Everett considers red light cameras, mostly south of 41st

Drivers are heading north on Evergreen Way on Casino Road in Everett on Wednesday, one of seven places the city plans to place red light cameras. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

EVERETT – Blowing through a red light could cost drivers in Everett next year even if there isn’t a cop around to see it.

In a 5-1 vote on Wednesday, Everett City Council approved employees drafting calls for proposals from companies to deploy red light cameras and other equipment at six intersections and near a school.

Each intersection is among the top 13 accident rates in Everett, employees said in a presentation earlier this year.

Councilor Liz Vogel voted against the motion and opposes the use of the cameras by the city. Instead, the city could design its streets and sidewalks to make it safer for people, she said.

“The benefits of changing our physical environment will last much longer than just these cameras,” said Vogeli.

In an interview with The Daily Herald, she also said she heard concerns about the devices being introduced into areas of the city with some of the lowest median incomes and the most colored people.

“That is a big reason why it is not tenaciously supported in my neighborhood, in District 4,” she said.

The locations for the cameras are:

• Southbound Evergreen Way on Madison Street.

• Northbound Evergreen on E. Casino Road.

• Eastbound Casino and Evergreen.

• Evergreen heading southwest on Fourth Avenue W.

• Evergreen at the exit of Highway 526 heading west.

• Rucker Avenue heading north on Pacific Avenue.

• Eastern Pacific near Rucker.

Employees estimated the cost to be $ 663,000 per year for 13 cameras and $ 504,000 for four full-time employees to administer the program for the first year.

Similar to a parking ticket, the $ 124 violations will not affect a driver’s records or insurance.

Annual fines revenue was estimated at $ 1,375,000. Any revenue available after the cost of the program is covered would benefit road safety projects, but not automatically for the neighborhoods where it was collected.

That worried Demi Chatters, who ran for District 5 this month but lost to Ben Zarlingo. People she met during her election campaign didn’t want the cameras, she said. Someone earning a minimum wage takes less than the $ 124 fine home in a day. If a person can’t pay, the following penalties could pile up and affect their creditworthiness and ability to find shelter, she said.

“This topic worries me because it’s so regressive, it’s so punishing,” Chatters said.

According to an employee report at the beginning of the year, there were an average of 54 accidents per year between 2012 and 2016 at four of the intersections listed. Someone was injured in at least 25% of these collisions.

“I’ve seen the unsafe ways people run through, especially the protected left-turn lights,” said City Council President Brenda Stonecipher. “The crash data certainly supports the need to do something about it.”

But whether red light cameras actually make intersections safer, the researchers come to different conclusions. According to a literature review cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some studies have indicated that the cameras can even increase the number of rear-end collisions or serious injuries, for example.

Other research has shown that there are fewer crashes with the cameras installed. The methods are different, which makes it difficult to find clear comparisons.

One of the most cited studies in favor of the cameras was completed in 2002, but debunked six years later when other researchers replicated the study and found that the original group “incorrectly reported a reduction in crashes.”

Horizon Elementary School students will cross Casino Road in Everett on Wednesday.  The city is considering a speed zone camera for schools to penalize fast drivers.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Horizon Elementary School students will cross Casino Road in Everett on Wednesday. The city is considering a speed zone camera for schools to penalize fast drivers. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Two photos would be taken in Everett for red light and school zone violations.

When someone drives through a red light, a photo shows the vehicle at the stop line and another one in the middle of the intersection and the traffic light. It also records a 12 second video.

In school zones, the cameras record the vehicle with activated speed zone lighting and record the vehicle speed.

The photos are not allowed to be published, said urban traffic engineer Corey Hert.

He expects to submit a company’s proposal to the council for approval in April or May. By then, there will be four new Everett City Council members in office.

The installation of the devices and the start of the automated traffic safety program – as the city calls the camera projects – should take six to eight months.

When they get installed, it will be a project that will last over a decade.

In 2009, Everett City Council first pursued a contract for the devices. But a class action lawsuit over the cost of the tickets filed in King County caused Everett executives to withhold implementation of their road safety program. A federal judge dismissed this lawsuit in 2010.

Since then, the program has been suspended until the Council reconsidered it in 2019.

The council considered adding a grace period in the first month during which those suffering the violations would only receive a warning instead of a $ 124 ticket.

Ben Watanabe: [email protected]; 425-339-3037; Twitter @ benwatanabe.

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Horizon Elementary School students will cross Casino Road in Everett on Wednesday.  The city is considering a speed zone camera for schools to penalize fast drivers.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Horizon Elementary School students will cross Casino Road in Everett on Wednesday. The city is considering a speed zone camera for schools to penalize fast drivers. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

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