North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Stillaguamish Tribe provides grant for traffic camera

 

Courtesy of MIOVISION

photo Courtesy of MIOVISION One of the cameras that the city of Arlington has ordered to improve their ability to measure traffic behavior.

The city of Arlington hopes a new traffic monitoring camera will improve the way cars and pedestrians interact so that both are safer in the future.

The Stillaguamish Tribe provided a grant of $6,685 to the city to purchase the new equipment. The city has ordered the equipment, but doesn't have it yet, although they expect the camera to be up early March.

"It's a camera that can be set up to monitor traffic movement and pedestrian movement over a long period of time," said Jim Kelly, Arlington's Public Works Director.

"The camera is similar to the traffic counting tubes [black cables that are put on the road to gather traffic data], which count cars and speed, however they don't catch driver movements," said Kelly.

The new camera will be able to tell how the drivers are interacting with the road.

"Specifically to see, not so much the quantity, but the movement. To see if people are stopping at stop signs, how they're making turns at corners, how they interact with pedestrian crossings," said Kelly.

They will also be able to count the usage of trails and bike paths, said Kelly, and so the camera will be useful to see how much those features are being used in the city.

One of the biggest goals with this new data is to ensure that bicycles and pedestrian paths are safely integrated into the current road network of Arlington, said Kelly.

"If you look around the Puget Sound area, you see multi-modal use, or pedestrian use, bicycles and people walking/hiking, that's becoming a much greater portion of our transportation system," he said.

"One of the things that's going to be critical in helping this multi-modal system grow is making sure we have safe interfaces, where trails and sidewalks interact with roads, and that's one of the big things we're going to be looking at: how to make those interactions safer," he said.

The camera will also be able to measure the level of service at each of the city's intersections.

The Washington State Department of Transportation grades each intersection based on the average amount of time each car has to wait at the light or stop sign.

The new equipment will be able to do that on its own, instead of relying on manpower to do the measurements.

"Instead of putting a person out there to do traffic counts and look at car movement, we can put a camera out there and measure for several days," said Kelly.

The new equipment takes about six weeks to fabricate, said Kelly. "We've already started planning where we're going to implement it," he said.

He wants to make sure that city staff is properly trained in how to secure and lock it though so it isn't stolen or vandalized.

"It's a good piece of equipment that the city would not be able to afford without a grant from the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, and they are a great partner with the city," he said.

 

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