More traffic cameras on way to Federal Way
Federal Way: Safety, not money, reason to add school zone, red-light cameras, police official says

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STEVE MAYNARD; The News Tribune
Published: 05/27/09 12:05 am | Updated: 05/27/09 3:19 am
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After a successful trial of red-light cameras, Federal Way is expanding the program by adding speed cameras in three school zones and three more red-light cameras at intersections.
Police Cmdr. Stan McCall said red-light cameras have cut down on accidents and injuries at the city’s two busiest intersections.
The cameras also have generated a large number of violations (an average of 900 a month) and a lot of money ($371,890 in net revenue from October through March).
“I didn’t expect it to be that much,” McCall said.
But he said the reason for increasing the number of cameras is not to make more money during a budget shortfall. The goal is to get drivers to stop at red lights and to reduce traffic accidents and injuries, he said.
McCall said the cameras have caused more drivers to stop and not run red lights at the two intersections, resulting in fewer citations issued by officers.
The money generated beyond operating costs is split between the police department, Municipal Court and Public Works Department for traffic- and safety-related issues.
The school zone cameras will take pictures and video of vehicles exceeding the school zone speed limit of 20 mph.
The cameras will operate when students are coming to and from school and during lunch hour when flashing yellow school zone lights are on, McCall said.
The speed cameras will be added in late August or early September at the three school zones with the highest number of traffic violations in the city, McCall said.
At the same time, the city will add a red-light camera to a new location and two more cameras to a busy intersection that already has two cameras.
The fine for running a red light is $124. The fine for speeding in a school zone, when captured by a camera, is likely to be set at $189 but could range as high as $250, said Aaron Walls, deputy city attorney.
By a vote of 6-0, the Federal Way City Council approved adding the cameras at its May 19 meeting. The city is contracting with American Traffic Solutions of Arizona.
Other local cities that have red-light cameras include Tacoma, Lakewood, Fife, Auburn and Puyallup. Auburn and Lakewood also have school zone speeding cameras.
Federal Way’s traffic-enforcement cameras are separate from the 27 criminal surveillance cameras recently activated around the city, which were detailed in a story in Monday’s News Tribune.
Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647