• 'Block the Box' cameras bill fails

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    The City of Seattle has just suffered a loss in the battle to fight traffic congestion.

    The bill to allow traffic camera enforcement of intersections and bus lanes failed to get a vote in the House before the deadline expired at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    The legislation got a boost from dramatic video released by an advocacy group created by people with disabilities called Rooted in Rights.

    Scroll down to continue reading


    More news from KIRO 7


    DOWNLOAD OUR FREE NEWS APP

    "We found a study that said wheelchair users are 33 percent more likely than abled pedestrians to get killed in car accidents-the majority happen in intersections," said Clark Matthews, who uses a wheelchair for mobility.

    Seattle is also trying to fight the traffic gridlock that causes drivers to block the box.

    But using police to pull-over drivers would likely make the gridlock worse -- so Seattle asked state lawmakers for permission to use traffic cameras to ticket scofflaws.

    “I'd be in high support of block the box so people would follow the laws,” said Seattle resident Seamus Kelly.

    Burien Democratic Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon is the prime sponsor. He was still looking for votes just before the deadline. 

    “A lot of people have experiences with getting a ticket from a traffic safety camera, that doesn't make people necessarily excited about having more cameras,” Fitzgibbon said. 

    One thing Fitzgibbon is sure about though -- the legislation would not have gotten this far without the advocates from Rooted in Rights and their video.

    “They've made a huge difference in this bill and that particular challenge that people with disabilities have in navigating downtown Seattle streets is not something I knew about until they started raising up their voices to talk about how they are impacted by blocking the box and by traffic infractions.”

    Fitzgibbons promises to keep working for the legislation next session.

    Next Up: