Beware drivers: City of Des Moines will be installing three new red light cameras


The City of Des Moines announced Thursday (Sept. 29) that it plans on installing red light photo enforcement cameras and begin issuing violations at three intersections starting Nov. 1.

The city will install new cameras and begin issuing violations at the following intersections (map below):

  • Pacific Hwy S / S 216 Street (Eastbound & Southbound) on Nov. 1, 2016
  • Marine View Drive / S 216 Street (Northbound & Southbound) on Dec. 1, 2016
  • Pacific Hwy S / Kent Des Moines Road (Southbound & Westbound) on Dec. 15, 2016

The fine for running a red at each camera will be $136 – the same as if an officer wrote you a ticket for the same violation.

Prior to issuing violations, the city says it will implement a 30-day introductory period by placing variable message signs at the intersections to alert drivers of the pending photo enforcement. This introductory period will begin 30 days before the activation dates stated above and will provide an opportunity to change driving habits before citations begin.

“The City of Des Moines chose these locations after conducting comprehensive site surveys on several intersection approaches within the city,” according to an announcement. “These results were then compared with collision data to assist in identifying the intersections. The red light photo enforcement cameras will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to prevent dangerous red light running. This expanded traffic safety photo enforcement program aims to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from injuries due to vehicles failing to stop for red lights.”

The city added:

In December 2011, the city began its pilot Traffic Safety Photo Enforcement Program by installing speed enforcement cameras within the Woodmont Elementary School Zone. Police say that the year-long pilot program showed an 82% reduction of school zone violations since implementing the program. Based upon this information, this program was expanded to include both Midway Elementary and Pacific Middle School sites. Since the inception of the program we have had over a 90% reduction of speeding motorists within these school zones, making the school zones safer. After program expenses, the City uses the additional revenue to fund pedestrian safety improvements and/or sidewalk improvements near school zones.

Based upon the effectiveness of the school zone speed cameras, the city plans to expand the traffic safety photo enforcement program to include automated red light cameras.

A recent analysis released by traffic safety camera company American Traffic Solutions overwhelmingly concludes that the use of red light safety cameras has resulted in fewer collisions thus a decrease in property damage, injuries and fatalities.

The City of Des Moines is continuing to utilize advanced photo enforcement technology to improve the driving behavior therefore making a safer environment for pedestrians and motorists. Drivers are urged to obey all traffic control signs, slow down, and always expect the unexpected. This traffic safety photo enforcement camera program enhances enforcement abilities while freeing up other police resources to focus on the mission of promoting traffic safety.

Revenue generated from the automated red light running photo enforcement program first pays for the equipment/payments to the contractor and covers the city’s cost of running the program (i.e. officer’s time to review the tapes and court time to process). The remaining revenue will be used solely for public safety purposes.

The city has contracted with American Traffic Solutions Inc. (ATS), which provides road safety programs for nearly 300 communities across North America. More information about ATS is available at

Neighboring city Burien tried using red light cameras for three years, but discontinued them in 2012 – read more about that here.


14 Responses to “Beware drivers: City of Des Moines will be installing three new red light cameras”
  1. Chris Clevis says:

    If it truly been that effective – I’d like to see the program expanded to all school zone in town. Better signage, sidewalks and enforcement would would help make everyone safer and maybe this could help pay for it. Red light cameras are more about the money and less about safety in my opinion.

    • It’s not that effective. We know because it’s not traffic engineers installing these, it’s cops and politicians who want the money. They can only afford to install cameras at intersections with engineering deficiencies that they choose to exploit for cash rather than fix.

      • MissBeth says:

        Yeah, cuz ya know, people who think like you do are likely the idiots that put people in danger by running lights, which is WHY these cameras are needed.

        SELF ENTITLEMENT of SELF CENTERED drivers needs to end!!!! ( i.e I own a car and I’ll do as I please, laws be damned mentality)

        If it takes red light cameras to do that, by all means EVERY municipality should have them.

        The tired old “these cameras are scam” crap only serves those the cameras are intended for.

        FOLLOW THE DAMN LAW, and cameras wouldn’t be needed, it’s really that freaking simple!!!
        Sign me a life long pedestrian – one who has been nearly hit more times than I can count by idiots running lights and stop signs.

        • BirchCreek says:

          Totally agree MissBeth.

        • Ann E. says:

          Well, does anyone recall why Burien removed their red light camera$?

          And also

          Wonder whose handprints will be left behind in our city after all that greasing.

        • Ann E. says:

          Most importantly, people who run red lights and intersections will not be stopped by a magical barrier. The woman that was killed over by Highline college would not have had any better chance of being alive today because of ticketing cameras. People who are high, violent, stupid at driving, inexperienced, young, past their driving time, and inattentive are not going to care about a red light camera issuing tickets and will continue to be menaces on the road.

          How many anticipate all the accidents from shortened yellow lights and people who won’t make legal turns? This will only make traffic more congested through town. I can’t avoid MVD and neither can any of the other residents who actually prefer to get further than 4 blocks in a half hour during peak hours.

  2. RC says:

    “A recent analysis released by traffic safety camera company American Traffic Solutions overwhelmingly concludes that the use of red light safety cameras has resulted in fewer collisions thus a decrease in property damage, injuries and fatalities.”

    Sooo, we’re supposed to believe a study by the company selling the cameras? I think my ass just got lung cancer from all the smoke blown up it from this city. If they had claimed “reduced major collisions” they might have some validity, minor collisions on the other hand go through the roof from all the people stopping hard when they shouldn’t because they are afraid of getting a ticket. I asked a cop about this and he laughed about how they have very few collisions at all at these intersections and almost never any serious ones. So, are we going to get new officers hired to handle all the new collisions or are they going to be told to do online reports since there are no cops available? This is never about safety but is all about money, pity they can’t be honest.

  3. All of the Seattle, Washington cameras are published on this map.

  4. Rick ferrell says:

    It’s a profit center for the city, ask the city of the 136 dollar fine, how much does the city keep?

  5. Justin says:

    My issue is the city will likely see very little if any revenue from these camera’s and could very likely end up costing the city. If these camera’s do cost the city it will come out of the police budget limiting their resources even further than they already are. This will be just like many city’s who tried this and found the intersections to become more dangerous because of people speeding and breaking hard at lights. I’m all for safety but let’s do it right!

    From ordinance 1647
    “(8) Compensation for services. The compensation paid
    to the manufacturer or vendor of the automated red light running
    enforcement camera equipment used shall be based only upon the
    value of the equipment and services provided or rendered in
    support of the system, and shall not be based upon a portion of
    the fine or civil penalty imposed or the revenue generated by
    the equipment. “

  6. XAK says:

    Someone hooked up the cameras wrong. 11/23 11:50 pm I was at the new intersection at Pac Hwy S and S 216th. All drivers were stopped. I watch the light change and a car drive through LEGALLY they had a green light and the camera flashed. I hate those flashes, they scare the hell out of me when I just sitting at the intersection. I wait for the light to change, I go through intersection and I see a flash. I’m the only car moving with a green light. Someone hooked up the cameras wrong if they are taking snap shots of people going through green lights. There was no speeding through lights by any cars.

  7. AMANDA R NELSEN says:

    Amazed people are angry about this…

    If you don’t want to pay the fine don’t run the light!!!! you should not be running the lights in the first place. It’s so simple. If you want to run then lights, go ahead, but don’t complain you got caught!

  8. Susan says:

    One of the reasons I left Seattle and move to Des Moines’s was to escape from all the government overreach that has occurred in Seattle. Sadly, I already see the push for more control over citizens seeping into Des Moines. The country has made it hundreds of years without traffic light cameras and we already pay the police department to help with enforcement. One more expense the citizens will most likely end up paying. Someone who is inclined to speed and not follow the law putting is not going to change their behavior. Everyone keeps coming up with new laws and ways to force people into making good decisions. The problem is people who make good decisions, make them because they have a moral basis to do so, period. A quality character is not something that can be demanded by the law but something that Is built on many actions of doing the right thing, because, it’s the right thing to do not because one wants to avoid being caught.

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