Red-light cameras may return to Auburn

City dropped program after losing money



Between 2006 and 2014, Auburn contracted with RedFlex Traffic Systems of Arizona to place traffic cameras at three intersections and in six school zones.

Many accused the city of employing the cameras only to generate revenue from motorists who were caught speeding or violating red lights.

By 2014, the program was costing the city more to run than it was bringing in, so instead of contracting with a new vendor, as the City Council had discussed, the city pulled the plug, and the cameras came down.

But on Oct. 26 at Auburn City Hall, city staff presented a case for bringing it back, perhaps with a different vendor — to cut speeding and to enhance public safety, Senior Transportation Planner Cecile Malik told the council.

“We really want to keep everybody safe, the drivers, the pedestrians, the bicyclists, everybody on the road,” Malik said.

Also, Malik said, having those electronic eyes up there would free the city’s three overstretched, full-time traffic unit officers — two solely for enforcement, one who responds to accidents — to do more along city’s 246 miles of streets, 94 signalized intersections and 22 school zones.

Deputy Mayor Claude DaCorsi, who in 2016 voted to end the program, said before he’d consider bringing it back, he’d have to see hard data showing the number of violations and accidents at the intersections since the removal of the red-light cameras.

But if the city is to have another go at it, DaCorsi continued, the primary focus this time should be on curtailing speeding in school zones to ensure the safety of the community’s children.

Having the cameras should not be about bringing in money from violations, DaCorsi said, as some cities have admitted it is for them.

“I am not interested in revenues, I am interested in safety,” DaCorsi said.

The city of Kent uses revenue from red-light cameras and school zone speeding cameras to pay for numerous police programs, including body-worn cameras for officers and new police vehicles.

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