School zone cameras catching many more speeders than expected

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SEATTLE —

The City of Seattle could add millions of dollars to its budget, based on how many speeding drivers have been caught near school zones.  But Mayor Mike McGinn on Wednesday said the goal is not to make a lot of money from the pilot program but to get drivers to slow down.

 

Diana Lauder has four kids at Broadview-Thompson Elementary School in North Seattle.  They walk to school every day, and every day she worries about speeding drivers on nearby Greenwood Avenue.

 

"People go through that crosswalk even when the light's red. They don't see yellow or whatever and they just whoosh," Lauder said.

 

Because of the danger, Broadview-Thompson was chosen as one of four elementary schools to test a program to reduce speeding in school zones to 20 mph.

 

Speed cameras and warnings have been posted since Nov. 1, and the number of violators has shocked the mayor.

 

"We so far have sent out 5,927 warning citations," McGinn said.

 

McGinn said that's thousands more than anyone expected, so many that he's extending the warning period until Dec. 10.  He said he's more interested in getting the message out to slow down than raking in the millions of dollars actual citations would bring to the city.

 

"I want to be really clear: our goal is not to write tickets. Our goal is to reduce speeding," McGinn said.

 

Early studies show that overall -- despite the high number of violators -- speeds have declined in the four test areas.