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City To Add Speed Cameras Around School Zones

Annapolis is working with a private company to assess which of its school zones have the greatest need for speed cameras.

School zones around Annapolis could soon be adorned with new cameras to catch speeding drivers.

“Our goal is to improve safety around school zones," Mayor Josh Cohen said in a press release. “Annapolis has many walkable neighborhoods, but speeding complaints are common, particularly near routes that kids use regularly. These cameras will help deter speeding near schools and improve safety for our kids."

The city reached out to RedSpeed, a private company that studies traffic areas and installs speed cameras. RedSpeed will assess and identify potentially dangerous school zones around Annapolis over the next several weeks. The city plans to publish the results.

Annapolis won't know how many cameras are needed until after the study finishes, and city officials expect the cameras to start going up in early November.

RedSpeed will work on the application and permit process to place cameras on any county or state roads that are identified as potential school zones for enforcement. The company will also work with Annapolis Police to make sure that the areas of concern are consistent with city and state laws. 

The council approved the use of speed cameras in school zones in November 2011. It cited a law passed by Maryland's General Assembly that allows municipalities to fine drivers $40 if cameras catch them going at least 12 miles over the limit.

“Preventing accidents in our school zones is our focus,” said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop in the release. “Automated speed enforcement will enable us to redirect our resources and to patrol other areas while at the same time address school zones with the greatest risk of accidents.”

The cameras will only issue tickets for the specific times allowed by law, and there will be a 30-day grace period where warnings will be sent to drivers (instead of a $40 fine).

“This action was supported by the Public Safety Committee and later approved by the City Council,” said Public Safety Committee Chair and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson in the release. “The committee worked closely with APD to educate the Council on the need for enforcement in and around our school zones.”

With more than 70,000 students about to head back to school, Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said the two biggest safety issues he sees are people not stopping for buses and people speeding past area schools.

"We have children from 5 to 18 years old getting out of their parents' cars and off buses every day," Mosier said. "I wouldn't want to wade into the debate over speed cameras, but we support any initiative that is going to result in increased student safety."

What do you think about the idea?

Photoradarscam August 16, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Cha-Ching! This is about money, and nothing else. The city doesn't know how many cameras it needs or where to put them? Sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Why is the vendor finding the locations - why not the city traffic engineering department? Don't be fooled, it's not about safety.
Margarita Morgan August 16, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Photocops... No need for our finest to waste time on speed traps anymore... That'll give them time for more important things... Like donuts... Seriously, I always thought that when a police officer stops you for speeding, it also gives him a chance to determine if the driver is sober and not driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol... He can check your driver's license to make sure you're not driving with a suspended or revoked permit... And last but not least, he can ID any persons with warrants that are wanted for far more serious crimes than speeding... That could save a life... Remember, a speed camera can't actually stop someone from speeding, it can only take a picture of it...
Brandt Hardin August 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Traffic cameras are just another form of Policing for Profit as Capitalism distorts our Justice System. These companies are bottom-feeders and take a 40% cut of the tickets while creating MORE dangerous intersections by fixing the lengths of yellow lights to entrap drivers. You can read about how private companies and crooked politicians have turned our Police forces on their ear in every attempt to squeeze money out of the general public at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-privatized-police-state.html
Marina August 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Stay within speed limit and keep texting ... that's safe alright. Brandt is right on the money - Goverments (mostly niw broke) are just finding new ways to take money from people... and under the word "SAFE" they hide the true scope .. $$$$
Mike August 19, 2012 at 02:19 PM
“'Our goal is to improve safety around school zones,' Mayor Josh Cohen said." Sure it is. “'Preventing accidents in our school zones is our focus,' said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop in the release. 'Automated speed enforcement will enable us to redirect our resources and to patrol other areas while at the same time address school zones with the greatest risk of accidents.'” Yeah right. The biggest risk is that people don't STOP for school buses and yield to pedestrian traffic. Speed cameras don't do a thing about that. "'These cameras will help deter speeding near schools and improve safety for our kids.'" 1. No they won't. If they are replacing police, who will now be going elsewhere (per the quote above), they will reduce safety of the kids. 2. What is the safety problem that we have today? What do the numbers look like on current accidents where school children have been harmed? Nobody's even citing a problem, just offering a solution. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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