Traffic enforcement returning, police tell District 1 Community Network

(Traffic enforcement on Sylvan Way, 2021 reader photo from Sam)

First of two reports from last night’s District 1 Community Network meeting: Traffic enforcement is returning to West Seattle. Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Nathan Shopay said they’ve been talking with SPD’s Traffic Unit and they were going to get some spot enforcement efforts, as schedules allow. No dates/times/locations yet, but don’t be surprised if you happen to see a motorcycle officer with a radar gun in one of the local hotspots sometime soon. Years ago, SPD had regular traffic-enforcement operations, and SPD Blotter even used to regularly publish lists of where they’d been and what the fastest speeds detected had been (example: this 2011 story mentioning 55 mph on Admiral Way). Our story on the rest of the D1CN meeting – including the group’s decision to disband – is in the works for later, likely tonight Friday.

87 Replies to "Traffic enforcement returning, police tell District 1 Community Network"

  • Marc G. June 6, 2024 (1:24 pm)

    I hope this deters some of our local speeders and red-light-runners.

  • Oakley34 June 6, 2024 (1:26 pm)

    About time. Id love if the city/state could also come up with some way to manage the excessive noise of many of these same speeders (maybe at the emissions inspections stage). 

    • Westwood June 6, 2024 (8:41 pm)

      Don’t know the last time you got tabs for your car but our state no longer has an emissions program. 

  • KWest Seattle June 6, 2024 (1:27 pm)

    This is great news and will hopefully help curb attitudes of lawlessness in West Seattle. 

  • T Rex June 6, 2024 (1:34 pm)

    Glad to have them back, it amazes me how fast people drive anymore, speed bumps don’t help either. I am glad I live off of any main street but California and 35th have once again become “Interstates.” And of course, Highland Park Way, specifically down the hill. 

  • Christopher B. June 6, 2024 (2:04 pm)

    Yay! I hope this makes for safer streets and more people being held responsible for driving around without license plates. Though I won’t hold my breath that my car insurance rates will be coming down anytime soon.

    • Oakley34 June 6, 2024 (2:38 pm)

      Yeah speeding and excessive engine noise aside the prevalence of cars driving around with NO/heavily obscured plates is boggling.

      • waikikigirl June 6, 2024 (4:34 pm)

        How about all the vehicles with expired tabs, where or how is the State getting their RTA Tax money, not from these expired tab drivers?!

  • StupidinSeattle June 6, 2024 (2:20 pm)

    Good development.  Too many reckless drivers on the road right now.  Watch for other non-traffic crimes to drop as well with the added police presence.

  • Kyle June 6, 2024 (2:24 pm)

    This is great! Someone tell SDOT so they can quit taking away road capacity and creating new traffic jams.

    • walkerws June 6, 2024 (3:06 pm)

      But taking away road capacity is a good thing as it pushes people to alternative means of transportation and reduces speeds. I’m calling SDOT to tell them I support reducing road capacity.

      • CarDriver June 6, 2024 (4:44 pm)

        Walker WS. Reduced traffic lanes also affect transit and emergency vehicles you’re ok with that?

      • Anne June 6, 2024 (7:32 pm)

        Never going to happen. But go ahead & call-I’ll call SDOT & KC Metro too & tell them that until public transportation is clean, safe,drug & criminal free, gets me where I need to go in some semblance of timeliness -actually collects fares from everyone-I’ll continue to drive myself. 

        • Sarge June 7, 2024 (12:36 pm)

          I take the bus every day – multiple times per day.  I have had no issues with cleanliness, safety, or crime.  EXCEPT – issues with my own safety as I cross the street on the way to the bus stop.  That’s when I have to watch out for the speeding drivers.  I encourage anyone to actually take the bus rather than assuming these are constant and unavoidablemissues.  This bus is great…Just watch out for the bad drivers you may encounter on your way to the stop.

        • Bbron June 7, 2024 (2:17 pm)

          saying PT isn’t “safe” is completely ignoring how dangerous driving is. you’re 100x or more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident than by anything related to PT.

      • Wseattleite June 6, 2024 (11:09 pm)

        It’s amazing how many people want to force other people to do what they want.  

    • k June 6, 2024 (3:12 pm)

      SDOT doesn’t create traffic jams.  Cars and the people driving them do.

    • Felix Grounds June 7, 2024 (4:26 am)

      Kyle, You’re not stuck in traffic, you ARE the traffic.

  • CarDriver June 6, 2024 (2:44 pm)

    For the last few months have seen a SPD motorcycle officer catching people coming up Admiral on the city side. Its been sporadic but he did have people pulled over 

  • CarDriver June 6, 2024 (2:53 pm)

    WSB. How many motor officers do they have now and how many do they hope to have? Also, are they going to bring back their unmarked vehicles or just motorcycles? Also any word if their motorcycle drill team will make a parade comeback?

  • Paul June 6, 2024 (2:59 pm)

    Please patrol Delridge, cannot tell you how many times I have been passed in the turn lane.  Also, Roxbury, that’s another freeway.  

    • Km June 6, 2024 (6:31 pm)

      I’ve been passed in the turn lane on California and 35th numerous times. There needs to be more median islands in our road designs.

    • BlairJ June 6, 2024 (10:26 pm)

      Yes.  Slow down the Roxbury Freeway.  It’s insane.

    • sam-c June 7, 2024 (11:11 am)

      Passing in the turn lane on Delridge?  Didn’t know that any part of Delridge still had a turn lane after the rapid ride improvements/ medians they built a few years ago.On the other hand, I have been passed on the right by people using the bus lane as their own personal passing lane.

  • Carson June 6, 2024 (3:11 pm)

    And before Hooper chimes in about the speed limit being too low, even if they ticketed cars going 20+ over the limit they can stay busy 24/7/365 writing tickets, and I hope they do.

  • KT June 6, 2024 (3:21 pm)

    So the lead is “Traffic Enforcement is Returning”.  But SPD says West Seattle is …”going to get some spot enforcement efforts, as schedules allow”.   That’s about as vague as possible and hardly convincing that traffic enforcement is returning.

    • WSB June 6, 2024 (3:39 pm)

      Sorry, that’s all the info I have so far, but that DOES mean enforcement. Doesn’t mean 24/7 enforcement but it never did. The old Aggressive Driver Response Team made periodic visits.

  • DC June 6, 2024 (3:39 pm)

    Wonderful new. Automatic traffic enforcement cameras would be cheaper, more effective and less prone to biased enforcement. But this is better than nothing!

    • Anne June 6, 2024 (7:25 pm)

      “biased enforcement -but better than nothing” “ what an inane comment. On the other hand-totally agree about cameras. It’s the only way to go. 

      • Darren June 6, 2024 (7:44 pm)

        People can get out of a camera ticket if the registered owner wasn’t at the wheel. They can’t get out of a ticket delivered in person by SPD or at least not as easily.

        • bill June 7, 2024 (12:24 am)

          This “I wasn’t driving excuse” has got to be eliminated. The owner can collect from whoever they gave the keys to, and perhaps won’t loan the car out again.

      • DC June 7, 2024 (9:12 am)

        A few genuine question Anne, do you think people of color are 0% more likely to get pulled over than white people? There’s not a single police officer on the force with any implicit or explicit biases? Do you think there has never been discrimination in law enforcement or do you think racism was solved for at some point? If so, what general time do you think racism was solved for within the police force?

    • Rhonda June 7, 2024 (6:22 pm)

      No, DC, “nothing” is far better than speed cameras. They’re highly unreliable and they can only issue fines, not real speed citations that go on driving records. Many thousands of people don’t pay the traffic camera fines since there’s no repercussions. A real police officer writing a real ticket is FAR better and they can spot impaired drivers, catch warrant suspects, etc.

      • Bbron June 7, 2024 (10:02 pm)

        “people don’t pay the traffic camera fines since there’s no repercussions” is easily solved with legislation, and far, far cheaper.

        • Rhonda June 8, 2024 (9:42 pm)

          Bbron, under layers of state and federal laws, camera infractions can only be fines, not real citations/moving violations. They can never be more than fancy parking tickets (and people refuse to pay those all the time). Only an on-scene, sworn police officer can issue a traffic citation with a court date and points against licenses and driving records.

  • Samantha T June 6, 2024 (3:48 pm)

    Tell them everything is good on Admiral Way going to/from the bridge. Totally fine! Everyone is driving 15 mph or whatever. No need to patrol there.         

    • Not sure why 25 in places June 6, 2024 (7:05 pm)

      I like safe. I like less pedestrian/car/cycle accidents. Not sure 1 speed suits all. Admiral hill is toxic. Breaking down hill to go only 25 wears brakes and pollutes. 30 would pollute less and still be safe. If all drive 20 over the limit (I don’t), maybe the limit is wrong, possible even unsafe? Regardless, enforcement is nice to see. Thank you SPD.

  • Marcus June 6, 2024 (3:48 pm)

    What an incredible opportunity to make our streets safer and at the same time collect also an incredible amount of $$$.  Every time I drive I see numerous violations, dangerous violations and rude drivers.  A target rich environment!!!

  • Derek June 6, 2024 (3:50 pm)

    Waste of money. 

  • DRW June 6, 2024 (3:52 pm)

    Let’s get those SPD motorcycles down to Alki this weekend. It’s going to be a rager!

  • anonyme June 6, 2024 (3:53 pm)

    I’m thrilled this is finally happening.  Let’s just hope there will be a lot of enforcement, and no more of this education BS.  Seattle keeps griping about budget shortfalls – time to fill the coffers, boys!

  • Alki resident June 6, 2024 (4:21 pm)

    “ spot enforcement efforts as schedules allow”. This definitely won’t be consistent or often sounds like. We simply don’t have enough police right now. Traffic enforcement won’t be a priority. 

  • star 55 June 6, 2024 (4:24 pm)


  • Seattlite June 6, 2024 (4:28 pm)

    Most Excellent!  I hope police officers target Admiral Way from the exit off of the WS Bridge to the top of the hill.  I go between 25 and 30 mph up Admiral Way so it is easy to gauge other drivers’ speeds who are doing between 40 and 50 mph.  As ALL responsible drivers know, the faster the speed the less control a driver has which is dangerous.

  • Jort June 6, 2024 (5:02 pm)

    There are multiple ways to shape driving behavior. You can design roads to encourage slower traffic. You can have rigorous training and recertification requirements for driving. You can have automated enforcement. You can use technology to limit unsafe driving behaviors. You can financially and structurally prioritize alternative transportation methods. I am well aware that in America none of these are even within the realm of possibility, because people genuinely believe that driving their car is a fundamental human right. So, there’s one risk control left for managing unsafe driving behavior: the police. I don’t love it, I think it’s deeply problematic, but it’s what we have. Until our politicians and the public are willing to accept structural changes to our approach to automobiles (spoiler: we aren’t and we are decades from that happening), then law enforcement is a regrettably necessary component of managing risk-taking driving behavior. 

  • Admiral-2009 June 6, 2024 (5:18 pm)

    When I moved to WS the posted speed limit on Admiral Hill was 35 mph that was technically credible based on Traffic Engineering Science.  The limit on WMW was 40, on 35th 35 and on Highland Park 30 mph.  SDoT had zero technical basis to lower the limits.  It’s irrational to post the same limit on high volume multilane Principal Arterials as on 2-lane Collectors.  It’s time to revert the limits on Principal Arterials to the prior limits that were technically credible; aka the science!  

    • bill June 7, 2024 (12:30 am)

      The science says pedestrians are far more likely to die from being hit at high speed. 35th has numerous crosswalks (every intersection in fact, even if not striped). 25 mph is a safe speed for 35th. On Admiral (all of it) 25 is sensible because of the steep grades and curves. 

      • jedidiahperkins June 7, 2024 (12:34 pm)

        I don’t know Bill. Since Seattle lowered the arterial speeds to 25mph, pedestrian deaths have actually increased significantly year over year. I don’t know if that is science or statistics but it definitely makes one think.

        Whenever I see a car speeding dangerously it is typically a cop without its lights on. A Seattle police officer killed a pedestrian, who had the right of way, at over 3x the posted speed limit and was only given a $5,000 fine. Do you think that outcome would be the same for you or I? Doubtful.

        • Albert June 8, 2024 (8:30 am)

          Source? Were all of those people killed by cars going 25 or less?

    • Midi June 7, 2024 (9:40 am)

      Thank you and yes!! When the speed limit is artificially low, drivers just completely disregard the speed limit. If it were a rational 35 mph, then it would bring about safer driving conditions. This is validated by SDOT admitting that lowering the speed limits did nothing towards the intended goal

      • Bbron June 7, 2024 (2:27 pm)

        how about instead of bending the knee to entitled drivers, if you speed you lose your license for a few years. since we’re all about punitive measures here, make it harsher so we don’t have to cater to people that couldn’t care less about others. tho I expect a lot of folks with this opinion speed themselves and think their choice to do so is moral.

    • RadarCaught June 7, 2024 (1:16 pm)

      Yes, but when the speed limit was 35 on Admiral,  traffic officers regularly set radar enforcement.  As a result, more drivers  stayed near the speed limit.Now with no enforcement and a 25 MPH, there is little change in vehicle speeds.  With the knowledge that we won’t be cited, we still drive at 40+ MPH.  

    • Look Both Ways June 7, 2024 (10:45 pm)

      Admiral-2009, thank you for adding sense to all the nonsense here. It’s absurd that major arterials are posted at 25, especially given the lack of pedestrians on these. Within neighborhoods, different story. Police presence should be tasked on the racers, eradicating blaring engine noise and tab-less plates, etc at pointed times. Then focus on beat, retail and neighborhood presence. Would drive revenue and see crime drop precipitously.

      • Speed kills June 8, 2024 (7:12 am)

        Look Both Ways, I prefer the 25 speed limit on the so called arterial roads like Admiral and California. You are 100% wrong saying there is little pedestrian activity on these streets. If you slowed down a bit you might notice that these streets are mostly residential and there are pedestrians everywhere. I live on California and the speeding has gotten so out of control in the last few years. I witnessed a person die after getting hit on California by someone going twice the speed limit. I will never get the screams of his wife out of my head. I literally don’t care if drivers are annoyed by going slightly slower. Your convenience means nothing when lives are at stake. Y’all need to stop complaining about being asked to be a decent person. 

  • Gaslit June 6, 2024 (5:33 pm)

    To the “fill the coffers” crowd here. If any of you actually believe the role of government is to collect money from citizens for arbitrary speed violations, you don’t believe in democracy. If we are increasing police presence in West Seattle, how about if we use them to enforce shoplifting or walk beats on Alki and late night in the Junction? 

    • Delridgedriver June 7, 2024 (7:59 am)

      There is nothing arbitrary about speed limits. 

    • Cam June 7, 2024 (9:07 am)

      Just because we want traffic laws to be enforced doesn’t mean we don’t want shoplifting laws to be enforced. We can want and expect both. Quit driving like a moron.

    • Bbron June 7, 2024 (2:31 pm)

      the role of the government isn’t to ensure the rules of the right of way aren’t adhered to? who built the road? who maintains the road? you want your government to subsidized you, but balk when it expects those benefiting from it to follow a small set of rules and, in case of blatant disregard as we do often see by drivers, have a punitive measure? the entitlement of drivers never ceases to amaze…

  • flimflam June 6, 2024 (6:32 pm)

    Ok, forgive the dumb question but why did traffic enforcement stop?

    • WSB June 6, 2024 (11:03 pm)

      SPD reduced or disbanded most specialty units a few years back and reassigned many to patrol when those levels started falling below what was considered acceptable minimums.

    • Seaguy June 7, 2024 (1:48 pm)

      Back in 2022 for racial equity reasons these four violations became secondary offenses meaning they alone could not get you pulled over;

      —Expired or missing vehicle registration (the sticker or “tab” displayed in the top right corner of a license plate on the back of a vehicle);

      —Vehicles without a front license plate (vehicles must still have a rear license plate);—Items hanging from rearview mirrors or cracked windshields (officers will still enforce visual obstructions such as snow, fog, nontransparent material and shattered windshields);

      —Bicycle helmet violations.

    • Frog June 7, 2024 (2:34 pm)

      Every interaction between police and civilians has a very small but non-zero chance of ending with the civilian being shot.  After a number of high-profile police shootings a few years ago, including some involving traffic stops, traffic enforcement was dialed back or eliminated in many jurisdictions, not just Seattle, to reduce the number of police interactions with civilians.  The result has been Daytona 500 driving everywhere every day, plus a huge increase in auto theft and the use of stolen cars in every other type of crime.  Pick your poison.

  • Jordan June 6, 2024 (6:39 pm)

    Can we maybe start by focusing on the insane amount of vehicles that are driving around without a license plate or the older temporary plate in the window that is no longer legal? 

    • Seattlite June 6, 2024 (8:13 pm)

      What about all of the uninsured drivers driving around?

      • Rhonda June 6, 2024 (9:06 pm)

        Uninsured motorists are over 50% in some parts of the Greater Seattle area these days. One reason is because the fine for not having it is hundreds of dollars less than the cost of having insurance for 1 year.

  • Alki Jack June 6, 2024 (10:05 pm)

    Occasional spot enforcement is the way to go. Bad drivers will never know when police enforcement will be there. Remember when NO ONE sped going up or down Admiral Way, WHY..because you never knew when SPD traffic was there. Hopefully they will stop some of the dangerous and lawless driving on Alki and Harbor Avenues.  

  • Admiral-2009 June 6, 2024 (10:17 pm)

    The City had zero technical justification to lower the speed limits, in particular on Principal Arterials.  Admiral Way Hill was posted at 35 mph for years, years ago!  How can this multilane Principal Arterial have the same limit as a 2-lane Collectors through residential neighborhoods?  This makes zero technical sense and reduces safety for all user’s.

    • anonyme June 8, 2024 (5:36 am)

      You answered your own question: because it runs through a residential neighborhood.  Speeders all seem fine with that unless it is THEIR neighborhood. I don’t know why people think that houses/people/pets on a side street should be protected, but not those along arterials. They’re the same; it’s just a matter of attitude – bad attitude.

  • Hungry Pilgrim June 7, 2024 (6:05 am)

    In a letter by SPD chief Diaz to the city IG “need to deprioritize low-risk public safety violations”

  • Marcus June 7, 2024 (7:54 am)

    So happy that so many people are supportive of increased traffic patrols.  There are those few who deem these actions as useless which I do not understand.  Yet with traffic patrols comes not only people driving a bit more safely but also the ability to observe cars without plates and checking plates against registration, and hopefully pulling over those who are poised to firing guns.  This will tend to decrease crime especially car thefts.  The police are starting to watch rather than just react.  I welcome this and those who do not, well I think they really do not care about their community.

    • Alki resident June 7, 2024 (9:00 am)

      They can observe cars without plates all day long. They can’t pull them over for that without another cause first. 

  • Scarlett June 7, 2024 (10:50 am)

    What a creepy pile-on.  I would like to see some of these law and order “Braveheart” types experience see what it feels like to be unfairly targeted or unjustly accused and have the whole crushing weight of the legal system against them, including law enforcement.   But, please, don’t me interrupt your police fanboy fawning.  

    • Bbron June 7, 2024 (2:48 pm)

      I’d much rather have roads that are designed to enforce a set speed limit themselves, but drivers are opposed to that. drivers also oppose infrastructure for alternative modes of transit. drivers are allowed to lie to get out of any automated enforcement. what is the right approach to keeping drivers from speeding in your opinion?

  • drahcir61 June 7, 2024 (10:52 am)

    As someone who hasn’t had a ticket or been in accident in decades, I welcome this. In fact, I’d like to see more … increase the fines, generate more revenue … maybe then you can stop raising my property taxes (a boy can dream).  Seriously though, people do drive way too fast & it’s about time something is done about it.

  • bill June 7, 2024 (11:26 am)

    Noticeably better driving behavior today. I’d say WSB blog has a large following in the community.

  • Admiral-2009 June 7, 2024 (3:23 pm)

    Alki Resident it’s unfair for those of us who annually pay for our tabs to allow those that do not a free pass.  I estimate the City is losing several million dollars a year in lost revenue and Sound Transit tens of millions.  Equity and fairness dictates the City needs to make the scofflaws pay their fair share.

    Scarlett if you pay your tabs you would not be targetted!

  • Anointed ruler of all that is WS June 7, 2024 (10:34 pm)

    I am but one opinion that supercedes all opinions thereforth. Those that disagree, be silent. For I am the one opinion that regulates ALL. Bow to my activist wisdom, I was birthed two decades ago, and have infinite wisdom… We WILL get our demands, and you will comply… Please stop exercising your freedoms!???…

    • Flaunt-Leroy June 8, 2024 (12:55 am)

      Thank You! Finally a voice of reason, you authority is absolute, your word is law.

    • Albert June 8, 2024 (8:48 am)

      Unfortunately, the common belief that driving whenever, wherever, and however one chooses is a fundamental, God-given right will only slowly fade as those who tightly embrace it begin to die off. The world is changing – Seattle is changing. Change is hard. If you can’t see that we all must make concessions in order to share the limited resources available to us, then those who *can* see the need will just wait for you to pass on to the next plane. At which point, finally, the remarkable delusion that, yes, the world truly does revolve around you will feel blissfully real. Until then, keep stomping your feet and screaming, “It’s not fair – you don’t control me – I’ll do what I want!”

      • Oh Seattle June 9, 2024 (5:06 pm)

        “Unfortunately, the common belief that driving whenever, wherever, and
        however one chooses is a fundamental, God-given right will only slowly
        fade as those who tightly embrace it begin to die off.”
        Seems to me that the youngest drivers are embracing the very worst of car culture for social media cred and general enjoyment of the old ultraviolence.  You might not get your prediction for a very long time.

  • AlkiLocal June 8, 2024 (10:55 pm)

    Got a ticket today 2 blocks from my home for going the same speed as all cars on Admiral.  While getting ticketed I could hear the cars revving and peeling out that drive me insane.  I wish the cops would focus on those drivers on Alki Ave that consistently break the law instead of ticketing locals for going a few mph over the 25mph on a downhill.  $145 down the drain.

    • waikikigirl June 9, 2024 (8:14 am)

      A good 20 yrs ago I got a speeding ticket on 1st Ave So in the SODO area if anyone is aware that street is like I-5 well as other drivers were passing me “I” get pulled over I asked why I was the one, and the officer said because I was the easiest to catch! As you can guess, I was the one at the back of the line 🤔

    • Speed kills June 9, 2024 (10:28 am)

      If you slow down you won’t get a ticket. I have zero sympathy for you. 

    • DelridgeDriver June 11, 2024 (6:50 pm)

      Oh, that’s awesome. So they’re keeping their promise and doing patrols! Go SPD!

  • Kathy June 9, 2024 (11:26 am)

    Scofflaws finally getting educated. Maybe they will obey the speed limit next time, and slow down the people behind them. Speed kills. Traffic fatalities in Washington State last year were around 800. Homicides were around half that. In addition to deaths, there are many, many more injuries associated with vehicle crashes. A woman was killed on Admiral Way in the last year or so due to excessive speed, thanks to that part of Admiral coming from downtown being designed like a freeway. Has anyone ever seen a backup on uphill Admiral Way justifying two general traffic lanes between the West Seattle Bridge and the Fairmount Ravine bridge? Meanwhile, SDOT claims there is a bike lane there, but it only serves downhill bike traffic.

  • Wes T. Attle June 11, 2024 (2:48 pm)

    Please, please. Please stake out at the junction!  We experienced a “Tokyo Drift” recently that was obnoxious and dangerous.  It is common to encounter people racing on california after 11:00.  So stupid. 

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