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The Longview Daily News:

February 4, 2014

15th Avenue speed cameras trigger hundreds of warnings as enforcement nears

In just three weeks, police issued 889 warnings to drivers speeding through the Mark Morris High school zone on 15th Avenue, according to Longview police.

Drivers had better start hitting the brakes. Starting Wednesday, the city will start issuing $124-and-higher tickets to drivers caught exceeding the 20 mph speed limit by automated speed cameras.

The number of violators was more than twice the number of speeders — 434 — caught in the same period in the city’s five other school zones equipped with speed cameras.

“Even for a warning phase, that seems like a pretty high number of violations,” Mark Morris Principal Phil Suek said Monday. “We certainly want the students to be safe out there, and drivers following the speed limit will help to make that possible.”

The warnings were issued between Jan. 6-24. During that time period, speed cameras issued the following number of tickets in Longview’s five other monitored school zones:

• Columbia Valley Elementary: 50 tickets

• Mint Valley Elementary: 68 tickets

• Kessler Elementary: 85 tickets

• Olympic Elementary: 79 tickets

• St. Helens Elementary: 152 tickets

The cameras operate between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on school days. The city began installing the speed cameras in school zones in 2011.

Monday, the district hired Columbia Security to police the 15th Avenue crosswalks in front of Mark Morris High School to ensure students are crossing together and that traffic stops for them, said school district Superintendent Suzanne Cusick. Columbia Security has contracted with the district for the rest of the school year, she said.

“That particular crosswalk has been a safety concern for many years,” she said.

During recent traffic studies, workers noticed that students were stepping into the crosswalks without looking in either direction, Cusick said, adding that school officials periodically talk to students about crossing the street safely.

For questions about the photo enforcement program, call Longview police at 360-442-5800. Tickets can be paid online at http://www.violationinfo.com/.


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