School zone speed flashers coming to Sedgwick


The in basket: A man who asks anonymity lest he “jeopardize a case I have pending on this subject” wonders how he can learn how many school zone speeding tickets have been written to drivers caught in front of Sedgwick Junior High on Sedgwick Road in South Kitsap. 

He saw a sheriff’s deputy and state trooper stopping drivers for speeding there on Feb. 23. 

He also said he can’t believe that that school zone doesn’t have the flashing lights to warn drivers when the 20 mph speed limit is in effect, such as those he sees at other schools. “Flashing lights are definitely the answer to this situation,” he said. “I’m concerned that the lack of good signage and ability to see children within this more-than-quarter-mile span of highway is causing more citations than necessary, as well as endangering the lives of the kids since the speed limit during off-school hours is 45 mph. 

“I suspect the number will be increasing due to budget shortfalls and the inability of drivers to see children before reaching the crosswalk,” he said.

The out basket: School officials are hopeful that flashing lights to alert drivers to the speed limit reduction will be in place this fall. 

Sedgwick Principal Jay Villars said they don’t have a lot of kids who walk to school, but due to the ferry traffic that races past, he contacted state Sen. Derek Kilmer about getting the flashing lights. Sedgwick is a rare school located on a state highway, so getting the lights there was a more involved process and involved different money sources than the others.

Kilmer evidently stepped in and Villars and school district Director of Facilities Tom O’Brien both expect money to be made available for the lights this summer, allowing their installation by November or December. 

I wasn’t very hopeful about getting the number of tickets written there, as I’ve never had any luck pinning down such statistics in the past. But Deputy Scott Wilson of the county sheriffs office had some figures.

From  Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies wrote 52 traffic tickets for violation of RCW 46.61.440, speeding in a school zone, at various locations on Sedgwick Road in the vicinity of John Sedgwick Junior High School, he said.  

Figures for this year aren’t available yet, he said.

He and Trooper Krista Hedstrom the local State Patrol said they are unaware of any  emphasis patrols in that location. 

As I expected, both officers took the opportunity to address the common belief that budgetary needs drive speed enforcement. 

Scott said, “As you know, we’ve been down this road before, several times. However, we also realize that there is a percentage of the population who strongly believe this no matter what we do or say.  It is an inaccurate statement and belief.

“Counties and municipalities receive approximately 36 cents of every dollar that a driver is fined as a result of a traffic infraction. The other 64 cents goes to Olympia.  “This money does not go into a fund for the sheriff’s office, rather it goes into the county’s general fund. Monies received from traffic infractions account for about 1 to 2 percent of the county’s general fund.  Sheriff’s deputies are not going to increase county revenue by writing additional tickets.  

“Despite some opinions to the contrary, it’s not about the money.  It is about saving lives,” he said.

Added Krista, “For someone to think that this money will solve the current budget problems is inaccurate and untrue.  Our goal while issuing tickets is saving lives and changing driver behavior, not making money.”

3 thoughts on “School zone speed flashers coming to Sedgwick

  1. What about lights at Converse and Sedgwick? There is a sidewalk there but the drivers never slow down especially the cars coming from the ferry. Several children have been hit there while crossing the street. We have asked the county about a light there and the response was it is a state road talk to them. Now that Sedgwick is being expanded into four lanes there will they install a light. I believe lights should be installed down by Sedgwick Jr High but, the children at Hidden Creek Elementary deserve the same especially since they are younger and smaller in size. Hopefully the state will do what is best for the children at both schools.

  2. Travis thanks for the information. Took your suggestion and emailed Derick Kilmer and Jan Angel, heard back from Jan. She is going to talk to Derick and see what they can do about the problem. Thanks again

  3. I, too, hope to see flashing lights at on Sedgwick at Converse. Most often you will find yourself being tailgated at ‘road rage’ closeness while others will simply pass, displaying who’s ‘number one.’

    On one occasion at this intersection, one young women, with phone in her ear, passed the 5-6 cars in the line behind a school bus who’s lights were flashing. She managed to stop in the left lane behind the bus and waited for the lights to stop flashing before merging back into traffic behind the bus.

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