Our full report on tonight’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting will be out tomorrow, but first, here’s the most interesting thing we heard: Police “recently” busted dozens of drivers for trying to evade the low-bridge enforcement cameras by removing or obscuring their license plates. During SDOT‘s briefing for the CTF, one slide revealed these datapoints about the operation:
• Heard from community and observed unauthorized drivers crossing the low bridge with missing or obstructed plates during restricted hours
• Recent 3-day enforcement resulted in 47 license plate citations given, with a $231 fine
• SPD is periodically at the low bridge to enforce and reduce this type of illegal action and ensure adequate room on the low bridge for transit, freight, emergency vehicles, and authorized users
Bridge program director Heather Marx said those “three days” were more like a.handful of hours spread across three days. She called the violations “outrageous. … This is wrong and if you know (someone) who is doing this, tell them THIS IS WRONG.” Task Force co-chair Greg Nickels suggested making photos of the plates-not-visible violators public. Marx said that wouldn’t be legal, under the state law that authorized the enforcement cameras. State House Rep. Eileen Cody noted that she recalled that legislators were concerned about privacy when considering that legislation. Another elected official on the CTF, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, suggested the city should ask the court not to let drivers argue down the fine for these violations – “they are intentionally doing a thing to obscure themselves from enforcement of the law and I don’t think the magistrate should be reducing the tickets for those folks.” We’ll be following up to see if more information is available about how many vehicles have been tallied with missing or unreadable plates.