Cars drive along 76th Avenue West in front of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Friday in Edmonds. Speed enforcement cameras could be coming to the road under a proposal from Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cars drive along 76th Avenue West in front of Edmonds-Woodway High School on Friday in Edmonds. Speed enforcement cameras could be coming to the road under a proposal from Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Edmonds eyes speed cameras near three schools

Roads near Edmonds-Woodway High, Chase Lake Elementary and Westgate Elementary could get automated enforcement.

Speeding drivers, or at least the registered vehicle’s owners, near three Edmonds schools could face fines under Mayor Mike Nelson’s proposal to bring camera enforcement to the city.

The schools proposed to get speed enforcement cameras are Edmonds-Woodway High, Chase Lake Elementary and Westgate Elementary. The number of cameras and specific locations were not listed in a news release from the city.

“Increasing pedestrian safety is a top priority for our city,” Nelson said in the news release. “Pedestrian injuries and deaths are preventable. Reducing vehicle speeds with speed enforcement cameras at schools is a proven way to protect our most vulnerable. Not only will this reduce speeding at our schools and keep kids safe, but all fines collected by the city will be used to fund pedestrian safety improvements throughout our city.”

More roads near schools in the city could be added later. Concern over traffic safety was shared by leaders of the Edmonds School District, spokesperson Harmony Weinberg wrote in an email.

The district has added adults to the crossing guards, developed new walking routes to schools, requested more police presence when school days start and end, and worked with the city to add flashing lights at intersections.

“The Edmonds School District is grateful for our partnership with the City of Edmonds and our shared priority of keeping students, staff, families and our community safe,” Weinberg wrote.

The Edmonds City Council will consider approving an ordinance that would allow the cameras to record alleged speeding violations. Then the city would select a company to run it. Nelson proposed Verra Mobility, which conducted a traffic study cited by the city in its decision to start with the three schools, but was not made available for review.

The timeline to implement the program was not specified by the city. It was unclear if this would be proposed for the 2023 budget, which must be approved in December.

Red light cameras have operated for years nearby in Lynnwood, where revenue from them has brought in millions annually.

Everett is in the process of implementing a camera-based traffic safety program. Most of the devices will be at six intersections with traffic signals. A school zone speed camera is set for Casino Road near Horizon Elementary School in south Everett.

Revenue from fines between $124 and $250 was estimated around $1,375,000 annually for Everett.

The citations are like parking tickets in that they are issued to the vehicle’s registered owner, not necessarily the driver.

Generally, cities hire a vendor to install the equipment and collect the data. Edmonds proposes having a police officer review incidents when someone allegedly speeds.

“It’s very important to regulate safe and reasonable speeds throughout the city, and especially in school zones when children are present,” Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett said in the release.

If the council approves the ordinance, a public education effort would precede the cameras’ installation and start of operations. Then a “warning period” would kick in before fines were issued.

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