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POLL: What Do You Think of Gaithersburg's Speed Cameras?

The controversial ticketing machines are turning up in more places around the city.

Love 'em or hate 'em, we've got to live with speed cameras.

The electronic ticketing system in Gaithersburg and throughout other parts of Maryland send you a $40 ticket if you get caught going 12 mph or more above the posted speed limit.

On Tuesday the city deployed a —this one on Christopher Avenue at the bottom of a hill.

The Gazette reports that the city plans to set up two more speed camera locations soon. One on both directions of Girard Street in the beginning of December, and on both directions of Clopper Road soon after.

That would mean 11 sites around Gaithersburg would be monitored by speed cameras.

Since the program began in 2008, the Gazette reports, the city has seen more than $5.8 million in revenue from the cameras.

The Fiscal 2012 budget expects revenue from the cameras to be about $1 million.

What do you think of speed cameras? Are they a cash cow for strapped municipalies, or do they serve as a real deterrent to speeders and make the roads safer?

Bob Hydorn November 03, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Governments cash cow is all that the cameras really are.
Bob Drzyzgula November 03, 2011 at 05:15 PM
I think that it is actually clear that speed cameras are not merely a "cash cow" -- speeds are down in the vicinity of the cameras, and the data shows that the number of collisions have also been reduced since the cameras have been in place. If they had no impact, the per-camera revenue would not be declining. These are good things. But even to the extent that they do constitute a "cash cow", I don't get how even this is a bad thing. Everyone out there driving a car has the choice as to whether they are going to get hit by these fines; there is no obligation -- much less right -- to drive at more than 12MPH over the speed limit. If someone out there breaking the law helps to keep my taxes down, I'm fine with that.
Bob Hydorn November 03, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Bob, Most drivers I see slow for the camera then as soon as they pass the makers in the roadway take off once again . What good does that do anyone? Other than add money to the coffers.
Bob Drzyzgula November 03, 2011 at 06:10 PM
I expect that what you are observing is one of the reasons why the cameras have to be placed near schools; at least it gets people to slow down there. And people do this after they've passed speed traps with actual officers with RADAR guns as well; would you suggest eliminating all such enforcement? Moreover, before they put the cameras on South Frederick, it was routine that northbound traffic would slam on their breaks when the light turned red at Summit Ave, and rear-end collisions where a constant there. This problem has been greatly reduced since the camera was put in place. Again, money in the coffers that is not my money, but rather money that had been contributed by those who choose to speed on local streets, is fine by me. I mean, to the extent that those people were going to speed anyway -- the last thing I'd suggest is that such lawbreaking be *encouraged*. And BTW, yes I've been hit by the cameras. Once.
William November 03, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Well, I used to be frustrated but I've realized that many people are thoughtless, unsafe, careless, speedy drivers. So, if they are going to drive like that, then they need to pay. If people don't speed, then they won't get a ticket. I completely agree with Bob D's reply. It is evident that people wantonly violate the traffic laws because of a conscious decision some people make to slow down in the vacinity of the cameras. To do this requires forethought. It also requires more forethought to speed up once out of this area. These cameras are placed in areas where there is a demonstrated need for them based on accident data. I think it's probably better to have the mobile speed cameras than the fixed ones. Maybe with the mobile ones, people would be more inclined to obey the law since they won't know their locations.
Sharon November 03, 2011 at 09:37 PM
Portion of communication sent to State Highway a few days ago: "Instead of addressing issue of excessive speeding on MidCounty, bizarre solution by Powers That Be was changing 45 mph to 50 mph just from Village Avenue to Goshen (6/10 of a mile from one traffic light to another! So what's the hurry! Rhetorical!). No one has replied to my inquiry of 10/27 regarding this absurdity. Remainder of now 'major' highway is 45 mph from Goshen to Shady Grove. Guess it was easier to increase speed than to address the real issue. "If you can't beat 'em (speeders), join 'em". We need a permanent speed camera on MidCounty to catch those morons who try to see how quickly they can excel off of Village Avenue (35 mph) to hit 50 mph in a dangerous heartbeat. Unprotected community of Nathans Hill has already had one vehicle coming off Avenue (yield-to-traffic turn) catapult into a community that State Hwy & County Department of Transportation both refuse to believe needs a safety wall. Trying to get them to see the light has taken over 3 yrs with refusal to comply to residential community safety issue. They are gonna to wait till death or deaths involved or fuel tanks explode in community parking lot. Small grassy knoll is the only thing that separates Nathans Hill from catastrophe from Village's new 'Indianapolis Speedway'!
Bob Hydorn November 04, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Well what will be next? DC has legislation in front of them to reduce the speed limit on all residential streets from 25 mph to 15 mph and only allow a 3 mph over the limit before the cameras get you and you get the ticket in the mail. Where and when will this come to a complete hault?
Doug Tallman November 04, 2011 at 12:41 PM
I wonder how support for the cameras would change if fines replaced property tax revenue dollar for dollar?
Bob Hydorn November 04, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Now Doug, have you ever heard of any gov't reducing any tax/fee once in place?
Doug Tallman November 04, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Metaphorically, you're right. It doesn't happen often. But it has happened. The computer tax, two (?) years ago (granted, it was just replaced by the millionaire's tax, though that was allowed to sunset).
Doug Tallman November 04, 2011 at 01:18 PM
Property and income taxes are a taxes on success and ingenuity. These tickets are a tax on stupidity. I like the concept of shifting more of the burden of government onto stupid people.
Bob Drzyzgula November 04, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Doug: I suppose, in much the same way that lotteries are taxes on people who are bad at math. But I'm not sure that it is the "stupid" who are taxed here, so much as the irresponsible -- a trait that somehow manages to be present across all levels of intelligence, income, etc.
jnrentz1 February 25, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Fines on most traffic violations including speed and red light cameras should be lowered.

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