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When a camera isn’t quitea camera

The county Public Works installed several camera devices along Kitsap Mall  and Ridgetop boulevards to trigger the traffic signals at intersections. - Photo by Valentina Petrova
The county Public Works installed several camera devices along Kitsap Mall and Ridgetop boulevards to trigger the traffic signals at intersections.
— image credit: Photo by Valentina Petrova

They are tall, slender and white. They look like cameras, but no, you don’t have to say “cheese” every time you pass through or stop at an intersection in Silverdale.

When crews completed the overlay project on the stretch from Randall Way and Kitsap Mall Boulevard through Ridgetop Boulevard and SR 303, the county replaced the traffic-detecting wires in the pavement with cameras perched above the traffic signals.

These new devices have had motorists worried that they are under law-enforcement’s watchful eye — or lens. However, the five units that have been installed so far along that stretch of Kitsap Mall/Ridgetop boulevards, are merely video-detection cameras.

They look up to 300 feet behind the stop line and alert the traffic light mechanism when there are cars coming or waiting.

“They can also count vehicles,” said Del Gann, traffic signal technician with the county, but quickly added. “They’re not surveillance.”

The traffic detector cameras cannot take or store pictures or video.

“The unit doesn’t have the capability to record,” Gann explained.

The five devices were installed on a trial basis in mid-August and only for the directions of traffic for which the detector loops were damaged during this summer’s overlay project. Eventually four traffic detector cameras will keep watch of each direction of traffic at four-way traffic lights.

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