Fee event horizon
The Seattle Municipal Court announced that late fees on certain citations will begin again as of Jan. 30, 2023, ending a reprieve implemented in March 2020 due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fees will apply to infractions such as unpaid parking, traffic camera or other traffic tickets. More than 295,000 tickets outstanding as of Sept. 15 will be impacted unless ticketholders take action, according to the courts.
If you can’t afford to pay the court, other options may be available. The court has a community service program and a payment plan option for which people can apply. According to the court website, standard payment plans involve payments of at least $50 monthly, often for up to two years. That can be reduced to a payment as low as $10 per month or addressed through community service work, if the applicant is eligible to receive government financial assistance. Other restrictions may apply.
If you have lost your citation, you can find it online using the court’s online portal. If you’d like to dispute your ticket, you can request a hearing by mail or by phone.
A bridge to somewhere
The West Seattle Bridge is back in action after more than two years.
Seattle officials closed the bridge in March 2020 after a routine inspection showed structural cracking that was either new or growing an accelerated rate. Then-Mayor Jenny Durkan made the decision to repair the bridge in November 2020. The timeline on repairs was impacted by coronavirus restrictions and a strike by concrete workers that lasted several months.
According to a blog post by the Seattle Department of Transportation, load tests were conducted and analyzed the week of Sept. 12, confirming that the bridge would reopen by Sept. 18. That testing process involved driving 40-ton trucks along the bridge deck and monitoring the impact.
Before its closure, more than 100,000 cars, trucks and buses used the West Seattle Bridge every day to cross the Duwamish River. Traffic was rerouted to the south, causing impacts to those communities and to West Seattle businesses and residents.
The new face of fare enforcement is now active on Sound Transit trains.
The transit agency suspended traditional fare enforcement in 2020 and replaced it with “fare ambassadors.” The ambassadors still did fare inspections but were meant to reduce fare evasion through education and warnings.
Unlike previous fare enforcement, ambassadors do not dress in police-like uniforms and are meant to offer wayfinding information and other assistance.
The transit system also reduced fares for its ORCA Lift program and made rides free for people 18 years old and younger.
Read more of the Sept. 21-27, 2022 issue.