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Everett evaluating red light cameras at five spots

EVERETT — Red light cameras are being pondered for traffic safety at a few busy intersections.
Earlier this month, the public safety subcommittee, a workgroup of City Council members, heard how five intersections up and down Evergreen Way could have cameras deployed. The committee will convene again Jan. 8 to continue its discussion.
The intersections proposed for a camera or two are at:
• Pacific and Rucker avenues;
• Evergreen Way at Madison Street;
• Evergreen Way at Fourth Avenue, near Everett Mall Way;
• Evergreen Way at Casino Road; and
• Evergreen Way at Highway 526.
Special attention is being given to the area around Evergreen Way and Highway 526 (the Boeing Freeway). The camera would face the westbound offramp at 526. There is no safe spot to park a police officer here because the area is a tight corridor.
Everett Police records show that this intersection consistently ranks high for red light offenses.
The city also is discussing adding a school speed zone camera along Casino Road for Horizon Elementary.
Cities with red light camera programs saw 21 percent fewer fatal red-light running crashes, according to a 2017 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
A few considerations are being made in the current discussion at the council committee.
One, it takes staff time to verify camera violations. State law requires an officer to review every ticket-camera violation before sending a citation.
Two, the city would need to sign a contract to pay an automated traffic enforcement company for the service. The company would install the cameras and process the ticket data.
Contested tickets would go before the Everett Municipal Court.
The City Council’s subcommittee will continue its discussions during early 2020. The three-member committee can’t authorize cameras, but it can send a recommendation to the whole City Council to decide.
The fine for a red light camera ticket is $124.
If Everett found itself with a surplus in ticket revenue after paying the camera company, the extra money would be dedicated to traffic safety improvements.
Any red light ticket is a civil fine. It does not get logged as a moving violation on a driving record.
There are 11 cities in Washington state that use red light cameras today. Nine more, including Marysville, are currently looking at camera programs, according to Everett Public Works.
Everett already wrote regulatory framework for red light cameras. The City Council approved an ordinance 10 years ago to allow cameras, but none were ever deployed.
Locally, Monroe and Mukilteo both removed their red light camera and school speed zone programs during the early 2010s. Mukilteo pulled theirs after a public initiative showed 70 percent of the public opposed the cameras. Monroe’s speed zone cameras were at Frank Wagner Elementary along Main Street and Fryelands Elementary along Fryelands Boulevard, while a red light camera was at Kelsey Street and U.S. 2.
The next City Council public safety subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8 will be at 5 p.m. in the council chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave. The committee does not have a comment period, but there is an opportunity for public comments at the full council meeting at 6:30 p.m. that night, same location.



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