Cameras to start catching speeders as students return

August 23, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Motorists caught exceeding 20 mph limit face $124 fine

Issaquah police plan to reactivate speed-enforcement cameras near Issaquah High School and other campuses next week, as students return to schools along Second Avenue Southeast and elsewhere in the Issaquah School District.

Police deactivated the cameras during the summer hiatus. Now, as classes resume Aug. 30, police plan to activate the cameras from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days, just as in past years. Cameras aimed in both directions along the street capture license plate information on vehicles exceeding the 20 mph school zone speed limit.

Motorists exceeding the speed limit face a $124 fine. The infraction is a noncriminal offense similar to a parking ticket and does not become part of the violator’s driving record.

The fine and information about the violation arrive in the mail several days after the incident.

People can pay the fine outright, request a hearing in Issaquah Municipal Court or submit a declaration of nonresponsibility. The last option is sometimes used if a person other than the vehicle’s owner drove the vehicle during the violation.

The cameras photograph and record only vehicles exceeding the school zone speed limit.

Changes in the school zone could also cause traffic to proceed at a slower pace as the school year starts.

How cameras catch speeders

The speed-enforcement cameras — installed across from Clark Elementary School near the intersection of Second Avenue Southeast and Southeast Evans Street — use roadway sensors to alert the cameras to vehicles exceeding the 20 mph school zone speed limit.

The system includes a pair of cameras to capture a photo and video of a speeding vehicle’s rear license plate. Motorists receive a $124 fine in the mail about 14 days after the incident.

Construction on Issaquah High School continues and, in the latest phase, crews plan to complete curbs along the west side of the street, as well as a right-turn lane at Second Avenue Southeast and Front Street South. In the meantime, repaving is occurring near the rebuilt high school.

The potential for problems exists as motorists and pedestrians hustle through a crowded area near the campuses for the high school, Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School.

“We have a lot of people on foot along the sidewalks, in the crosswalks,” Issaquah Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said.

The morning and afternoon rush periods also include school buses, teenagers headed to the high school, parents dropping off children, and children and parents astride bicycles.

“It’s really important to slow down,” Behrbaum said. “There’s a big difference between going 25 mph and 20 mph on how quickly you can stop your vehicle. It is important to do because we do have a lot of pedestrians on the sidewalk along the roadway.”

Elsewhere, as classes resume, the police department plans to deploy officers in patrol cruisers to school zones inside city limits.

The city rolled out the speed-enforcement program in March 2009 and, after a monthlong trial period, started issuing infractions. Officials selected American Traffic Solutions, a company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., to administer the cameras.

“We had the grace period at the very beginning, so now we’re to the point where people should know enough,” Behrbaum said. “Granted, there’s going to be new drivers, but the hope is that that education process is kind of ongoing.”

The school zone setup is the only photo-enforcement traffic program in Issaquah, and no plans exist to add more cameras elsewhere.

“In general, there’s not as many inquiries, there’s not as many questions or concerns about it,” Behrbaum said. “It really has become part of the expectation on Second Avenue.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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7 Responses to “Cameras to start catching speeders as students return”

  1. bryanw on August 24th, 2011 7:54 am

    It might have been nice to have these cameras working during the summer. Speeds picked up dramatically along 2nd Avenue after school was let out. The last month, around Challenge Day, they put a mobile radar reader board showing your speed as you come down 2nd towards Sunset. I stood out there on a Tuesday the other week and saw people going 30, all the way to 36 miles per hour! How fast were they going by the schools? Who knows. These were not kids either, since school was out – these are mommy and daddy driving too fast – and gabbing on their phones to boot! I used to think that these photo tickets would put the fear into people but I think nothing will – whomever these people are – they just want to drive fast and damn the consequences. Very sad commentary on our neighbors.

  2. bawstonboy on August 24th, 2011 9:33 am

    I think it is great to be super cautious around the schools as kids are walking about.
    However, as I brought up to my wife while driving by: I was quite busy looking at my speedometer to assure I was at 20 (not 22 or 24 ) and in so doing felt that my eyes focus was not on the street (to avoid $124 fine) End result: UNSAFE method in my opinion.
    Let’s call it what it REALLY is: A revenue builder.

  3. matt on August 24th, 2011 4:58 pm

    bawstonboy wrote: “I was quite busy looking at my speedometer to assure I was at 20 (not 22 or 24 ) and in so doing felt that my eyes focus was not on the street (to avoid $124 fine) End result: UNSAFE method in my opinion.”

    So should we eliminate ALL speed limits? After all, don’t you have to look at your speedometer to make sure you don’t go over 60 mph on I-90?

    Come to think of it, if it’s distracting to look at one’s speedometer, then we should remove the speedometer from all vehicles. And turning on the heat might distract a driver, so we should eliminate heaters from cars, too.

    Don’t be silly, ok? Really. All drivers must be able to QUICKLY view the speedometers in their cars if they are near the speed limit. If you’re unable to take half a second to do so, then I suggest you immediately stop driving.

  4. lineman on August 24th, 2011 7:46 pm

    “Issaquah police plan to reactivate speed-enforcement cameras near Issaquah High School and other campuses next week”

    What are the other mystery campuses?

  5. bawstonboy on August 26th, 2011 10:55 am

    You take my simple observation and take it to ridiculous lengths indeed.
    My point is this When you KNOW the ax will fall because it is right there (the camera) then one becomes a bit cautious. Travelling at 20 is not much different from doing 22 or 23. At 23 I get a major ticket. Yes I am going to keep a good eye on speedometer while getting scrutinized so closely. Lord knows I should be watching the street for a kiddo slipping away after a baseball or something.
    It is quite easy to drift up to 23 MPH unknowingly. Bam Gotcha!
    I have cruise control for highway. I cannot do cruise below 30.
    This speed camera issue has been and continues to be a hotly debated item.
    It is simply not a one sided issue. Some people feel invaded by this technique.
    Here is another point: How many kids were ever hit by a car on that street in the past 20 years? NONE. With “safety” for kids as the reasoning for speed camera
    existence, Do you know that in the 1st six months of the camera’s existence that revenues of over $360,000 were collected from that camera- and clogging our local court ? Wow! That is revenue! Are there that many aggregious ,careless drivers out there unmindful of children?

  6. matt on August 28th, 2011 8:07 am

    “I cannot do cruise below 30.”

    We all weep for you. Again, if you’re incapable of driving below 20 mph for approximately 1 minute in duration, then I suggest you turn in your driver’s license immediately.

  7. C on August 28th, 2011 12:02 pm

    At what measured speed are citations issued? 23 mph? 26? 29?

    Other agencies limit the fine interval to 30 to 60 minutes per day when children are likely going to/from school, not nine hours.

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