Category Archives: Traffic

VIDEO: Curbs coming in on Lower Wheaton Way

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Crews poured the first curbs as part of Bremerton’s $3.4 million reconstruction of Lower Wheaton Way Tuesday. 

It’s a milestone for the project, which will add wide sidewalks, bike lanes and better lighting to an approximately one mile stretch of road spanning Bremerton’s bridges.

The project is slated to be completed in the fall.

More On Bremerton’s Red-Light Cameras

It happens in the news biz. You’re working on a story and tell your editor it might be a little long, only to receive the wince/sigh combo that only means one thing. “Space is tight in tomorrow’s paper.”

I had a conversation with Bremerton attorney Stan Glisson, who made a few points that I I thought people might be interested in. The Interwebs have unlimited space, so I’ll write them here.

I called Glisson because he’d written a letter a while back defending Municpal Court Judge Jame Docter, and the way the tickets are adjudicated in court. That said, he’s not a fan of the camera systems.

Glisson isn’t involved in the lawsuit over the traffic cameras, but he isn’t surprised to see some legal action.

“The frustration level people have is very high,” he said.

He researched the law himself a couple months ago after getting a ticket in the mail. He received the ticket a couple of weeks after it caught his car driving through the intersection. We’ve reported before that some people get out of the tickets by testifying in court – under threat of perjury – that they weren’t driving the car, it was someone else.

Obviously this can happen with a family member, friend, etc. borrowing the car. But the delay between the alleged violation and the ticket in the mail can lead to doubt about whether you were in the car or not, Glisson said.

Can you remember what you were doing two weeks ago?

So while you have the option to contest the ticket that way, “an honest person won’t do that if they aren’t sure,” he said.

While he isn’t a fan of the cameras, his opinion is that the city is interpreting the RCW legally when it set the costs of the red-light cameras within the rates for parking tickets. Red-light tickets are $124, the priciest parking ticket is $250.

“That’s why I believe Bremerton is safe in this class action,” he said.

In addition, I got a PowerPoint file from Bremerton finance director Andy Parks that he’d shown the council. I’ve attached it here (now as a PDF so it’s easier for more people to read.)

Download it by clicking here.

Red Light Camera Fine A Hardship For Some

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Here is a study that found red light cameras can make driving more dangerous

Comes now, Bernice Lee of Bremerton, who through a series of events found herself on both sides of one of Bremerton’s most heated issues.

Here is her testimonial.

Dear Andrew,
I was composing in my mind an email to send to you about the importance of the red light enforcement program, and how it really could lead to saving lives.

Then I opened Tuesday’s mail and found my own letter from Bremerton Police Department. The picture shows my car on the crosswalk, and then the second picture shows my back wheels on the crosswalk.

There is a tiny white print band of black above each picture, so I got out my magnifying glass to read it. It gives a time lapse, and also my speed at the time my car “ran the red light.” Once I discovered where the intersection was, I remembered going through what I saw from my angle as a YELLOW light. I was going 22 mph, at 11th and Warren. The time lapse shows “00.24” seconds of red light time in the first picture and 00.86 in the next photo. Those 00. numbers are counting tenths of a second.

NOW I know why all those people are whining “foul.” I have not had any kind of a ticket for 14 years, and I am not a reckless speeder or careless about lights. As I look down Warren Street, now, I think the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on those cameras could have been more wisely spent on cleaning up the ugly weeds in the sidewalks and along the streets.

The place looks like an abandoned planet, and visitors ask me “what is wrong with Bremerton’s governement.” Now I know. Live and Learn. Since my income is Social Security and a little part-time job, I may plead “mitigating circumstances” to try to reduce the $124 fine, but I am not holding my breath.

Sincerely,
Bernice Lee

(Alleged) Red Light Runners Get Day In Court

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The final numbers haven’t been tabulated, but court staff are bracing for a flood of residents contesting tickets for running red lights.

The city has placed six cameras around town to catch red-light scofflaws in the act, and the time to pay up or stand in front of a judge is coming. Read the last story on the lights here.

Theresa Ewing, Bremerton Municipal Court Administrator, said Thursday the court has yet to add up how many people are contesting their tickets, which arrive in the mail, but the first court calendar for the hearings has been set for June 10.

“We have a lot of people who are unhappy,” she said.

Contested hearings will take place at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and mitigation hearings will began at 4 p.m., Ewing said.

Each calendar will have time for 10 defendants and each person will have the chance to view the video of themselves running, or not running, a red light, as the case may be.

“That’s what the judge will see,” she said.

If an hour and a half doesn’t seem like a lot of time, it isn’t. Will there be more calendars?
“Oh yes!” Ewing said. Although the final tally isn’t known yet, officials say there will be lots of contested citations.

Municipal Court Judge James Docter will conduct the hearings, unless they become so numerous a court commissioner has to be sworn in.

“It just depends on the volume,” she said.

Commissioners are sort of stand-in judges, unelected, but vested with the authority to conduct a court’s business. Currently the court does not have any commissioners, Ewing said.

The primary complaint court staff has been hearing is people who didn’t know they had to come to a complete stop at a red light.

Also, staff has heard people say it wasn’t them behind the wheel.

“We have had quite a few of those,” she said.

Because the Legislature prohibits the Redflex cameras from photographing actual people, it might seem like a good defense.

However, the Revised Code of Washington (in other words, the law) says that owners are responsible for their cars, Ewing said. There are a few defenses, but they include providing proof that the car was reported stolen or that a new owner of a car hadn’t registered it yet.

Stay tuned as details become available. And if you’re preparing for your day in court, and want to share your story, drop us a line.

By coincide, my hometown of Renton just announced the start of it’s red light camera program.