Crossing the low Spokane Street bridge illegally will cost you $75 this fall
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is in the process of preparing to install automated traffic cameras near the lower Spokane Street Bridge to catch violators using it during restricted periods.
The system should be in place by this fall.
Right now the bridge is restricted to emergency vehicles, transit, specific employer shuttles, Metro vanpools for essential healthcare workers, and proximate maritime employees using the Low Bridge for work purposes only from 5 am to 9pm daily. This is based on daily traffic counts. Currently, both directions of the Low Bridge have traffic volumes that are not only up, but higher than 400 vehicles per hour between 9 and 10 pm, nearing the 450 vehicles in either direction threshold that would impede emergency access.
Under state law, revised in fact just recently the use of these cameras will photograph every vehicle that crosses the bridge, recording their license plate from the rear and then compare the numbers with a database of those permitted to cross.
The pilot program is authorized through June 30, 2023. The Legislature may extend or expand the pilot project in future legislative sessions.
The Seattle Police Department’s vendor for automated enforcement services is Verra Mobility.
Under the pilot program, through December 31, 2020, a warning notice with no penalty must be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle for a violation generated through the use of an automated traffic safety camera. Beginning January 1, 2021, a notice of infraction must be issued for a violation generated through the use of an automated traffic safety camera being used as part of the pilot program. The penalty for a violation generated through the use of an automated traffic safety camera may not exceed $75 in the pilot program..
For now SDOT is issuing placards for people to display in their rear window but once the system is in place they will be abandoned. Once the camera system is operational, enforcement would be done by license plates.
SDOT is bound by state law to put up signs 30 days before the system goes live alerting drivers.