Seattle put red-light runners on notice Wednesday. Traffic cameras will go up at 18 more intersections this year, expanding a program that...
Seattle put red-light runners on notice Wednesday. Traffic cameras will go up at 18 more intersections this year, expanding a program that has brought in more than $1 million from tickets.
Any temptation to sneak past the crosswalk after the light turns red will result in a $124 ticket — up from $101.
A pilot program at four intersections has made the streets safer, officials said.
A city report shows that while red-light violations fell by half, the number of accidents stayed about the same. But fewer of those accidents caused injuries, officials pointed out.
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Mayor Greg Nickels and City Councilmembers Nick Licata and Tom Rasmussen announced the locations for new cameras at a Wednesday news conference.
“Eventually what I hope is that once they start driving in Seattle, they start thinking, ‘I’m not going to run this red light because there might be a red-light camera there,’ ” said Licata.
The cameras take photo and video from behind a vehicle, capturing both the license plate and the traffic signal. Those images are sent to an Arizona data center, where they are reviewed. After Seattle police look at them, the city mails a traffic citation to the vehicle’s registered owner.
Citations can be dismissed if owners make a declaration they were not driving the car.
The pilot program was intended only to cover its expenses of $460,000 but resulted in $1.1 million in fines.
From July 2006 to July 2007, 16,539 tickets were issued and 72 percent of them were paid.
During that time, the city report said, the average number of tickets issued per week dropped by half, from 90 to 44.
Mike Quinn, a strategic adviser in the police department who worked on the report, said the drop resulted from people changing how they drive along routes with cameras.
Based on data from other cities with red-light cameras, Quinn had expected the number of accidents also to go down, which did not happen.
“The thing to observe about the entire study is that it’s based on a very short period of time,” Quinn said.
Lynnwood uses red-light cameras, as do more than 100 cities nationwide.
With the additional traffic cameras, Seattle will have a total of 30 cameras at 22 intersections. The cameras will be placed in intersections that have recorded the highest number of accidents in particular neighborhoods.
Quinn said police and transportation officials chose Ninth Avenue and James Street near downtown, for instance, because many drivers cross the intersection to get to Interstate 5 and because the hill makes it difficult for drivers to see.
Licata said every major intersection in the city needs cameras, and he wants to fund 24 more in 2009.
The new camera locations:
• Northwest Market Street and 15th Avenue Northwest
• 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 80th Street
• Stone Way North and North 40th Street
• Aurora Avenue North and North 85th Street
• Northeast 80th Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast
• Northeast 45th Street and Union Bay Place Northeast
• Sixth Avenue and James Street
• Fifth Avenue and Spring Street
• First Avenue and Marion Street
• Broadway East and East Olive Way
• Broadway and East Pine Street
• Boren Avenue and James Street
• 23rd Avenue East and East John Street
• Ninth Avenue and James Street
• 14th Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street
• Southwest Avalon Way and 35th Avenue Southwest
• 35th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Thistle Street
• Rainier Avenue South and South Massachusetts Street
• South McClellan Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South
• Denny Way and Fairview Avenue North
• Rainier Avenue South and South Orcas Street
• Fifth Avenue and Spring Street
• Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 45th Street
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org