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Speeders get the picture\School zone photo enforcement raises some hackles

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The tickets are in the mail and some area residents are not very happy with their $101 bill.

The second week of Bonney Lake's school zone photo enforcement system has seen some drop in the number of speeders, according to Police Chief Mike Mitchell, but there is still plenty to go around.

Mitchell said the number of infractions was running at about 80 to 100 per day. In the trial period of the system, about 3,000 violators were sent warnings in a 14-day period, which breaks down to about 215 per day.

One of the issues discussed at the Oct. 3 City Council workshop was residents who have received multiple tickets. A person might drive through the zone at 30 mph and come back later at 32 mph, but the tickets don't arrive for a week.

Councilman Dave King said he heard from a resident who received three tickets.

“This is going to cause a certain amount of unrest,” King said. “As City Council members we need to answer their questions.”

King said he would like to see frequent updates on the tickets issued and the progress of the program.

Deputy mayor Dan Swatman said members have received numerous complaints about speeding in the area.

“I've never heard that people want more speeding,” Swatman said. “But I've heard a lot about people speeding.”

Mitchell said the emphasis needed to be on the “safety of the children.”

The chief said a 15-year-old girl was struck and injured by a car on 104th Street East in front of Bonney Lake High School Oct. 2.

Councilwoman Cheryl Noble said the enforcement seemed to be working on Locust Avenue.

“I've noticed it's a lot slower,” Noble said.

Mitchell said officers noticed traffic moving to different routes to avoid the photo enforcement system.

“We're adjusting,” Mitchell said. “Our officers are moving to other areas.”

The city signed a contract with Nestor Traffic Systems of Providence, R.I., to set up the school zone photo enforcement system for $15,000 per month.

The city pays Nestor all fines collected up to $15,000 each month. If $15,000 in fines is not collected the city does not have to make up the difference. The city keeps all money collected in excess of $15,000.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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