20 mph zones in Bremerton raise school zone question

The in basket: After one of my intermittent Road Warrior columns about school zones mentioned the 20 mph zone in front of and near Bremerton High School, Joe Keller commented on the blog version at kitsapsun.com, saying “There is no ‘school zone’ in front of the BHS. The speed limit is just 20 mph with marked crosswalks. I’m sure that just adds to the confusion….”

I checked and he appears to be correct, but if so, it raises the question of whether the doubling of the fine and not allowing a judge to reduce the fine, hallmarks of school zone speed citations, apply there.

I’ve since noticed the same situation on Marion Avenue in front of the Bremerton schools administration building.

The out basket: I haven’t gotten a very clear answer and it may be up to the citing officer whether to make it an ordinary speeding ticket or a school zone infraction.

Jerry Hauth, the city’s street engineer, replied, “I went to one of the city attorneys to get this one for you. We both thought that it seemed logical the double fines would apply, regardless of the posting (or not). However, reading the (state law), it references creating a ‘School or playground speed zone,’ then goes on to reference the double penalties. Having a ‘speed zone,’ certainly implies that it has been posted.”

Next I asked Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police if his traffic officers have instructions as to how to cite excessive speed there.

Pete answered, “ I just checked Marion and the high school.  Both zones are posted 20 mph and have school crosswalk signs.  There is no school zone specific signs, except the school crosswalk signs so I am unsure how a judge would rule.

“If an officer cited the school zone violation when children were present, I think there is a strong argument that it is within the scope of 46.61.440.  However, if it is 10 p.m and no school function was occurring, I do not think that would be justifiable.”

So…have any of you readers been stopped for speeding in either place, and what was the citation, and the outcome in court, if you took it that far?

One thought on “20 mph zones in Bremerton raise school zone question

  1. I commute past Bud Hawk Elementary School on Austin Way (to give it its full official name, John D. “Bud” Hawk Elementary at Jackson Park). The school zone speed is in effect from 7:30 to 8:30 am, and from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. I appear to be virtually alone in respecting the school zone, and am often tailgated by drivers clearly furious at me for doing so.

    If law enforcement wants to go issue citations up there some morning, there’s a well of fine money just waiting to be tapped. 🙂

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