Seattle cracking down on street racing with speed enforcement cameras

25 July 2023

The Seattle City Council passed legislation Tuesday, sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Alex Pederson, to reduce drag racing and dangerous driving.

The city ordinance is set to kickstart plans to install speed enforcement cameras in key areas of the city that are heavily impacted by unsafe driving.

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“Our community has been pleading for help for years to stop drag racing. This month’s crash on Alki Avenue Southwest shows just how dangerous conditions have become,” said Councilmember Herbold, the Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “I’m proud to have partnered with neighbors and pass this first-of-its-kind legislation to make our streets safer.”

Herbold was referencing a violent crash that occurred between two cars on Alki Avenue last week, causing residents living in the area to speak out against speeding and reckless driving, which has been a dangerous problem, according to KIRO 7.

“We have to stop prioritizing the speed of cars over safety and accessibility, especially the safety of students, seniors, people with disabilities, and people who can’t afford to drive,” Anna Zivarts, a Seattle Public Schools parent, said during the Seattle City Council. “I’m grateful that the city council has taken action.”

The passed legislation designates 10 dangerous zones throughout the city, which includes West Marginal Way, Sand Point Way, NE 65th Street near Magnuson Park, Seaview Avenue, 3rd Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr Way, Rainier Avenue, and two on Alki Avenue.

Washington state authorized cities to use automated camera enforcement in restricted racing zones last year.

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“Automated cameras are an effective enforcement elixir that discourage reckless driving, increase pedestrian safety, and increase efficiency by reducing time-consuming interactions between drivers and police,” said Councilmember Pedersen, the Chair of the Transportation Committee. “This technology is another tool in our tool belt to reduce collisions and save lives on some of our city’s most dangerous roadways.”

According to the city council, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is now in the process of completing its analysis — required by state law — prior to installing the enforcement cameras.

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