Red-light runners may get the blues; Police try new technique in

Red-light runners may get the blues; Police try new technique in

Amy Cannata Staff writer

Forget about red-light cameras. They’re so passe.

The new way to nail red-light runners is to use indicator lights that allow law enforcement to detect red-light violators without being detected themselves.

The blue lights are wired into the red traffic lights. When a red light comes on, a blue light aimed at a side street also lights up, allowing police officers to see when drivers run the red light and catch those drivers without having to run the red light themselves, said Ted Trepanier of the Washington state Department of Transportation.

The lights have been installed at Monroe and Francis and may be added at other locations.

The new technique is one aspect of a traffic-safety project launched recently on the most heavily traveled portion of state Highway 291 – the part including Francis Avenue between Division and Nine Mile Falls.

In addition to increased enforcement, plans include educating the public about traffic safety and studying ways to improve the roadway.

Almost 500 crashes occurred from 2000-2002 along the 11-mile stretch.

But Howard Rowley isn’t convinced the new project is going to do much good.

Rowley and his friends call the intersection where Driscoll Boulevard, Assembly Street and Highway 291 meet “Malfunction Junction” because of the way traffic backs up there, blocking driveways and causing traffic jams.

Increasing development at Spokane’s western edges is creating too much traffic for surrounding roads to handle, Rowley said.


Thanks to late-season snow, you have until next Monday to remove your studded snow tires.

I wouldn’t want to try talking my way out of a ticket after that though.


Spokane street sweepers are working to clear away winter gravel and grit.

You can check to see when they will be in your neighborhood at or by calling (509) 456-2666.

This week’s targeted areas are bounded by Strong Road, the north city limits, Indian Trail Road and Wieber Drive; Lincoln Road, Francis, Ash and Indian Trail; Mission, Trent, Division and Helena; Mission, Trent, Greene and Helena; and Fourth, 29th, Monroe and Cannon.


Northwest Boulevard is scheduled to get a little messy Wednesday when crews work to install a water line just southeast of Assembly.

Traffic will be reduced to just one lane with flaggers.

Sewer work still is having an impact on Perry Street, which is closed from just south of Garland to the alley north of Kiernan.

Just to get you ready for the Third Avenue construction work later this year, crews will be working at Third and Bernard and Third and Adams this week.

Expect lane closures.

Harvard Road will be closed Wednesday near Trent Avenue with a detour in place.

And remember, Thor/Freya couplet work means major headaches in the vicinity of Thor and Interstate 90.

Amy Cannata covers transportation issues for The Spokesman- Review. Her “Getting There” column appears Mondays. To submit transportation questions, comments, complaints or story ideas, call (509) 459-5497 or send e-mail to

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