Please explain why it’s all right to go less than 12 mph over the speed limit at Montgomery County schools before getting a ticket? This has been driving me crazy for years. I doubt that it’s okay to go 12 miles over the speed limit anywhere else.Longtime readers know that I don't like speed cameras, and not just because camera operators often cheat drivers and municipalities alike. That's not to say I agree with speeding, though. Many roads, even smaller arterials and neighborhood streets, are designed to get cars through as quickly as possible. They have two or more lanes in each direction to allow cars to pass each other, or the lanes are made wider so cars can travel at higher speeds. Of course, this comes directly in conflict with the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, who are nine times more likely to be killed by a car going 40mph than by one going 20. Simply dropping a speed camera on a street that's designed for high speeds won't get drivers to slow down. Wide, suburban arterials like Randolph Road in Wheaton, New Hampshire Avenue in White Oak, or Route 1 in College Park all have cameras and posted speed limits of 30-35 miles per hour, but can feel safe at much higher speeds. As a result, drivers see that the sign says 35, remember that Maryland law allows you to go 47, and continue on their way. If we really want motorists to drive slower, cameras are just part of the solution. We have to design roads for slower speeds. That means narrower lanes or even fewer lanes when possible. Take the space gained from those lanes and use it to add landscaping and street trees, which create visual interest and can discourage speeding, or add wider sidewalks and bike lanes, making it easier and safer for walkers and bikers to use those streets. That's the recipe for a safer street. Requiring drivers to slow down on a road that tells them to speed is just a bad joke, even if it's a good way to collect fines for speeding violations.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
the problem with speed cameras . . .
at 9:00 AM