Busted: SDOT to remove rogue North Capitol Hill ‘PHOTO ENFORCED’ stop sign

Nope, the city says, this Capitol Hill traffic circle is definitely not home to Seattle’s first and only photo enforced stop sign.

“As you probably suspected, we did not put up this sign. We do not photo-enforce stop signs,” a Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson tells CHS about the peculiar signage that appeared a few weeks back after a sign was wiped out in the traffic circle at 20th Ave E and E Crescent during Seattle’s bout of February snow.

The SDOT representative tells CHS the signage was slated to be removed and, yes, it is completely illegal. “Here’s a link to the municipal code, if you’re curious,” the SDOT rep offered via email:

  • 11.50.540 – Imitation of traffic-control devices.
  •  No person shall erect or maintain an imitation or counterfeit of any sign, signal, signboard, guide post, or any other traffic-control devices for the direction, information, warning, control or restriction of traffic either for use upon any private roads or upon any street or alley, or for the purpose of advertising or for any other purpose whatsoever. No person shall erect or maintain any device which simulates in shape, color, or design any uniform state standard signal, signboard, guide post or any other traffic-control device adopted, designated and used by the City, which might by reason of its shape, color, design or location be mistaken for one such uniform state standard sign, signboard, guide post, or other traffic-control device. (RCW 47.36.160)

(Ord. 108200 , § 2(11.50.540), 1979.)

  • 11.50.560 – Forbidden devices.


  1. No person shall erect or maintain at or near a street or alley any structure, sign, light or device that is:
  2. 1.
    1. Visible from a street or alley and simulating any directional, warning, or regulatory sign or likely to be mistaken for such a sign or bearing any such words as “danger,” “stop,” “slow,” “turn,” “impound,” or similar words, figures, or directions likely to be construed as giving warning to or regulating traffic;
  1. 2.

(Ord. 108200 , § 2(11.50.560), 1979.)


So, be warned, North Capitol Hill illegal fake traffic sign bandit — you might get busted.

In Olympia, meanwhile, HB 1793 “establishing additional uses for automated traffic safety cameras for traffic congestion reduction and increased safety” continues to move forward.


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5 thoughts on “Busted: SDOT to remove rogue North Capitol Hill ‘PHOTO ENFORCED’ stop sign

  1. Putting up traffic control devices is a crime…..but…..we don’t enforce laws in Seattle, unless it fits a particular narrative.

  2. I wish people would stop putting up those rogue traffic signs, such as the “20 is plenty” type signs which litter our streets…..these were offered by SDOT at one time for people to use in their neighborhood, but like all temporary signs they are meant to have a 30-day maximum posting period. Most of them have stayed up for months and even years. There is a certain self-righteous quality to these signs, and I very much doubt that they are effective.

    Leave street traffic signs to the professionals!

  3. I’ll bet that sign post was just handy… the stop that was there was wiped out in the snow storm and SDOT was probably already going completely nuts trying to take care of the streets and make repairs. They were probably already running low and running late and that sign post was sitting around, a used spare in the shop, with that little yellow photo enforced sign already on it. Someone in a hurry slapped a stop sign on it and put it up, having no idea what furor it would cause….

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