Everett on track to have red light cameras


Everett on track to have red light cameras

EVERET — The city is now soliciting bids to add automated red-light cameras at six intersections, after the city council voted 6-1 to proceed.
Responses from suppliers are expected in May. If the council approves, the cameras could become operational next year.
No contract is signed. The board will be asked this summer to vote on whether or not to approve the winning camera company.
Councilwoman Liz Vogeli, however, stressed the importance that finding deals is a definite step for Everett to have cameras “unless something weird happens.”
The six camera locations listed in the bid request are:
• Broadway at 16th Street, with red light cameras monitoring Broadway looking north and south
• Rucker Avenue at 41st Street, looking north and south on Rucker
• Evergreen Way at Casino Road, looking north and east
• 4th Avenue W. at Evergreen Way, heading north
• Everett Mall Way at 7th Avenue SE, heading west; and
• 112th Street SW at Evergreen Way, eastbound
These six intersections rank citywide as having the most red light-related crashes between 2015 and 2020, according to city traffic data. Selections were made on this basis.
Additionally, a school speed zone camera would be installed at Horizon Elementary on Casino Road.
The Snohomish Ebony PAC and NAACP Snohomish County sent the council a joint letter opposing red light cameras.
He points out that five of the six placements are in areas with high concentrations of people of color. They also note how a $124 red-light camera citation is a regressive penalty; $124 exceeds a full day’s wage for a minimum wage worker, the letter notes.
Councilman Mary Fosse has sought to pause the month-long application process to hold targeted outreach meetings to hear from more people of color. The board rejected Fosse’s request in a 5–2 vote; a few said the listening meetings could take place during the approximately 60-day period to bid and select the vendor for board approval.
The Snohomish County Transportation Coalition supports red light cameras for safety.
“The clear consistency of a camera dramatically improves results” and takes police interactions out of the equation, its manager Brock Howell told the council. “We see this as a harm reduction strategy” until intersection improvements are made.
In the final vote to remove red light cameras from the bids, board members were mixed.
Councilwoman Paula Rhyne gave the only “no” vote to the red light camera program.
The intent is safety, but “the impact is systemic inequity,” Rhyne said. “I support safe streets for all, but not at the expense of communities of color, so I remain a ‘no’ on this issue.”
Some of his colleagues verbally acknowledged that fairness is an issue, but spoke about how much security improvements are needed.
Councilor Ben Zarlingo described it as a “well-considered plan” as “we have seen careful analysis done. A selection of the most dangerous intersections, and a school zone, and on the directions of movement” to know where to place the cameras.
Councilwoman Judy Tuohy called it “not in the safety of our community,” noting that she heard shivering crashes at 41st and Rucker.
Councilor Don Schwab said he would like red light cameras to be part of a larger overall road safety plan.
The city started discussing red light cameras more than 10 years ago, but never installed one.
Council President Brenda Stonecipher noted that the problem was not improving.
Any contract with the winning red-light camera supplier is expected to be for five years.
The city’s red light camera program is expected to be nearly revenue neutral.
The program will cost about $1.16 million per year, covered by $1.38 million per year in traffic tickets.
Surplus revenues would be used to improve road safety. In January, council members said they wanted all revenue to be specifically earmarked for improving the intersections where the cameras are installed.
An annual activity report would have to be produced under state law, said municipal traffic engineer Corey Hert.

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