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June 12, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Nailed by a speed camera

Speed Camera in Seattle School Zone (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Speed Camera in Seattle School Zone
(Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Seattle’s traffic cameras, which issue $189 tickets for driving faster than 20 miles per hour in a school zone, have raised $3.3 million since the city started fining drivers Dec. 10.  The cameras are by four schools, making the revenue $825,000 per location in six months.

Mayor Mike McGinn announced Tuesday that the city will install speed cameras in five new locations. The man knows a good investment when he sees one.

If the reader detects some cynicism here, and maybe even a dash of bias, it is probably so. I paid one of those $189 tickets. The camera photographed me zooming north on the broad, straight arterial of 5th Avenue Northeast, in optimum visibility conditions, at the breakneck speed of 27 miles per hour. No schoolchildren going to Olympic View Elementary were present, but that didn’t matter. I had to pay.

“Our goal is not to write tickets, it’s to reduce speed.” That is what McGinn said last fall when the cameras went up. And the cameras do scare drivers into slowing down. But excuse my cynicism if I think reducing speed is not city officials’ only goal.

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