Downtown ‘block the box,’ transit-lane ticket cameras to be activated starting next month

As more workers return to offices, downtown traffic will continue increasing, so the city will start turning on its new enforcement cameras. Here’s the SDOT map of their locations:

Today’s announcement says activation will start in March – first, the five cameras that will monitor bus lanes; then the four that will watch busy intersections where drivers tend to “block the box.” The locations were originally announced last November, and signs about them were installed, SDOT says. When they start ticketing, it’ll be a $75 fine, as with the cameras on the West Seattle low bridge. These, like those, were authorized by the State Legislature. More information on the plan, and what the revenue goes toward, is on the city website.

19 Replies to "Downtown 'block the box,' transit-lane ticket cameras to be activated starting next month"

  • Chuck Jacobs February 16, 2022 (5:19 pm)

    Remember, if your car is photographed violating a traffic rule, and you receive a ticket in the mail, and you weren’t driving it at the time, you just need to sign a statement saying it wasn’t you and the violation is canceled

  • Mark B February 16, 2022 (6:10 pm)

    Will buses be subject to ticketing as well? It’s not unusual to see an articulated bus blocking a downtown intersection for a full light cycle. 

  • cjboffoli February 16, 2022 (6:14 pm)

    Would love to see the bus lane on the high bridge enforced this way too when it reopens. Nothing worse than watching the most selfish and impatient of our fellow citizens blasting past everyone else like it is their own personal VIP lane. 

  • StopCuttingDownTrees February 16, 2022 (7:12 pm)

    9 more reasons to avoid dystopian downtown.

    • DC February 17, 2022 (8:10 am)

      9 more reasons to take a bus/bike!

      • GoodSpaceGal February 17, 2022 (3:33 pm)

        Riding the bus anywhere in Seattle is more dangerous than walking around downtown Seattle.

  • Reed February 16, 2022 (7:29 pm)

    Running down on Alki today I observed a parking enforcement officer cranking out tickets for cars with expired tabs. Keeping fining all of these car scofflaws!

    • HarborIslandworker February 17, 2022 (6:45 am)

      Reed… this is actually something I agree with you on if you want to operate a vehicle on city streets you should have the appropriate licenses and tabs as well as insurance… all the obligations and responsibilities that go along with owning and operating a vehicle…PS this should also apply to bicycles or any vehicle that uses city streets for their transportation. Fair and equitable transportation for all

      • reed February 17, 2022 (11:12 am)

        False. My property taxes pay for roads and bike infrastructure, not my tabs. I’m doing all of you “nothing but my car” people a huge favor by riding my 30 pound bike or walking/running for my day to day errands, not tearing up the roads and creating traffic with my multi-ton car.

        • Gable February 17, 2022 (1:59 pm)

          A share of base revenues of vehicle licencing fees are devoted for improvements to make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Seems like bicyclists should pay a licensing fee for the same purpose. 

        • HarborIslandworker February 17, 2022 (2:16 pm)

          reed… nowhere in my comment does it state that tabs are used for what you’re saying they’re used for so I’m not sure how you’re finding my comment false. But if you’re going to operate a vehicle on a roadway the procedure should be the same for all vehicles using that roadway… that’s what I’m saying you guys are not special no matter how superior you think you are… remember its share of the road-not take over the road

          • bill February 17, 2022 (8:31 pm)

            Ok Harborislandworker, I’ll pay $10 a year to register my bike. (Probably far less than the administrative cost, but you’re concerned with making people pay regardless of it making sense.) Now what would be a fair fee for a motor vehicle? A bike gets about four feet of shoulder if lucky, cars have 12′ lanes, so there is a factor of 3, which favors cars because often two or more lanes are available to cars. Cars not speeding travel about 3x faster than bikes, and a driver can easily tolerate two or three times more time traveling since no physical exertion or exposure to the weather is involved, so let’s say a driver can access 6x more miles than a bike. (Again a favor to cars since this discounts long road trips.) And then we have weight. A typical car weighs 20x more than a bike; again this favors cars by disregarding obscene SUVs and pickups and effect of concentrated weight on pavement. 3x6x20 x $10 = $3,600. Will you take this fair deal?

      • Ron Swanson February 17, 2022 (12:06 pm)

        Damage to roads actually scales with the weight of a vehicle.  Therefore it’s absolutely reasonable for bikes, scooters and other vehicles of negligible weight to pay nothing.  We should instead be increasing weight fees on large SUVs and trucks to compensate for the increased damage they do to our roads.  And ban studded snow tires.

  • Blbl February 16, 2022 (8:18 pm)

    I can think of something worse than that, cjboffoli. That same car sitting in traffic in front of me. 

  • Brittany February 16, 2022 (9:04 pm)

    I’ve noticed a, 25 MPH photo enforced sign on 35th north of Morgan this past week. Not a school zone as far as I can tell. Is it new, or am I nuts? 

    • rocket February 16, 2022 (10:06 pm)

      This sounds great.  The speedway that is 35th north of Morgan is absurd and dangerous.  especially given how that street is not wide enough for 4 lanes of traffic I look forward to its inevitable road diet.

    • Auntie February 16, 2022 (10:22 pm)

      That sign has been there for years. I think at one time they had a radar van parked just north of that, but that is long gone.

  • Rico February 17, 2022 (7:47 am)

    Please ticket the buses for blocking box.   

    • Jon Wright February 17, 2022 (9:58 am)

      On balance, I tend to give buses the benefit of the doubt. I get very frustrated when intersections devolve into gridlock. But I am also mindful that given the length of a bus it might not be possible for them to move in rush hour traffic without blocking something, somewhere. And since buses are moving more people than cars, giving them some leeway benefits the Greater Good. I think the optimum solution would be to provide dedicated transit lanes so buses could move freely without blocking intersections.

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