College Park has issued 229,177 citations over three years using speed cameras, according to the city’s first-ever annual report on its speed-monitoring system.
Although city officials first installed speed cameras in 2010, they were under no obligation to publish statistics on the number of citations issued until a statewide law — the Speed Monitoring Systems Reform Act of 2014 — took effect on June 1, 2014.
“Our annual report shows the locations of every speed camera and the number of tickets issued at each location,” said Bob Ryan, the city’s public services director.
Each citation is $40 for vehicles that drive 12 mph or more above the speed limit. The city expects to receive $1,515,000 in revenue from speed cameras in fiscal 2016, which started July 1, according to the city’s budget. That figure is a $539,000 increase over fiscal 2015, a change attributed to lower anticipated processing charges. The total revenue from cameras, before the city pays processing charges and other related expenses, is expected to fall to $2,500,000 from $3,798,632.
This is money the city has allocated for “public safety purposes,” which include improvements to pedestrian safety, according to the city budget.
“There is no goal for the number of tickets issued,” Ryan said. “The goal is to slow people down, and we think we’re accomplishing that.”
For example, the number of citations issued on Metzerott Road has decreased 80 percent over five years, Ryan said.
The speed camera responsible for the most tickets is located on the northbound side of Route 1 near the intersection with Tecumseh Street, close to Greenbelt Road. There were 167,362 citations issued for speeding at that spot between March 12, 2012 and August 14, 2014.
Junior communication major Brandon Kraut received a citation at Route 1 and Tecumseh last year — one of six he’s gotten since becoming a student at this university.
While the speed cameras are a good idea, Kraut said, that specific location is unfair because it’s near the point where the speed limit decreases from 30 mph to 25 mph.
“Either it needs to stay the same speed, or be somewhere where there’s not a speed change,” Kraut said.
The Maryland State Highway Administration in August 2014 lowered the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph on Route 1 between Berwyn Road and Guilford Road.
Rather than installing cameras, the city should have more police officers enforcing the speed limit, Kraut said.
Another citation hot spot is further down Route 1 between Fraternity Drive and Rossborough Lane. A total of 5,742 citations were issued there since August 16, 2014.
Caroline Pickart, a sophomore enrolled in letters and sciences, received a citation at that location while visiting the campus in July.
“I was going 37 miles per hour, which was exactly 12 miles above the speed limit,” Pickart noted. “It is fair — I just wouldn’t have been going so fast if I had known there was a speed camera there.”
While the city is required to post signs reading “photo enforced” beneath the speed limit in areas where there is a speed camera, Pickart said she doesn’t recall seeing one.
Pickart said the speeding citations don’t seem to be changing drivers’ behavior.
“My perception isn’t that they’ve helped,” Pickart said. “People still speed a lot, even though everyone I’ve talked to about it has said they’ve gotten [a fine] or knows someone who has.”