Pasco police Chief Bob Metzger told City Council members he was shocked when he got the results of a traffic survey last September on how many red light violations and other driver infractions that were happening. He thought the numbers might be pretty high, and his suspicions were confirmed.

According to the Tri-City Herald, the traffic survey showed 76 red light runners at the intersection of Road 68 and Burden Boulevard in just 12 hours. Of those, 59 would have been confirmed violations.

The intersection of Court Street and 20th Avenue had 119 various forms of red light running and 89 of those would have been violations.

Plus over a two-day period there were a whopping 932 violations in Pasco school zones.

Chief Metzger never thought he would be in favor of traffic cameras, but the data shows all the ways Pasco has tried to manage traffic flow in high volume areas just isn't working and before there are serious accidents and injuries, action needs to be taken.

The technology is there and Pasco is running with it as hiring an extra six officers just for traffic patrol and control is not feasible, besides traffic flow issues extend way beyond traditional drive times. And with Pasco's continued growth, it's only going to get worse.

Beginning in Spring, cameras will be installed at the Road 68 and Burden Boulevard intersection along with Court Street and 20th Avenue, where rolling "California Stops" before turning right are the most repetitive violations.

Following that, look for mobile camera units in school zones to catch speeders who ignore flashing lights and a 20 mph speed limit in effect 30 minutes before and after school. Washington state law allows cameras for speeders in school zones and for red light violations only.

“This is not about revenue as much as it is safety,” Metzger said. Some of the early social media commentary, as expected, is much more jaded toward the upping the revenue argument.

Before the cameras can start racking up tickets, the Pasco Municipal Code has to be modified and Pasco Municipal Court officials have to tweak their system too.

Mayor Matt Watkins was the only city council member to oppose cameras, saying his concern is the parameters of what constitutes a violation. He believes even the impression of going backward on community goodwill must be considered.

Even after traffic signal camera installations, Pasco, which gets to set the standards of what constitutes a violation and the amount for the infraction, will give drivers a 30-day grace period.

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