Transportation Progress

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Pedestrians aheadTwo separate efforts by the Seattle Department of Transportation that have received attention recently should be celebrated.

First, the Council received an update earlier this month about the School Zone Traffic Safety Cameras. Nine Seattle schools currently have these cameras in place and six more schools will receive them this year. In 2013, I sponsored legislation dedicating money from school zone speed violators to safety improvements around schools. At that time, the City had a long list of physical improvements awaiting funding that could make our children safer on their way to and from school like signals, crosswalks and speed humps. This program has been able to fund 30 projects so far, with many more in the pipeline.

Not only that, but enforcement has reduced speeding dramatically. Citations decreased 34% from 2013 to 2014 for the four school zones where cameras were installed late in 2012. SDOT reports that “this equates to around 10,000 fewer speeding cars per year across all four school zones.”

Second, news articles this week reported that the first “smart” parking pay stations are being installed in Pioneer Square.

These pay stations can charge different prices by time of day, allowing the City to more efficiently allocate our on-street parking resources. If a neighborhood only gets busy later in the day, the rates can be lower in the morning to attract more visitors.

When Councilmember O’Brien and I first started talking about outcome-based parking policies in 2010, we knew that the technology to implement time-of-day pricing would take time to acquire. I’m grateful that SDOT has fully embraced this policy of actively managing on-street parking and it is good to see the City have the tools to better implement this approach.