The Redmond City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to end its current contract with traffic-enforcement camera vendor American Traffic Solutions and enter into a new agreement to extend the speed-camera program on Northeast 116th Avenue near .
The approved proposal, drafted by Mayor John Marchione, calls for city staff to end the current contract with ATS effective Jan. 31, 2012, and negotiate a new agreement for the speed camera at Einstein effective Feb. 1, 2012, through the end of the school year.
Marchione's recommendation also calls for the council to consider expanding the speed-camera program as well as "research and develop intersection safety recommendations for future consideration and implementation."
The council's vote, met with applause from a handful of people attending Tuesday's meeting, follows an that brought council members to the agreement that the camera program's effect on safety was inconclusive.
Council member Kim Allen, who had previously suggested the city consider a new vendor for the speed camera, said she was willing to continue with ATS for the time being, given that the new agreement would last for a little more than four months.
Before voting, council members took turns explaining their decision to end the program while also emphasizing the need to find another way to change unsafe driving behavior at Redmond's intersections.
"This particular implementation is not what we expected it would be, but I don't think that the conversation should be finished," Allen said.
Council President Richard Cole took things a step further, saying he was frustrated that the public did not understand the need for enforcement at red-light intersections and that certain myths about the program, such as the amount of revenue the city expects to collect from violations, prevailed despite efforts to address residents' concerns.
Cole said he believed the program's ineffectiveness at changing driver behavior was summed up in an email he received from a resident who said, "Please take the cameras out—I cannot afford another ticket."
"I am so disappointed in the public, that this is the attitude they're taking," Cole said.
Council member John Stilin said he was particularly concerned about people who were caught running red lights more than once.
"The one thing in the report that really surprised me was that 20 percent of the tickets we handed out were for two-time offenders," Stilin said. "I hope we come back and have something that does a better job of getting people to just wake up and pay attention. I'm not sure it's going to be a ticket, but I think we need to do something at those intersections to make sure people are safe."