The Metropolitan Police Department has struck gold. And The City Paper said it couldn’t be done.
The placement of a mobile speed camera at the intersection of Route 295 and Eastern Avenue NE, currently a tortuous construction zone, is going to make a lot of money. I drive through this area a couple times a week (the Metro doesn’t go to Northern Prince George’s people) and know firsthand the destruction this camera shall wreak.*
Exhibit $: The speed limit here is currently 35 mph, due to construction, 10 below the regular 295 limit of 45. No one goes 45 on 295; 35 is crazy. I am not saying the limits are unreasonable; the road is potholed, narrow and dangerous. But literally no one is currently observing the 45 limit.
Exhibit $$: The fine is doubled in a construction zone. I would estimate the average speed on 295 right now as about 60 mph. According to this fine chart, going 25 mph over normally would set you back $200. In this case, make that $400.
Exhibit $$$: The cameras are mobile. On the one hand, if you have a good eye for police cars, that might be a good thing. But for regular commuters, part of adapting to photo enforcement is making a habit of slowing down in a specific spot. I have been trying to train myself to slow down here (you should see how people whip around me) but I wonder if this is even worth it. How often will there be a camera here? And what are the chances I am going to remember the camera will be here when it is. Ahem, I mean, I ALWAYS OBEY THE SPEED LIMIT.
Exhibit $$$$: This is a long-distance route. I see all kinds of different license plates on this road; Garmin has apparently told travelers this is the best way to go north/south and avoid the Beltway. Not sure what the compliance rate is with out-of-staters paying their tickets, but those people are about to receive some more mail.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the real news. I buried the lede. My main man dillonmerrit told me:
Yeah, the unpaid tickets end up on your credit report. I have a $25 unpaid parking ticket on my report, didn’t affect my excellent score AT ALL. HA!
The lesson is, as always, don’t read Washington Post Internet comments.
*-I am not going to get into the politics of speed cameras. They are here to stay.