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The number of school zone speed camera tickets rose in 2013 compared to years prior due to three new camera-enforced zones going into effect last fall, according to a Longview police report.

Tickets at Columbia Valley Gardens and Mint Valley elementaries — the location of the original two speed zones installed in 2011 — fell sharply. Columbia Valley Gardens tickets fell from 1,010 in 2012 to 713 last year, and Mint Valley tickets dropped from 1,200 to 907.

However, installation of cameras at Kessler, Olympic and St. Helens schools kept the total number of tickets higher than 2011 and 2012 levels. Of all five cameras, 2,754 tickets were issued last year, compared with 2,604 in 2012 and 2,481 in 2011.

No data was available for the Mark Morris speed zone, which went into operation in January this year.

The report was presented to the City Council on Tuesday night.

The program has collected a total of $1.1 million and had about $940,000 in expenses since it started in 2011, leaving a balance of $162,000 at the end of 2013. The Longview Police Department plans to use the money to pay for a full-time traffic engineer and clerk and administrative manager time that goes into the program.

Traffic collisions throughout the city rose for the first time since at least 2007, though only nine occurred near schools. One of those within the 20 mph enforcement zone.

Brooks Johnson covers Longview city government, Cowlitz PUD and Lower Columbia College for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-7828 or bjohnson@tdn.com.

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