Sunday, August 17, 2008

Press Release: Stop on red at two Federal Way intersections or face a $124 ticket

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August 14, 2008

Stan McCall
Federal Way Police Department

Linda Farmer, APR
Communications & Government Affairs Manager
253.835.2411 or 253.261.1211

Stop on red at two Federal Way intersections or face a $124 ticket

The City of Federal Way is rolling out a pilot Red Light Photo program on Aug. 25 at the intersections of South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South and at South 348th Street and Enchanted Parkway. Federal Way is the 15th city in Washington state to install the cameras.

The year-long pilot program begins with a 30-day grace period where only warnings will be issued.

Tickets, set by the state at $124, will be issued starting Sept. 25. Registered owners of the vehicles caught at these two intersections will be sent a photograph of their license plate along with the infraction and an online link to the video of their vehicle going through the light.

The cameras will snap a photo of cars entering the light on red. If a car is already in the intersection and the light turns red, that does not trigger the camera.

“We know people are frustrated by the shear amount of traffic trying to get through some of our intersections and we sympathize,” said Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson. “But this is a safety issue. We’d really like to see one hundred percent compliance.”

The City is contracting with American Traffic Solutions, Inc., out of Scottsdale, Az., for the pilot program. The program is expected to cost about $228,000 for the year, and expenses will be paid for by fines collected.

Nationally, more than 800 people die running red lights each year, while more than 200,000 are injured.

None of these statistics take into account the high costs of property damage, medical treatment and productivity losses. Most red-light-running crashes are angle or side impact, which tend to be more severe than rear-end crashes.

According to the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, red light photo enforcement has led to a 25 to 30 percent reduction in intersection injury crashes. Red light cameras are currently used by more than 300 U.S. communities in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

If photo enforcement generates revenue beyond the costs of running the program, it will be split between the police department, the municipal court and public works department for traffic and safety related issues.
Read the original press release (PDF)


tvjames said...


First -- *IF* the program generates revenue beyond the cost? I hope the city will report back in a year and indicate how safety has improved at these intersections. Because if it's not substantial, then the only real winners are ATS.

Second -- I believe 100% of the proceeds (after costs) from this should be funneled into fixing the problems that cause people to run red lights in the first place.

Such as unbearably long and congested intersections and lanes that cannot be fully emptied on one light cycle. Of course, a more robust grid or better transit options, especially east west would help. Not to mention dedicated right turn lanes.

I cannot understand why we're putting up blinking yellow "when clear" left turn lights but we're failing to recognize how much dedicated right turn lanes would do do cut down on congestion. Granted, I'm no traffic expert, but when you co-mingle carpool with right turn, it makes the right turn useless and backs up traffic. And then when the light is green, no one (right turners or car poolers) can move because of pedestrians crossing the intersection.

Third -- Though not proven, it's alleged that ATS recommends shortening yellows to the shortest possible, in order to maximize revenue. I'd like to hear from our city what our yellow light lengths are, what the state minimum is and if we plan to keep ours the same. (And if they are already the minimum, why? Isn't this a great way to increase accidents?)


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