Speed cameras get support at City Council hearing

City Council members confirmed their support for speed cameras and other types of automated traffic enforcement at a roundtable on Wednesday. The roundtable was scheduled in response to a critical report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that highlighted flawed ticketing procedures and questioned the justification for speed cameras.

While they stated the importance of ticketing procedures that are consistent and fair, Council Members Mary Cheh, Tommy Wells and David Grosso also expressed a high level of concern that the OIG report unfairly portrayed the District’s automated traffic enforcement program. “This is not a gotcha operation,” Cheh said. Speed cameras improve drivers’ behavior, she said, and her constituents strongly support them.

D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) Chair Jason Broehm testified at the roundtable that the PAC backs the program, too. “The Pedestrian Advisory Council has previously expressed our support for the District’s Automated Traffic Enforcement program, and I want to reiterate today that we strongly support the program because it improves safety on our roads – for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers alike,” Broehm said. “The presence of cameras across the city encourages drivers to slow down, stop at stop signs and lights, and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.” The PAC is recommending that revenue from automated enforcement be designated for traffic safety instead of going into the District’s General Fund where it can be used for other purposes.  This is a best practice identified by the Governors Highway Safety Association and mentioned in the IG report to help increase public acceptance of automated traffic enforcement programs. Broehm also explained at the roundtable that the PAC opposes limiting cameras to school zones or school hours as some other jurisdictions do. Read Broehm’s complete testimony here.

Hillcrest resident Gladys Graye, who has previously discussed her concern about speeding with the PAC, also testified at the roundtable: “We have blind people, we have children, we have old people,” Graye said. “Two hundred forty cameras? That’s not enough.” (Here is a link to the list of camera locations.)