Seattle’s first ‘block the box’ traffic camera set to come online this week

Apr 5, 2022, 8:39 AM
Block the box...
New traffic cameras will ticket Seattle drivers blocking intersections. (SDOT)

The Seattle Department of Transportation will be activating its first new “block the box” traffic camera on Wednesday, which will automatically send tickets to drivers blocking crosswalks and intersections.

Ross: Seattle’s ‘block the box’ cameras could end up punishing the wrong drivers

The first active camera will be at Fourth Avenue and Battery Street. Subsequent cameras will come online at three other intersections: Fourth Avenue and Jackson Street, Fifth Avenue and Olive Way, and Westlake Avenue and Valley Street.

Five other cameras focused on enforcing transit-only lanes also came online in March, located at Aurora Avenue North and Galer Street, Third Avenue and Stewart, Fifth Avenue and Olive, First Avenue and Columbia, and Third Avenue and James.

According to SDOT, locations were chosen based on a “history of problematic and ongoing violations.”

Why Washington lawmakers avoided voting on the block the box bill in 2019

For privacy reasons, the new cameras will only photograph the license plates of violators instead of drivers themselves. The photos are only intended to be used for enforcing the bus lane and blocking the box laws, not for other law enforcement action.

The first time a driver is caught, they will be mailed a warning letter. After that, it will be a $75 ticket.

Efforts to install these cameras in Seattle date back to 2019, before finally getting approval from state lawmakers at the tail end of the 2020 legislative session.

For more details on the new cameras, you can head to SDOT’s website at this link.

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Seattle’s first ‘block the box’ traffic camera set to come online this week