Ty Swenson
Seattle police have installed speed enforcement cameras (inset) on Fauntleroy Way S.W. near Gatewood Elementary in an attempt to slow drivers down along the thoroughfare. Warnings will be issued until Nov. 26, followed by $189.00 fines for infractions beyond that date.

Speed enforcement cameras installed by police near Gatewood Elementary

Speeding along Fauntleroy Ave. S.W. near Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle is under the watchful eye of automated school zone cameras as of Nov. 1, according to Seattle Police.

Gatewood is located at 4320 S.W. Myrtle St., and made the short list of four Seattle schools (from an original list of 50) with chronic speeding problems during school hours.

According to Det. Jeff Kappel with SPD, “Last summer, the list of schools was presented to Mayor McGinn. SDOT (Seattle’s Department of Transportation) and ATS (the city contracted vendor) then performed feasibility studies at the locations and determined they were all good candidates for cameras. Each of the school principals were notified of the plans for automated speed enforcement and were all supportive of the cameras.”

SPD is implementing a warning period from Nov. 1 until Nov. 26, where those caught by the camera will be sent a warning in the mail. From Nov. 27 on (the day kids get back from Thanksgiving break), real citations will be sent out at a fixed $189.00, according to Kappel.

“The goal of this program is not to issue tickets,” Kappel wrote, “but to improve safety and reduce collisions by raising awareness that speeding in school zones is particularly dangerous for children and pedestrians.”

Gatewood Principal Rhonda Claytor said the location of their school, sandwiched between the two major thoroughfares of Fauntleroy and California, made it a prime candidate for the fixed camera, and “anytime people are driving more slowly it’s a good thing” for the safety of children and pedestrians in the area.

The school speed limit is 20 mph when lights are flashing or children are present.

In an August meeting between Seattle City Council’s Transportation Committee and police, the program was discussed in detail.

During that meeting, police said motorists will notice a tell-tale flash if they are caught by the camera, and should expect to see a ticket in the mail about a week later.

Cameras are also being installed at Broadview-Thompson K-8, Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Olympic View Elementary. Gatewood was chosen because, even with clearly visible, flashing school speed zone signs, motorists continue to whizz by.

Seattle Police also plan to use a mobile speed enforcement van in West Seattle and other parts of the city. Our Lady of Guadalupe on the 7100 block of 35th Ave S.W. is a contender. While the van is unmarked, SPD said they will put up sandwich boards signifying school zone speed limits are being enforced.

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