Red-light cameras are coming soon to another Kent intersection near you.
The cameras are already installed at the intersection of Washington Avenue North and West Meeker Street. The cameras go live Nov. 1 for all lanes in all directions, according to Kent Police. Officers will issue warning notices the first 30 days, which will come in the mail.
On Dec. 1, officers will review videos and photos and begin to issue infraction tickets to those who run the red lights. The fines are $136, but the ticket does not go on your driving record and will not impact insurance rates, according to police.
In an effort to improve safety and bring in more revenue, the City Council in September 2022 approved the addition of red-light cameras at six more intersections in 2023, which will bring the total to 12 intersections.
Revenue pays for the body-worn cameras used by officers.
So far in 2023, cameras have been added at the intersections of 116th Avenue SE and SE 240th Street, 68th Avenue South and South 228th Street and SE 208th Street and 108th Avenue SE.
The council also approved cameras to be added at the intersections of Kent-Kangley Road and 116th Avenue SE; and South 212th Street and 68th Avenue South, with activation dates to be determined.
Despite the emphasis on improving safety, the number of collisions at the six Kent intersections with red-light cameras more than doubled in 2022 from 2021, according to police statistics reported in June on the Kent Reporter website and in the newspaper.
In 2022, there were 137 crashes at the intersections compared to 56 in 2021, an increase of 144.6%, according to Kent Police statistics. There were 33,934 red-light infractions in 2022 compared to 32,491 in 2021, a hike of 4.4%.
In 2022, tickets from the red-light cameras brought in revenue of $2.7 million, according to Paula Painter, city finance director. The program also produced $2.7 million in revenue in 2021 and $2.45 million in 2020. The program has brought in $1 million through May of this year. Revenue is expected to increase in 2023 with the additional cameras.
The city installed cameras midway through 2019 at the intersections with the most collisions in response to complaints from residents about drivers running red lights.