Traffic cameras in Lynnwood catch drivers who run red lights at four intersections. In the first 20 days, three cameras caught more than 1,500 red-light violators. This image is from the intersection of 196th St. and Highway 99. (Lynnwood Police Department)

Traffic cameras in Lynnwood catch drivers who run red lights at four intersections. In the first 20 days, three cameras caught more than 1,500 red-light violators. This image is from the intersection of 196th St. and Highway 99. (Lynnwood Police Department)

What Lynnwood can do with its traffic cameras

Traffic cameras are every driver’s little tattletale siblings. You cut one little corner and they go crying to Mom and Dad, making sure it costs you big time.

Lynnwood is deciding whether to keep its own little tattletales at some busy intersections, and our latest poll at HeraldNet.com shows you are not fans. We asked what the city should do about its traffic-enforcement cameras, and 70 percent of voters said to get rid of them.

It’s easy to see why, with so many reasons to despise the cameras. Aside from being nuisances for drivers, they are operated by private companies that are motivated by profit, not safety. They create an incentive for cities to increase revenues by shortening yellow lights so they can issue more tickets, as Chicago had to admit to doing. Cities say they’ll improve safety, then become dependent on the money they bring in.

That brings us to the 1,860,000 reasons Lynnwood has to keep its cameras. That’s how many dollars the city netted in 2015, and it’s on pace to rake in at least that much this year.

Supporters cite other reasons such as safer streets for pedestrians and slower traffic in school zones. They say Lynnwood’s streets are safer, although they’ve presented no data showing that’s actually the case, and there’s no national consensus on the issue, either.

To be fair, our poll wasn’t limited to people in the city; maybe its residents are happier with the traffic cameras than those of us who only endure Lynnwood traffic when we’re dragged to the mall.

If you do live there, you’ve got a short window to try to convince the City Council one way or the other. It has until November to renew its contract.

But just like when a baby brother or sister arrives, sometimes you get the feeling there’s no turning back.

— Doug Parry, parryracer@gmail.com; @ParryRacer

Turning our backs on traffic-enforcement cameras, we look ahead by looking behind to the past century of the Boeing Co., and want to know about your favorite jetliner made by the (mostly) Seattle and Everett based aviation manufacturer.

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