City to take another look at red light cameras

The city council will take up one of the most controversial issues in the city of Lynnwood – red light cameras. Council members will hold a roundtable discussion on the topic tonight.

Councilwoman Kerri Lonergan-Dreke requested the discussion. She says red light cameras are usually the first thing people bring up when they find out she’s from Lynnwood.

“What I’m hearing from folks, both inside and outside of Lynnwood, is people don’t have a positive feeling about red light cameras,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of folks who have written to us, saying ‘we will no longer come to Lynnwood; we won’t shop in Lynnwood.’”

Lonergan-Dreke believes red light cameras run contrary to the city’s visioning statement of creating a welcoming, friendly city.

She says now is the time to have the discussion before they start hammering out the 2013-2014 biennial budget. About five percent of the police department’s budget comes from red light cameras.

Many opponents question whether the cameras are more about revenue than safety – a claim rejected by Police Chief Steve Jensen.

“We really weren’t being duplicitous or disingenuous by the way it was marketed as safety. We had a system we could automate without having to add a bunch more cops, which are expensive,” he said.

Councilman Benjamin Goodwin believes the cameras don’t always paint the city in a good light.

“I know of two businesses in Lynnwood that have left Lynnwood and gone to another city, in part because of the red light cameras,” he said.

Others on the council are staunch supporters of the program.

“If you come to Lynnwood and break the law you’re going to get a ticket. Period. It’s plain and simple,” Councilman Van AuBuchon said.

The roundtable is the first part of the city council’s regular work session, which begins tonight at 7 p.m. in council chambers. It will be followed by a discussion on new or alternative revenue streams the city could pursue.

  1. I’ve sat at the light at 44th and 200th, and I’ve seen it go off right after the light change before anyone in any direction moves at all, several times.

  2. Here is a real scenario,  the City of Colorado Springs added 6 Red Light Cameras in 2009.  The City removed all cameras because they where loosing money,  it is not about safety,  is all about the revenue.

  3. If the cameras are not about revenue then how about you make the 5% of the Police Departments budget somewhere else.  These are about revenue as they replace an actual officer that would cost thousands of dollars to put on the corner and take pictures.

  4. im in lynnwood a lot and i see the redlight cameras 
    go off when their is no traffic 
    44th in lynnwood … your cameras are a joke 

  5. I used to live in Lynnwood, and the red light cameras were a huge factor in my decision to move.  Not because I was or ever feared I would be caught by one, but because they consistently wreaked havoc  to the area’s traffic.  The lights on 196th seem very carefully timed–not to keep traffic moving, but to bait cars into foolishly thinking they can make it from one light through the next without being stopped again.  Streets in Seattle manage much higher volumes much more efficiently, so it’s either ineptitude or greed that makes Lynnwood a mess.

  6. As an independent furnace repairman,  I wrote off doing repair work in Lynnwood because the light cams seemed to be a racket.

    I never actually got a ticket myself.

  7. If you’re not blowing lights, you won’t get a ticket.  What’s the big deal?  Just because the flash goes off doesn’t mean anyone is getting a ticket mailed to them.

    1. Ten cities have been caught shortening yellow light times to increase profits. American Traffic Solutions is owned by Goldmn Sachs. It isn’t about safety, it is about money. With the right engineering and  increased yellow light times you will get safe intersections.

  8. For years Lynnwood has tried to improve it’s image, even hiring consultants to help.  Then they buy into the traffic camera fiasco, taking them back to a place worse than were they started.  When I drive in Seattle and see the occasional camera I’m not nearly as offended as driving through Lynnwood and seeing them every where you turn.  It gives the city a very oppressive image, not to mention how drivers fearful of tickets unnecessarily slam on their brakes, creating a separate set of problems.

    From what I have read, there are no statistics showing a marked decrease in accidents due to these cameras.   It has even been acknowledged by the city that the cameras provide much needed revenue. Keeping these cameras is about money….period.  As one writer said…it’s a racket!

    When I can, I shop in MLT and Canyon Park to avoid Lynnwood, both as a precaution and as a statement.  By the way, I have driven for many years and never received a ticket of any kind. 

  9. Simply extend the yellow lights 1 second above the minimum time required.  A 35 mph road would have a 4.6 second yellow instead of a 3.6 second yellow.  Violations will be reduced by about 80% and maybe more.  Fewer “law breakers.”  Greater safety because fewer red light runners.  Rate of violations will not bounce back to previous levels.  Studies have proven this.

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