Speed Cameras on the Move in Baltimore County

… Three shifted to new school zone sites, including one from Lansdowne to Catonsville …


By Brian Conlin, bconlin@patuxent.com

3:00 PM EDT, October 4, 2011

Drivers in Lansdowne have gotten the message.

Now it’s time for those in Catonsville to heed the word.

Baltimore County police installed a speed camera along the 500 block of South Rolling Road near Catonsville High School on Oct. 3.

The move came as part of a transfer of three of the county’s 15 speed cameras near public schools from other parts of the county.

The new locations, police said, were chosen based on speed studies and crash data.

Citing improved driver behavior, Baltimore County police will remove speed cameras from the 3900 block of Hollins Ferry Road near Lansdowne High School, and one each from Edgemere, near Sparrows Point High School, and Middle River, near Eastern Tech in eastern Baltimore County.

The speed camera on Hollins Ferry Road has cut the number of speeding vehicles on the road, said Elise Armacost, chief of public safety information for Baltimore County.

“There’s a drop in the number of citations, which indicates motorists aren’t speeding the way they once were,” Armacost said. “What we’re looking for is improvements in motorists’ behavior.”

A resident of the 4100 block of Hollins Ferry Road since 1984, Misty Ritenou hasn’t noticed a difference.

Ritenou said people drive the way they did before police installed the camera.

“Everybody basically does what they want,” Ritenour said, noting she regularly sees accidents on the road. “I honestly don’t think it’s made a difference. They continue to drive the way they want to drive.”

Though police will deactivate the cameras, some equipment may remain at the sites, according to a release from the police.

The new sites will have portable cameras on concrete pads that can monitor traffic traveling in both directions, the release stated.

Signs alerting motorists that they are entering a monitored area were installed Sept. 30, Armacost said.

“The police department does not intend these cameras to be a secret,” Armacost said. “If you know you’re coming into an area with a speed camera, your inclination should be to slow down. That’s the goal.”

For 30 days after the installation of the cameras, vehicles caught traveling more than 12 mph faster than the 25 mph limit will receive a warning, instead of a citation, the release stated.

After Nov. 1, drivers caught speeding by the cameras will receive a $40 citation but no points, according to the Baltimore County police website.

Under state law, the county must designate money collected from the citations to public safety programs, according to the website.

State law also requires the cameras to be located in school zones and operate only from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The cameras remain operational throughout the year.

Donald Smith, who lives in the 400 block of South Rolling Road within the area of the speed camera, said he liked the idea of the speed camera in his neighborhood.

“(Drivers on the road) certainly won’t let you back out of your driveway,” said Smith, who has lived in his house for 11 years. “If you live on the street, you’re for it. If you’re a commuter, you’re against it.”

Smith said he understands if people lose track of their speed coming down hills, but noted he makes sure to slow down when he nears Catonsville High School.

The students and others, he noted, often walk on the side of the street without a sidewalk.

In the past few months, Smith has seen a couple of accidents at the intersection of South Rolling Road and Newburg Avenue.

If the speed camera reduces those and increases the safety, he is in full support of it “until I get a picture of my car,” he joked.

A camera on the 1200 block of Sulphur Spring Road near Arbutus Middle School is the only other one in southwestern Baltimore County.

That camera became operational Feb. 22, 2010, as one of the first two in the county.

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