Another new school-zone speed-enforcement camera in West Seattle

Thanks to Marco for the photo and tip – he spotted that camera installation this week on Fauntleroy Way SW near Fairmount Park Elementary. SDOT had not announced a school-zone speed-enforcement camera for that stretch of street; the only new one previously announced this year in West Seattle was added on 35th SW near Our Lady of Guadalupe just before school started. That was the first new one in West Seattle since Delridge Way SW by Louisa Boren STEM K-8 in 2015, which in turn followed cameras on Fauntleroy Way SW by Gatewood Elementary and on SW Roxbury by Holy Family School. Today, SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson confirmed the new installation when we asked: “We are planning to install new school-zone safety cameras at Fairmount Park Elementary in early 2022. We are installing some of the components now but are still working with Seattle City Light on the exact timing for the cameras to be activated.” He says no others are currently planned for West Seattle, but elsewhere in the city, new cameras are on the way near Garfield High School and South Shore PK-8. Current fine for a speed violation detected by one of these cameras is $237.

54 Replies to "Another new school-zone speed-enforcement camera in West Seattle"

  • Sarchka December 29, 2021 (10:10 pm)

    I got nailed by the one at Gatewood on Fauntleroy. $237 for going 27 instead of 20. Don’t get me wrong I am all for safety and slow speeds around schools but these cameras are so arbitrary. People go down every [unmonitored] side street (where there are more ped crossings anyways!) at 20+ …. Including my own street where just about every house has small kids living. We need a solution that enforces the speed limit more consistently around neighborhoods / school zones instead of one random spot near each school.  

    • Jort December 30, 2021 (12:16 am)

      Absolutely, which is why there should be speed cameras on every block on every street in this entire city, and state law should be changed to require registered vehicle owners to be responsible for all fines accrued with their vehicles with the only exception being when their vehicle was stolen and a police report was filed. (Additionally, obscured license plates would be an automatic 30-day vehicle impoundment for first offense, donation of vehicle to charity on second offense.) Society has a problem with people thinking, “It’s OK if I speed, because it’s ok if I do it.” The tickets need to start going out by the thousands, every hour, until people get the message that speeding is unacceptable on our roads. If people don’t like being held to that level of responsibility, they are more than welcome to sit on the bus and pout about it. Nobody has the right to speed. It is the LAW and it is a LIMIT, not a guideline. I hope our state lawmakers start taking the deadly scourge of road violence seriously. The best part of all is that speeding enforcement is taken out of the hands of police and into the impartial hands of automated systems that will not care what color your skin is or how much you cry to try to get out of your ticket. You will pay.

      • Spooled December 30, 2021 (8:46 am)

        I assume jort that you support the enforcement of all other laws with the same enthusiasm?  Property crimes, shoplift, auto theft, in particular.  That’s great!  I appreciate  your vote in support of law enforcement and effective prosecution.  I’m glad we agree on something.

      • Ivan Weiss December 30, 2021 (8:59 am)

        When I was 6 years old, a 6-year-old girl who I knew well was killed by a speeding driver on a residential street. Since then, I have always slowed way down in school zones and on residential streets whether lights are flashing or not. I slow down to 20 immediately whenever the lights are flashing, and encourage everyone else to do the same.

        But I’ll tell you, Jort, your rant is pure police-state, surveillance-state babbling nonsense, and as a matter of public policy, I would oppose, and encourage everyone else to oppose, handing over enforcement on our publicly owned streets to ANY for-profit third party, for any reason. Enforce it? Certainly. But also: Keep it in-house, transparent, and accountable.

        • bill December 30, 2021 (10:27 am)

          Ivan, you’re the one babbling the surveillance-state nonsense that reliably gets trotted out whenever automatic traffic enforcement is suggested. The last time I was in France I was impressed by how law-abiding the drivers were. Then I was told there are speed cameras everywhere. Ha ha! Good luck making the case that France is a police state. Germany is similar. Automated enforcement is a very cost-effective and fair way of enforcing traffic laws. As for a private company collecting a share of the fines, so what? The point is the offending driver gets dinged. I don’t care what happens to the money after that.

        • Jort December 30, 2021 (10:40 am)

          Who says it has to be for-profit or third-party? The city or state can set up its own enforcement division. The important thing is that every single vehicle owner who allows their vehicle to go even 1 mile per hour over the limit gets the fines, and they will get the fines until they correct their anti-social, law-breaking behavior. Another, far more expensive alternative would be to require all vehicles driven in this state to have speed limiting devices on them that are tied to GPS location. 

          • Ivan Weiss December 31, 2021 (7:37 am)

            “speed-limiting devices on them that are tied to GPS location?” Go home, Jort. You’re drunk. Not even Singapore could come up with anything that totalitarian. Like any government can force any citizen to put these devices in their vehicles? They can’t even force people to get vaccinated or wear masks. And when some states try to force women to give birth to their rapists’ babies, they will really find out what the limits to their coercive powers are.

        • Jim December 30, 2021 (12:40 pm)

          Agree 100% that we all need to slow down, especially around kids ANYWHERE. Take the fines and put up giant overhead flashing signs. The flashing lights are easy to miss if distracted by traffic.

      • Chris December 30, 2021 (9:31 am)

        If the punishment is a fine, it’s only a punishment for poor people. Why do you hate poor people so much?

        • Jort December 30, 2021 (2:54 pm)

          Poor people should be allowed to speed because they can’t afford the penalties for breaking the law? Is that what I’m hearing? Poor, rich, black, white, young and old — in an automated system, there is no way of knowing who is who so all are equally treated with the same level of justice under the law. Good news for poor people, as well as the rich: if they don’t like paying fines, they can obey the law. It’s not complicated or hard to do. 

        • seaview resident December 30, 2021 (7:59 pm)

          They should base your fine on a percent of your prior years pre-tax income. 

          • SpencerGT December 31, 2021 (4:38 am)

            No, they shouldn’t.

    • Jfro December 30, 2021 (12:37 pm)

      I agree 100% with going slow and cautious around kids at ALL times.  I would hope they take the money from fines and put huge overhead flashing signs to warn drivers as the intent is to get folks to slow down.  I missed the flashing lights at the turn further southbound on Fauntleroy due to distraction from traffic turning in front of me around the bend. I was going 25 as I recall and it cost me a lot of $$.  Yes, I blew it and learned, but the flashing lights being on the right when the road is bending to the left is not optimal. 

  • IDC December 30, 2021 (12:07 am)

    As someone who lives on Fauntleroy nearby I’m thrilled to see this. People speed all the time on this stretch of road along the school and park, often hitting 45-50 mph. I also frequently see slower cars get passed by aggressive drivers, which is insane on a 2 lane surface street. 

    • Highpoint Neighbor December 30, 2021 (2:10 am)

      So this fixes that problem for what, 2-3 hours of the day? They should make the speed limit 30 again and enforce aggressive drivers eith police for folks who are usually going way over 30 to begin with.

      • CAM December 30, 2021 (10:32 am)

        2-3 hours a day is better than no hours a day. And how would increasing the speed limit get people to slow down or encourage police to enforce it? I don’t see the logical link other than that you want the speed limit to be higher because you don’t like driving slower. 

        • SpencerGT December 31, 2021 (4:42 am)

          Making driving easier isn’t a crime.

  • Derek December 30, 2021 (12:20 am)

    Boooing this. Charging poor people for going over a few mph on accident. Not cool.

    • bill December 30, 2021 (7:20 am)

      Agreed. How are such weird amounts like $237 arrived at? Fines should be assessed as a fraction of the value of the car involved in the incident. For most people their car is a proxy for their wealth and income.

      • j-roam December 30, 2021 (11:36 am)

        By City ordinance, traffic camera tickets for speeding or red lights are the same amount as they would be if an officer stopped you. By state law, speeding in a school zone (or construction zone) is double the standard fine. (State law limits the low bridge and “block the box” tickets to $75.)

    • Anne December 30, 2021 (7:43 am)

      You should change this to “charging people” rich-poor-doesn’t matter-obey the speed limit-if not pay the price-way cool.

      • Brian December 30, 2021 (9:53 am)

        Unless the fine is levied at a rate proportional to the income of the driver, it is specifically unfair to poor people. 

        • Gatewood resident December 30, 2021 (1:33 pm)

          Why do we have to accommodate anyone that breaks this simple speed limit rules by a goddamn school? Im thrilled that people might finally slow down

        • Gatewood resident December 30, 2021 (1:40 pm)

          Someone call the whaaaaaaambulance

    • Jort December 30, 2021 (10:42 am)

      The speed limit is the law, and if you break the law, even “on accident,” then you pay. It’s not complicated. Drivers have an enormous responsibility to drive safely, especially around children in school zones. If this is too great a responsibility, then it is time to hang up the keys. Slow down, follow the legal, speed maximum, not average limits, and obey.

    • seaview resident December 30, 2021 (8:01 pm)

      nothing is stopping poor people from going the speed limit. 

  • Highpoint Neighbor December 30, 2021 (2:08 am)

    I got a ticket going 25 in a school zone. I had started to slow but not soon enough (my brake lights were on in the picture). They reduced it to about $167. These cameras are money printing machines for they city, they don’t help anyone. I drive through school zones staring at my speedometer when I should be watching the road. Most of the time there aren’t any kids around when they’re on, and sometimes when they’re off there will be a huge set of soccer games with kids everywhere.I visited family on the Eastside over the holidays and I must say it’s starting to feel like it’s time to move. They have reasonable speed limits (30 to 45 in most cases), they didn’t irrationally close streets because of the pandemic, they dont auto ticket as much, and they aren’t stuck using a detour for multiple years.

    • Anne December 30, 2021 (7:44 am)


    • Auntie December 30, 2021 (3:41 pm)

      You “had started to slow,” which means you were doing well over the legal speed limit of 25 in the first place. If you had been going 25, perhaps you would have seen the warning sign.

    • seaview resident December 30, 2021 (8:02 pm)

      duces! go speed on the Eastside

  • tiredResident December 30, 2021 (3:35 am)

    Add one at Admiral/61st please.

  • Marcus December 30, 2021 (4:05 am)

    Never had a camera ticket before but I have indeed caught myself over the limit in a school zone.  This is a good thing!  Red light cameras also.  Saves lives and injuries.

  • Lucie December 30, 2021 (7:24 am)

    Would really love to see one on Genesee hill. Cars absolutely FLY on this hill and do not stop for families trying to cross to and from school. Happy to see them going up in school zones. Extra flashing light pedestrian walkways would also be a wonderful addition. 

  • 3 times December 30, 2021 (7:28 am)

    I work in Northgate and got nailed twice by the same one in a week at 6:30am BEFORE any school busses or kids. $500. New to the neighborhood there for work and didn’t know the road. Was going 30. The sign and flasher was obstructed by large trees. Went to court and judge dropped one ticket and reduced my other to $100. Got nailed again on MLK over by Jackson (again Not seeing the sign) and they reduced the ticket. After three times I’m a pro at looking for these signs now. Lol! I’m not driving fast. 30 on the arterial. But it’s 20 when the lights flash and that is a ridiculous pace. This whole speed trap thing is not for the kids folks, it’s for the revenue. 

    • My two cents … December 30, 2021 (8:25 am)

      If your 6:30 time is correct you won’t have any issues getting them dismissed:

      • winniegirl December 30, 2021 (10:01 am)

        the cameras aren’t based on school schedule.  there could be an afterschool activity.  I got one on roxbury around 5 coming out of the safeway parking lot.  I didn’t even see the flashing lights when I turned on to Roxbury.  When I mentioned the time, the judge said the timing is at the discretion of the school (it was slightly reduced)

    • Peter December 30, 2021 (9:44 am)

      Slow down and you won’t get a ticket! It’s that simple and helps keep pedestrians safe. 

  • SamF December 30, 2021 (9:08 am)

    They should just use your GPS in your car to track your speed.  If you are going over 20mph anywhere near a school, just deduct it from your bank account.  That makes it easy, leverages technology most cars have, and will make enforcement a breeze!       Could do the same for when you aren’t at a full stop at a stop sign.  Or when you are drifting into a lane since you’re clearly distracted.  So many ways!

    • The details December 30, 2021 (6:11 pm)

      GPS as you propose has too many issues; civilian accuracy (compared to military), dead spots/weak signal, etc. Contesting the validity of a GPS would be easier compared to radar speed traps.  You also would need to address ability of GPS to determine speed  – there is a significant difference between the length of a school zone compared to driving down I-5. How do you determine the speed? From point a to b? I can drive 40 mph as I enter a school zone for the first 100 yards,  I then apply my brakes and reduce my speed to 5 mph for the remainder of the 700 yards of the school zone … end result is an indicated speed from point a to point B at 20 mph or less … 

  • Jon Wright December 30, 2021 (9:15 am)

    Anyone who thinks 20 is a “ridiculous pace” when kids–KIDS!–are around is a sociopath. The difference between getting hit by a 3,000-pound car at 20 vs. 30 (or more) is huge. Someone actually stands a reasonable chance of surviving the former. There is plenty of whining about the supposed “war on cars” here but good grief, if expecting drivers to slow down around children for safety’s sake is too much to ask, we are doomed as a society.

    • Gatewood resident December 30, 2021 (1:38 pm)

      People just need to slow down it’s not that hard. If you’re late to anything it’s because you suck at planning, not because you had to—gasp—drive the speed limit in a school zone where children are present

    • SpencerGT December 31, 2021 (4:51 am)

      Sociopath is a strong term here, but I get your point.

  • anonyme December 30, 2021 (9:42 am)

    I’m for speed enforcement cameras on every street in Seattle.  Include violations for failure to yield to pedestrians.  If this is painful and onerous for many drivers – GOOD.  Let the moaning begin – and the entitlement ends.

    • SpencerGT December 31, 2021 (4:45 am)

      I agree.

  • Judy December 30, 2021 (10:14 am)

    My partner got 3 $237 tickets for driving too fast in front of Holy Family in one week. He always goes too fast. In general, we ALL need to ‘cool our jets’ and slow down. This city is dense and life is more important than arriving on time any day. 

  • Math Teacher December 30, 2021 (10:21 am)

    The technology exists for new  cars to automatically slow to the speed limit. That should be part of the solution.

    • anonyme December 30, 2021 (12:23 pm)

      Agreed. A few simple changes would make the speed issue both safe and just.  Mandate technology as Math Teacher suggested, and adjust fines relative to income.  Cameras will be necessary until the technology exists in all vehicles.  You don’t get to go punishment-free just because you’re ‘poor’ either.  Fair is fair.

  • Libby December 30, 2021 (10:31 am)

    I got one in the mail from the camera over by Boren. Looked up the law and the school zone starts 300 feet from the crosswark. The camera by Boren is a good 1000 feet from the crosswalk, and it’s even before a light. In the video you can see that I am slowing down and that the upcoming light is red, so there is no evidence that I was speeding at the time I was actually in the school zone. Those cameras are money-printing machines and a private company takes a huge chunk, it doesn’t even all go back to the city. It’s a scam and I bet they put it in the wrong place intentionally.

    • Jon Wright December 30, 2021 (3:40 pm)

      Per WAC 468-95-330, “No school or playground speed zone may extend less than 300 feet from a marked school or playground crosswalk, but may extend by traffic regulation beyond 300 feet based on a traffic and engineering investigation” (emphasis added). The reason we have laws like this and camera enforcement is that too many drivers have demonstrated that they won’t do the right thing on their own and slow down by schools. In your particular case, just own up to the fact that you broke the law and please be more careful in the future.

    • Jort December 30, 2021 (4:29 pm)

      Or just slow down when you’re around a school? There are children around. Slow down. Your hurt feelings about tapping the brake pedal for a 1/4 mile kind of don’t matter? The speed limit is a limit, not an average or a minimum.

  • Jelly December 30, 2021 (4:19 pm)

    Just pay attention to the signs…

  • My two cents ..l December 30, 2021 (5:59 pm)

    Winniegirl – Per the City of Seattle  “ The speed cameras only operate when the school zone flashing beacons are in operation. The flashing beacon schedule is set by the Seattle Department of Transportation based on when students will be arriving and leaving school grounds. Fall 2021-22 Schedule”.

  • Local December 30, 2021 (10:24 pm)

    I support Jort here, to an extent. Half the comments here show just how many of us want people to simply slow down. We’re sick of aggressive, dangerous, harmful driving. So yes, make the laws matter, and speeders’ll change their behavior. But there has to be humanity recognizing that strict punishment is for the likes of the taliban, not here. Hard to believe we just can’t all slow down. It really does kill. 35th used to have so much more injuries, deaths, and damage before the road diet and reduced speed limit. Some problems like climate change, the pandemic, yikes. But speeding?! Come on, we can figure this out. 

  • Flo B December 31, 2021 (7:09 am)

    Seattle Times had a wonderful story many years ago on school speeders. Emphasis patrol by SPD netted many speeders. 75% of those ticketed were PARENTS dropping off or picking up their kids. 

Sorry, comment time is over.