Starting Monday, drivers who speed past any of four Seattle schools will get tickets in the mail. Vehicles that go more than 20 miles per hour when school is in session are caught on camera.
The four schools with speed cameras are Thurgood Marshall Elementary on the I-90 lid, Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle, and Olympic View Elementary and Broadview Thomson K-8 in the north end.
The principal at Broadview Thomson, Wyeth Jessee, played a role in getting cameras installed near his school on Greenwood Avenue North, where he says drivers frequently go 40 miles per hour. “We’ve had a couple buses hit by speeding cars,” he said, “and have watched cars speed by and go right through the light that is at the crosswalk in front of the school.”
So Jessee has asked for police officers to stand out front with radar guns. Jessee said when he could get an officer, traffic would slow down for a few days and eventually speed back up. So he documented crashes and near-misses and asked the Seattle Department of Transportation for help. Jessee said he was thrilled when SDOT had speed cameras installed at his school zone in September.
Since the cameras have been on, speeders have gotten warnings in the mail. Now the warnings go away and the tickets start.
The company that sells the camera systems and generates the tickets is headquartered in Arizona. It’s been the target of anger and lawsuits. People have complained the cameras make mistakes, and that it’s all just a way for the city and a private company to make money.
Drivers have called Jessee to ask how much the new tickets will be. The answer: $189.