Drivers will see red-light cameras at an additional Kent intersection starting in October.
Red-light cameras have been installed and will go live on Sunday, Oct. 1, in the Panther Lake area at the intersection of 108th Avenue SE and SE 208th Street in all directions of travel, according to a Sept. 28 Kent Police news release. Officers will issue warning notices for the first 30 days of operation.
On Nov. 1, officers will begin to issue infraction tickets. Officers review photos and videos to determine whether to issue a ticket.
Fines for violations are $136, but the ticket does not go onto your driving record and will not impact your insurance rate, according to police.
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. The cameras at the intersection of 116th Avenue SE and SE 240th Street and the intersection of 68th Avenue South and South 228th Street were the first ones installed this year.
The activation dates have yet to be determined at the intersections of West Meeker Street and Washington Avenue North; Kent-Kangley Road and 116th Avenue SE; and South 212th Street and 68th Avenue South. The intersections were chosen based on the number of collisions at each.
City leaders say they support the program because it helps make intersections safer and brings in revenue to pay for the body-worn cameras used by Kent Police officers.
The number of collisions, however, 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.
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.