Seattle driver fights school zone camera ticket... and wins

SEATTLE – Commuters traveling through Montlake on 24th Avenue, may have a ticket in their mailbox.Traffic enforcement is up and one man said the city is running an unfair operation.

So he fought his ticket, and won.

“I was following my normal commuter path and I made the turn,” said Peter Folkins, describing his usual route. He was headed into Montlake on 24th Avenue East when the flashes went off.

“I didn’t see the flashes go off until I was already in the school zone,” Folkins said.

He was slapped with a $234.00 dollar ticket, for going 29 MPH in a newly enforced 20 MPH School Zone.

“It seems like a big money grab to me,” he said, noting the school is not on 24th, but rather a block away. Folkins fought the ticket and received a letter in the mail saying his case was dismissed.

The city dismissed it, due to “evidentiary issues with the school zone markings, the City would not be able to prove the violation and therefore your infraction has been dismissed with prejudice.”

“I am not a big fan of photo enforcement, I think there are more creative ways to do it,” said Angela Refsland.

She lives in the area with her young daughter.

“I think to decrease the speed and make it a little safer in the neighborhood people just need a friendly reminder,” she said.

Further down the street, another Montlake resident said photo enforcement is the only way to get drivers to slow down.

“You can watch that traffic come to a stop and they can just barely make that stop by the time the red light happens,” said Paul, who did not want to give his last name.

Paul said commuters like Folkins know the area well. “When those lights are flashing they are going very slowly and when the lights are not flashing they’re going really fast and therefore breaking the law,” he said.

To Paul, the issue is black and white. “If you’re speeding, it seems fair that you get a ticket, what about it seems unfair,” he asked.

But Folkins counters it is unfair and said the City knows it, it’s why they issued the refund.

“I am glad I got my money back,” he said. “They were giving away thousands of tickets at that location so hopefully other people will get refunds as well.”

We called the city of Seattle for comment on Monday.

They said they are looking into the school zone photo enforcement near Montlake Elementary and would let us know how many tickets have been given and how many will be refunded.