Monroe, Lynnwood still grapple with traffic-camera questions

People have been asking us: Monroe’s promised to take down its traffic-enforcement cameras. When does it happen?

There’s still not a clear answer.

If you read the contract, you can see why city officials are hesitating to name a date. (We posted the document in 2011.)

Like relationships used to be listed on Facebook, “It’s complicated.”

We asked Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer about it earlier this week. He basically said that regardless of how things get interpreted, by his read, the contract expires Dec. 31.

The camera program in Monroe long has been fraught with legal troubles. Recently, Tim Eyman announced plans to seek an appeal of the state Court of Appeals’ recent ruling in the city’s favor on how it handled one of his initiative challenges. It’s not clear if the court will decide to review the decision.

In April, the city notified the vendor in writing that it doesn’t plan to renew the contract.

Since then, some have raised questions about why the city doesn’t terminate the cameras sooner than the contract end date. We asked.

The discussion likely will happen “later this year,” City Administrator Gene Brazel said.

It’s not on the schedule at the moment. We’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, Lynnwood’s use of enforcement cameras came up at a forum held July 16 for mayoral and City Council candidates. Not all the candidates were asked about the cameras by the moderators.

Of those who were, here’s the gist of what they said.

We don’t have the exact wording of the question posed, but it was along the lines of, “Do you support the red-light cameras and would you support adding more school-zone cameras?”

Lynnwood mayoral candidate responses:

Don Gough: He criticized the wording of the question and didn’t give a clear answer.

Loren Simmonds: He supports them. Says traffic remains a big concern in the city, says citations have been dropping anyway.

Mark Smith: Supports them fundamentally but dislikes how many of the citations are for rolling right-hand turns. Would like to add warnings and reduced fines for the first or second right-hand turn violation. Worries the cameras make the city seem unwelcoming.

Nicola Smith: Didn’t take a stand either way. Said the program should be transparent, and she’d do a thorough analysis. She also said she worries about Lynnwood seeming unwelcoming.

Lynnwood city council position 2:

Ian Cotton: He’s indifferent. He’d want to look at the data and listen to residents.

Jim Smith: Said the cameras do change behavior patterns, but he doesn’t like how many of the violations are for rolling right-hand turns. He also worries about the city being “addicted” to the revenue.

Shirley Sutton: She supports them. She’s gotten a ticket, and it made her drive more safely, she said.

More stories about the Lynnwood races are coming up in The Herald before the primary election.

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