Red light camera debate moves to Redmond

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KING5.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 6:04 PM

REDMOND, Wash. -- Tim Eyman is taking on red light cameras in Redmond now.  This afternoon he presented signatures on a petition and asked that it go to a vote.  He's doing this in other communities too with mixed success.

It's not just here in Redmond as you mention.  Bellingham, Monroe, Mukilteo and Wenatchee are just a few cities where the political initiative business is booming to either take the cameras down or stop them from being installed.
 
A flash light after going through a red light is a bad sign for a driver.  It means a $124 ticket will be showing up in the mail in about four weeks.
 
A traffic light at the intersection of Redmond Way and 148th, for example, has seen traffic violations drop dramatically from nearly 1,200 warning tickets issued in February after the camera was installed to less than 200 violations in May.
 
"The majority of violations are right turn on red, but I would point out that those were the most hazardous and pedestrians," said Redmond Police Chief Ron Gibson.
 
But  a drop in citations is less clear at another busy intersection where Redmond has installed cameras.  The location at NE 40th and 156th near Microsoft is down one month and up the next. 
 
"95 percent of the infractions at intersections are for California Stops, that's an incredible expensive driver's ed program," said Redmond resident Scott Harlan. 
 
Harlan is filing the initiative to put the cameras to a vote.  For the record: a California stop is not making a full stop while making a right turn on red.  
 
With the help of frequent Initiative sponsor Eyman filing of signatures with clerk's office.  A group of Redmond residents filed more than 6,000 signatures to make a vote happen. 
 
And this is just the latest battle over the cameras. 
 
But if voters can put the cameras out of business, could they block other forms of law enforcement. 
 
"The system is already set up to weed out any frivolous ideas, but when it comes to these cameras, as Harlan says there's no doubt that these cameras are admittedly controversial and we think the voters should have the final say," said Eyman.
 
But in Bellingham, Monroe and Longview it's been a legal issue complete with court action.
 
Lawsuits seem unlikely here as Redmond is still in a one year long pilot program and could abandon the initiative.  These Redmond intersections don't see a lot of collisions but since the cameras went in, the number of accidents is actually up.
 

 

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