Recent press coverage over the City’s evaluation of installing electronic traffic enforcement cameras has resulted in a number of comments on social media and elsewhere over the suitability of such enforcement technology.
The intent of Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger's discussion with the City Council on this matter at the January 22 Council Workshop was to gauge interest or opposition from among the Council to learn more about the potential use of red light safety cameras and/or school zone speed cameras.
Preliminary information conducted by the department suggests certain school zones and intersections as having a high level of violations. RedFlex, the potential camera vendor being considered, conducted 12-hour surveys of Road 68/Burden Boulevard and 20th Avenue/Court Street. These intersections were chosen based on the high collision data. 250 red light infractions were captured at these two intersections during the surveys. In school zones, even with flashing beacons, the RedFlex surveys captured over 1,900 speeding infractions in a four-hour period within school zones (which have a posted speed of 20mph with an enforced speed of 26mph), demonstrating that students and pedestrians who travel to and around our schools are exposed to much higher speeds than previously thought.
The City has asked the public their thoughts on these cameras in the past, most notably in 2015 where the National Citizens Survey showed that 70% those sampled were in favor of red light safety cameras under the right circumstances.
In any event, there is considerable evaluation to be conducted on either proposal. As Chief Metzger mentioned in his report to Council, staff is months away from presenting a recommendation on use of red light safety cameras or speed cameras in school zones. A thorough and thoughtful evaluation is required prior to the implementation of this kind of technology.
"At this point is it premature to say what a staff recommendation might look like, if such a recommendation is ever made,” said City Manager Dave Zabell. “Our goal last week was merely to alert the Council to the matter in a public meeting and provide some preliminary information on how such programs work". The public is encouraged to watch the presentation at the January 22 meeting and watch for this topic to be discussed at future City Council meetings.