Drivers will face $75 ticket in Seattle as a part of camera-enforced effort to maintain intersections clear

A cyclist maneuvers around cars blocking an intersection in this traffic camera photo from Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. (SDOT Photo)

The City of Seattle plans to use new cameras to monitor traffic around the downtown area and automatically ticket drivers who illegally block bus lanes, crosswalks and intersections.

The pilot program from the Seattle Department of Transportation is intended to ease congestion, improve public safety and increase mobility for people with disabilities.

Eight camera locations — in downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, Belltown, Pioneer Square, and State Route 99 — were chosen “based on their history of problematic and ongoing violations of people blocking the intersection or driving in the transit lane,” SDOT said in a blog post this week.

Cameras will record the rear license plate of violators. Signs will be installed in the areas to alert drivers to the new program and warnings and tickets will not be issued until 2022. The first violation will result in a mailed warning letter; the second violation will be a $75 ticket.

It is illegal for drivers to enter an intersection and “block the box” unless they have a clear path to make it all the way through.

The intersection area that Seattle wants to keep clear to keep traffic and people moving. (SDOT Graphic)

Here are the locations where cameras will be installed:

  • Aurora Avenue North at Galer Street (Transit lane)
  • 3rd Avenue at James Street (Transit lane)
  • 1st Avenue at Columbia Street (Transit lane)
  • 3rd Avenue and Stewart Street (Transit lane)
  • 4th Avenue at Battery Street (Don’t Block the Box)
  • 4th Avenue at Jackson Street (Don’t Block the Box)
  • Westlake Avenue North at Valley Street/Roy Street (Don’t Block the Box)
  • 5th Avenue at Olive Way (Both transit lane and Don’t Block the Box)

Cameras will work like other traffic-enforcement cameras in the city and are not intended to help police with other types of law enforcement. Vehicle drivers will not be photographed, SDOT said.

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