BYLINE: ELISHA SAUERS, Staff Writer
Candid cameras could be watching your speed on the streets of Annapolis come November.
The city has hired a company to provide speed cameras after the City Council unanimously approved the devices last year.
A speeding violation caught on camera could cost you $40.
Maryland law allows local jurisdictions to use photo speed-monitoring systems within a half-mile of schools and construction areas. They may issue tickets to drivers going at least 12 mph over the posted speed limits.
RedSpeed USA, the vendor hired days ago to supply the camera equipment and process the tickets, will begin working with the Annapolis Police Department later this month as schools go back in session. City officials said they’ll be monitoring traffic patterns around school zones and observing which areas have the worst speeding problems.
Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, D-Ward 4, a former teacher, has advocated speed cameras for two years. Finlayson, the chairwoman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said children who walk to school are often at risk of being struck.
“I really believe that everybody understands that this is a safety issue,” Finlayson said. “Forest Drive is (a) high-speed highway.”
RedSpeed also will apply for permits with Anne Arundel County and the state for roads within city limits that are identified as speeding hazards.
Officials haven’t determined the number of cameras and their locations.
Police said speed cameras will give the department more flexibility to focus on patrolling.
Not everyone agrees that the city has been upfront about implementing speed cameras. Some residents and Alderman Fred Paone, R-Ward 2, say that in a city as compact as Annapolis, where nearly everything is within a half-mile of a school or a construction site, police can justify a camera almost anywhere.
Last year, Paone said it was a misnomer to call speed cameras anything other than a way to raise money for the city.
City officials said RedSpeed will complete its study of the area in the next few weeks.
“It’s particularly timely now because we’re getting ready to start … school,” Finlayson said.
Police conducted their own traffic studies last year in the Forest Hills area of Forest Drive and near Germantown Elementary School in Admiral Heights. During the six days of monitoring, almost one-third of all motorists were driving at least 12 mph over the speed limit, police said.
After the cameras are installed, the city will give warnings for 30 days before it starts imposing fines, officials said.
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