Police reports tell the story: speed in Snoqualmie and the odds of getting pulled over have dramatically increased

If you feel like you’re seeing more drivers pulled over on Snoqualmie roads – particularly on Snoqualmie Parkway – by police officers, you would be correct…. very correct.

Since the start of the year, the Snoqualmie Police Department has been conducting more targeted traffic enforcement efforts. And if you don’t slow down on Snoqualmie Parkway, or while driving through a school zone, your odds of being one of those drivers on the side of the road has increased dramatically over the past year and a half.

According to Snoqualmie Police Department monthly and annual reports, the number of [Snoqualmie] traffic stops in the first four months of 2018 has almost reached the total number of traffic stops made during all of 2016.

Traffic stops also significantly increased between 2016 and 2017, jumping 66%. In 2016 SPD made about 1,200 traffic stops and issued roughly 240 infractions. In 2017 officers made about 2,000 stops and issued about 500 infractions.

And that number continues to climb in 2018. Through the end of April, SPD has stopped 1,074 drivers and issued 305 infractions.

Why?

Earlier this year there was a request from the City Council Public Safety Committee for speed emphasis on Snoqualmie Parkway, where one traffic study showed that drivers were averaging about 48mph in the 40mph zone.

Another reason for the increased traffic enforcement is pretty basic: the number of recently hired officers has increased. Snoqualmie, along with police departments across the country, had been dealing with an officer shortage in recent years, but recruitment was successful over the past few months.

Chief Phipps said Snoqualmie now has three new officers who are in training or in the background process, giving the department the resources to conduct more targeted traffic efforts.

He commented via email, “We now have the opportunity to be proactive in our efforts and to not be just reactive to the community’s needs. We anticipate and hope that our efforts will continue to increase and be noticed.”

So we asked residents on social media: “Is is really that hard not to go 50mph on Snoqualmie?” Yes, was the answer from some respondents who noted the incline and size of the roadway.

When it comes Snoqualmie Parkway, though, the city has no plans to increase the speed limit on the hilly, wide road. Public Works Director Dan Marcinko said the city prides itself on public safety, and 40mph is a safe speed limit for traveling public and for pedestrians in the very walkable community. The Parkway is also prone to deer and other wildlife crossings, which also attributes to the imposed speed limit.

At a council meeting earlier this year where Snoqualmie Parkway emphasis patrols were discussed, SPD Captain Almquist said stops on the Parkway accounted for about half of the total traffic stops made in the city –  and he guessed about half of those pulled over were local residents.

He said the emphasis patrols are an effort to change driver behavior (i.e. drive slower). The majority of drivers pulled over are not being issued tickets, though. Through April 2018 only about 30% of drivers stopped were issued infractions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Kevin Stone says:

    Nice to see the city getting serious about revenue enhancement… er I mean public safety. Sorry but all this patrolling and ticketing is about extracting dollars from Snoqualmie residents. If the higher speeds contributed to accidents that would be one thing but the data does not support it. The accident rate on the parkway is very low because it is a well engineered piece of road. The increased patrols and the ridiculous speed limit on the parkway are about generating revenue not public safety. Let’s see the numbers for how these stepped up patrols reduced accident rates and while we are at let’s look at the change in dollars collected. Anyone want to guess which one shows a bigger change?

  2. Andrew Prazuch says:

    Seeing this story reminds me: I’m curious if anyone knows why we have that small patch on the Parkway at 30mph between I-90 and Jacobia? It’s always felt like a speed trap to me. Is there a public safety reason behind that stretch being different than the rest of the parkway?

    • Danna McCall says:

      I remember hearing it was to do with helping drivers be able to pull out of the cross streets like 96th and bc of the approach to the busy interchange. I’ll see if I can find out for sure though.

    • I asked the City and County a few years ago about that spot, and the response I got was it was originally put in place because a person was hit and badly hurt at the intersection of SE 96th St and the parkway. This happened when the road was a two lane – before it was widened to it’s current four lane configuration.
      Given the current configuration, I don’t see any reason for the 30mph section. It’s 45 mph under the I-90 bridge (SR-18), and 40 MPH after SE 96th St. The 30mph section no longer makes sense.

  3. The 20 mph section on Snoqualmie Parkway is bizarre, because the elementary school is on a four-lane, divided road, at a controlled intersection–with crossing guards during the relevant hours. That intersection is no more dangerous than Douglas & Snoqualmie–children don’t jaywalk across the four-lane, divided road anyway–yet it’s marked 20 mph. Is revenue enhancement really worth slowing Snoqualmie Parkway, and making it more dangerous, during rush hour?

    • When the school went in, the city stated on FB that there were no plans to reduce the speed limit for a school zone. It’s very du,b, and in character with the city govt.

  4. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices states that speed limits should be set at the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic. If the average (50th percentile) speed on Snoqualmie Parkway is 48 mph, then the 85th percentile speed is higher. Absent revenue enhancement concerns, the speed limit should be set at 50 mph.

    I encourage everyone to look at the MoUTCD–it’s published by the federal government and applies to all roads in this country; also it does an excellent job of explaining the engineering and science behind its recommendations. With respect to speed limits: 48 mph is a safe average speed on Snoqualmie Parkway, since thousands of people drive on it at that speed every day without accidents. (We know there are no accidents, because we all read this site–and living Snoqualmie.com hasn’t reported on any!)

    Make Snoqualmie Parkway 50 mph for its entire length, and set its school zone to 35 mph, as in Fall City.

  5. Kristina says:

    We wouldn’t have such a problem with speeders on the Parkway if the Mayor and his city council members would have voted for s stop light at Fisher and Snoqualmie Pkwy!!!! I’m still furious over their decision not to have one installed even when the city was given money for it YEARS ago!! 😡

  6. Visited my rental in north bend, got tailed 3 times by a snoqualmie police on one saturday. It was end of month and I knew they were looking to pull people over to meet quotas…
    serve and protect people, not shake down and stalk

  7. My experience with the Snoqualmie police and those of others is that if it doesn’t result in revenue being received, then there is nothing they can do. Many reports of vandalism, but “nothing they can do but take a report”. But when revenue can be raised, they are out in force.

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