Council dedicates speed camera revenue to school zone safety

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City of Seattle

Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Council dedicates speed camera revenue to school zone safety
Stand-alone fund will provide millions of dollars for safety projects

SEATTLE – City Council today passed legislation that requires revenue from automated school zone speed cameras be dedicated to traffic and pedestrian safety improvements near schools.

“These cameras were installed to keep children and families safe,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The Council’s action will bring street and sidewalk improvements to the areas close to our schools and provide driver, pedestrian and bicyclist education, all to increase safety for our kids.”

The City began using fixed automated cameras to enforce school zone speed limits at four elementary schools in December 2012. The cameras are intended to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety for schoolchildren and other pedestrians. The Council received a preliminary evaluation about these cameras last week. The report showed that, as of April, 2013, 96 percent of those cited for speeding in a school zone did not receive another citation.

“My position since 2008 has been that revenue from automated traffic enforcement should fund road and pedestrian safety improvements as is recommended by the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “Ninety-six percent of all violators who have paid their tickets, have not gotten another violation. This is proof that these speed cameras are working to change driver behavior. In dedicating the funding to make new traffic and pedestrian safety improvements we can also change the physical environment that drivers and walkers move through.”

The current level of funding in the City’s capital budget leads to new crosswalks, signage and other safety enhancements at only three or four schools a year. Dedicating school zone speed camera revenue to this purpose will expand these improvements to more schools, improving the safety of schoolchildren and others.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen said, “The speed cameras may be the most effective tool Seattle has yet employed to get drivers to slow down! Seattle should move forward and install them in all school zones where there are problems with speeding traffic.”

The camera revenue will also pay for administrative, operations and maintenance costs associated with the cameras and for pedestrian, bicyclist and driver education efforts. The specific amount to be appropriated from the fund will be approved during the City Council’s annual budget review process.

[View in Council Newsroom]