The cameras to catch driver speeding through school zones at Springbrook and Meadow Ridge elementary schools in Kent are up and running.
Kent Police activated the cameras on Monday, Feb. 25. Drivers will have a 30-day warning period before police start to issue tickets. Violators will receive a warning letter during the first 30 days.
Springbrook is at 20035 100th Ave. SE and Meadow Ridge is at 27710 108th Ave. SE. Kent now has six schools with traffic cameras. The others are at Sunrise, Neely-O’Brien, Meridian and Millennium grade schools. The city started the program in 2013 at two schools at the request of the Kent School District to improve safety.
Kent had planned to add Springbrook and Meadow Ridge last year, but installation of the cameras took longer than expected.
The city raised the fine this year to $136 from $124. Police will issue a $136 fine for a vehicle exceeding the 20 mph school speed limit by 1 to 9 mph. The fine will remain $248 for speeds of 10 mph or faster above the speed limit. The cameras operate for 30 minutes in the morning before school and 30 minutes in the afternoon after school.
The city collected a record $1.2 million in revenue in 2017 from drivers caught speeding by cameras in four school zones, according to City Finance Department documents. The city pays Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS), Inc., about $550,000 per year to operate the program. Kent has collected $4.2 million since the school traffic camera program started, not including collections for 2018. After ATS is paid, the rest of the funds can be used for enforcement and processing of traffic and criminal laws, according to city ordinance.
Kent has spent school traffic camera funds on numerous police programs, including nearly $1.8 million in 2018 to buy 29 new police SUVs ($62,000 each) as part of a new car-per-officer, take-home program the City Council approved last May.
The city will install its first red-light cameras at six intersections later this year, with an exact date yet to be determined. Drivers who run the lights will be fined $136. The city plans to use revenue from that program to pay for body-worn cameras for police officers.