Skip to main content

Speed cameras could be coming to a Seattle street near you

caption: A traffic camera in Seattle along 45th Street NE and Roosevelt Way.
Enlarge Icon
A traffic camera in Seattle along 45th Street NE and Roosevelt Way.
Juan Pablo Chiquiza / KUOW

The city of Seattle is primed to deploy a series of speed enforcement cameras along city streets.

“As part of our comprehensive strategy to increase traffic safety, we know automated cameras are an effective tool because they reduce reckless driving, reduce collisions, and reduce direct interactions between drivers and police,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who sponsored the legislation approving the new speed cameras.

The City Council approved the new speed enforcement cameras Tuesday. While it is unknown how many will actually go up, the council approved up to 74 new cameras. The move is partially related to the council's effort to counter street racing, however, these cameras are slated for hospital zones and areas around public parks, as well as the "restricted racing zones" the council established in July. It also comes after state lawmakers expanded the laws around speed cameras earlier in 2023.

RELATED: Street racing cameras coming to 10 Seattle roads

The cameras will be automated. A driver will receive a warning for the first infraction reported by a speed enforcement camera. A citation will be issued after the second infraction. The funds coming from camera citations (speeding tickets) will be directed at transportation projects that prioritize traffic and pedestrian safety. Revenue from the cameras is not expected until mid-2024.

“We will use the net revenue from the new cameras to build more sidewalks and crosswalks, while also calming traffic on dangerous arterials," Pedersen said in a statement. "Many of those projects will take years to design and construct at a large scale across our city, so this needs to be a 'Yes AND' effort to increase safety. If we’re serious about reducing the harm of traffic injuries and deaths today, we need to use the tools available to us today and that means installing this technology along dangerous roadways and intersections, especially where our most vulnerable residents are simply trying to cross the street.”

According to council materials, it is unknown how much the cameras will cost to operate, however, the city points to similar programs for its block-the-box and transit-lane camera citations. Those cameras cost $4,000 each month to operate. The city estimates that once speeding ticket revenue arrives, the cameras will pay for themselves. After the cameras are up and running, the city expects that speeding citations will drop within six months to a year.

According to an SDOT presentation given to the council's transportation committee, the cameras will operate similar to the school zone cameras already deployed in the city. These speed enforcement cameras, however, will be running 24 hours a day (unlike school zone cameras that operate during school hours). Cameras capture photos and video of a speeding car. A citation is issued to the driver associated with the license plate number.

Why you can trust KUOW