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Things were testy between traffic-camera company and Mukilteo official

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
As Mukilteo forged ahead last year with plans to put up traffic-enforcement cameras, tensions arose between American Traffic Solutions' then vice president Bill Kroske and the city's public works director Larry Waters.
Waters ended up being the liaison between ATS and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The city needed the state's approval for cameras along the Mukilteo Speedway, a state highway. The state wanted proof that cameras could prevent accidents.
In an April 2010 email, Waters wrote that state and city reviews of actual accidents "did not reveal anything to provide that installing the (cameras) would improve safety."
He wondered whether Mukilteo could make the case for installing cameras along the speedway. That email went to Kroske, city leaders and state transportation officials.
Kroske forwarded the email to colleagues. "I cannot believe this idiot sent this to WSDOT. (It) may have torpedoed the project," he wrote.
The camera company's own data showed Mukilteo's biggest red-light problem was with drivers not coming to a full stop before making a free right turn. ATS surveyed six Mukilteo intersections for red-light runners on a typical day.
Here's what they found: 16 drivers who blew straight through the light; 13 who turned left after the red and 150 who turned right on a red light at speeds of more than 10 mph.
More than 3,300 possible violations involved what the company called "slow right" turns.
Those turns are illegal, but aren't usually linked to fatal wrecks, Waters said.
To the engineer, it made no sense to tout Mukilteo's problem with those turns as a serious safety concern.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » MukilteoLawsPoliticsRoadsTraffic Safety

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