KIRKLAND, Wash. — Kirkland city leaders are taking proactive steps to keep children safer on their route to school.
The city started a speed camera pilot program, placing cameras in three school zones across the city.
Staff chose school zones near Rose Hill Elementary, John Muir Elementary and Kamiakin Middle School because they are considered the areas with the most traffic volume and high speeds.
Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett said they are also "cut-through" paths for commuters.
"We did see a definite increase in speed and volume and so we were concerned that it was just a matter of time before some child got hit," Triplett said. "Really [we are doing] anything and everything we can do to make it safe and also to encourage [kids] to walk and bike to school."
The program is part of a bigger plan the city adopted called the "Safer Routes to School Action Plan."
City leaders hope that this will encourage more kids to bike and walk to school which will also help mitigate some traffic congestion.
The program will last until the end of the school year. The city will then evaluate it and determine if it will remain.
Triplett said the cameras were not installed so the city could collect more money, but to keep kids safe. Any revenue made will be reinvested into projects to make school zones safer.
The warning period for the speed cameras will end during the first week of October, then violators will be issued tickets.
The city invites the public to attend a meeting in October to give input on what city staff should be doing to keep school zones safer.