

    38,000 a month doesn’t sound that bad. But 456,000 dollars a year does. We are sending our money 1400 miles away.

    Don’t get me wrong. I want every single speeder in a school zone caught and fined. We can do it with people. Make the fine $500 if need be. Get motorists attention. Every school zone could have multiple police officers with radar guns then a “car corral” and line up every single speeding car and make them wait their turn to get their $500 ticket. You can get drunk and un-licensed and uninsured drivers of the road too. You then created jobs in your community. Those people that have those jobs then spend that money at your cafe, gas station, salon, mechanic etc.

    Still wondering why there are no blinking lights at the end of the school zone. This would clearly mark where the school zone ends and continually remind people that they are in a school zone.

    Looking forward to asking Brian Dougherty about these concerns and hopefully we can truly make the school zones safer.

  • Kimmy September 17, 2015 (4:57 pm)


    Very great points. I have also asked for more in-person enforcement, as I know others have here for all traffic issues, and never received a response back from the city. Enforcement of our traffic laws and rules is one of the most grating issues for me as a resident here. I think a flashing light at the end of school zones would be great too–I’m always searching for that “back of the sign” across a roadway when I’m driving to make sure I’m in the clear–tricky on wide and busy roads such as Delridge and 35th, not to mention harder if trees or other structures obstruct.

  • Dede September 18, 2015 (1:10 pm)

    If the lights are not turned on or off during school hours am I still responsible to know when schools are in session? I have seen the one by Lafayette school flashing on a Sun. night. Can I get a ticket then? In fairness it should just be I”when lights are flashing”

  • freecitizen September 21, 2015 (10:35 am)

    The ‘school-zone’ cameras are just a money maker for the city. If the idea is to keep children safe, it isn’t clear. Where is the parental guidance, leave it to the police.School zones should be around schools, not two or three blocks away.? I have children and tell them to watch for cars, buckle-up and not run into the street. Why not reduce the speed limit to ten MPH and restrict cars from going over 30 mph anywhere, period. In a growing city, we should outlaw cars and make everyone use skateboards or tricycles, or better yet, rollerskates.

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