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PUYALLUP: Traffic camera made retroactively legal

Letter by Louise M. Knowles, Edgewood on Feb. 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm with 12 Comments »
February 2, 2011 3:28 pm

I am just livid. I thought that we lived under a system of laws, and to discover otherwise has just left me blank.

I received a red light ticket for a rolling right-hand turn from Ninth Street Southwest onto South Hill Park Drive. After some research, I discovered that under state law, red light cameras are to be placed only where two arterials cross.

The Puyallup Police Department agreed that South Hill Park Drive was not an arterial. The City of Puyallup road classification map shows South Hill Park Drive is not an arterial; it is a “driveway.” Other identical cases have been dismissed for these same specific reasons.

However, by the time that we got to court, the City of Puyallup had changed its definition of arterial to include that specific drive.

We were stunned. The City of Puyallup road classification map remains unchanged. This drive also has two speed bumps. Arterials do not include speed bumps. This camera is there for one purpose only, and that is revenue generation for the city of Puyallup.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. hortonpeak says:

    I received a red light ticket for a rolling right-hand turn from Ninth Street Southwest onto South Hill Park Drive. After some research, I discovered that under state law, red light

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/2011/02/02/a-nation-of-laws/#ixzz1CqtcD3k9

    Perhaps you need to stop bitching and look at the word “rolling”. Did you come to a complete stop and then proceed. Oh, never mind, if you cannot figure out my point and then begin the dialogye it is hopeless. In a nutshell – you, Louise, broke the law. Period.

  2. ItalianSpring says:

    No tickets in 30 years for me. It’s what happens when you obey the law.

  3. You must be from California, Louise.

    They drive like that, there.

  4. vrumvrum says:

    Yep, that’s the attitude in Puyallup. You make a slow rolling right turn in the middle of the night when no one’s around and you BROKE THE LAW. But when the city gets caught putting up the red light camera in an illegal place, they just change the law, ignore the law, twist the law. They certainly command my respect.
    The problem is, here in Pierce County, a lot of cities don’t bother with the law, just apply it.

  5. pazzo242 says:

    Though Louise did not stop fully at the intersection she describes there are other issues here that the above bloggers have ignored. Red light cameras were originally employed to combat those intersections that were high risk and where drivers were routinely running red lights. They were NEVER designed to be a money maker for the jurisdictions they were being used in. They were to get a problem under control in an intersection that was out of control.

    Now steps in the City of Puyallup. One is hard pressed to drive through any intersection in Puyallup where a camera is not set up. All you have to do is stop at the stop line at Meridian & River Road and you will see the flash bulb go off 2-3 times even though no one is going through the light. Puyallup has been making a fortune off the red light cameras, even for the slightest of infractions, something most cops will just give you a verbal warning for. These cameras are affecting the status of driver’s license and insurance rates for those who are normally good drivers. But does the City of Puyallup care, no. You are an ATM for them via the cameras.

    As a retired police officer I see these cameras as more of a nuisance. They force people to take undue risk of stopping, instead of just driving through a light that turned yellow–afraid of getting a ticket in the mail.

    Washington State law does not allow the cameras to take a picture of your image, just the car and license. So all you have to do is just go to court and tell the judge that you were not driving the car at the time and you have no idea who was. It is time to force the City of Puyallup and other cities like it, out of the camera business. If they would have stuck to the original reason for the cameras then I would never have suggested what I did but they are forcing good citizens to take drastic actions

  6. ArchieMoore says:

    These cameras are affecting the status of driver’s license and insurance rates for those who are normally good drivers.

    The “ticket” goes to the registered owner of the vehicle, not the driver. Nobody get any points on their driving record, nobody’s insurance gets raised.

    Why don’t you concentrate on obeying the traffic laws instead of looking for someway to get out of the situation you created! Stop completely before the white stop bar = no ticket. Really simple!

  7. letsworkitout says:

    She is guilty, period.

  8. ArchieMoore says:


    pazzo242, you state you’re a retired police officer, so you should know that.

  9. You may be a retired police officer, pazzo242, but your comment is full of holes.

    For one thing, when she rolled through the crosswalk without stopping at that big wide white line, she endangered those who may have been in that crosswalk.

    If that flash bulb goes off 2-3 times even though no one is going through the light, no ticket is issued. How can Puyallup be making a fortune off the red light cameras when no infraction has occurred?

    When the light turns yellow, the break should be applied instead of the gas peddle. If you have to speed up to get in under the yellow, you could have stopped. You’re the person who needs to change your driving habits.

    If you’re so close to the vehicle in front of you that you cannot stop if that person has to stop fast to avoid entering a camera enforced intersection when the light changes, you’re too close.

    If you choose to lie to a judge in order to beat the ticket, that’s perjury. Are you saying that it’s unfair that some people get to commit perjury, where others wouldn’t?

    I suppose that it’s a good thing that you’re finally retired, officer pizzo242.

  10. vrumvrum says:

    Are any of you folks who are calling Louise a whiner even remotely concerned that the city was breaking the law? Aren’t government officials subject to the same rules and laws that they command of the citizen? Doesn’t anybody believe the government should even be held to a higher standard? “Crime is contagious. If the government becomese a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law” (Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis)

  11. lawrencejprice says:

    COST CAUSER PAYS. Get rid of the cameras and get back to regular traffic enforcement. In order to maintain the amount of coverage for a city the size of Puyallup all the city needs to do is add a surcharge to each traffic offense to offset the cost of traffic enforcement. The court system needs to add a surcharge to offset its costs. We don’t need camera’s, cost causer pays is the best solution. Traffic enforcement becomes nearly self sustaining. Of course once all the surcharges kick in for a violation, a $150.00 traffic offense might triple, but it real easy to avoid, don’t violate.

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