According to TheNewspaper.com, Maryland cities will create brand new “school zones” in an attempt to issue speed camera tickets on roads that previously had no need of the designation.
The speed cameras were authorized six months ago after intensive lobbying efforts by the ticket camera industry. The legislature knew that the driving public would not approve of speed cameras being allowed on all roads so they included a provision that the cameras could only be used within a half mile of a school zone as a way to combat opposition.
The city of Baltimore has decided to exploit a loophole in the legislation and is creating new school zones to allow speed cameras to be installed. TheNewspaper.com explains:
The city’s plan is to take a number of roads that are within the legally required distance to a school but are in areas where children do not regularly walk. Baltimore will install “school zone” signs on these roads for the sole purpose of meeting the legal requirement that the speed cameras be used only in a school zone. The new zones include Charles Street at Lake Avenue, Northern Parkway at Greenspring, Pulaski Highway at Monument Street and Roland Avenue at West Cold Spring.
Baltimore is not alone. In New Carrollton, two of the five proposed speed camera locations were not in actual, existing school zones.
“Speaking as a parent of two small children myself,” the editor of StopBigBrotherMD.org wrote, “if these were legitimate locations for school zones we might ask why public officials put the safety of children at risk by not bothering to do the inexpensive bare minimum step of marking the locations as school zones and alerting drivers to the presence of a school nearby… until there was a revenue motive for doing so.”
The city’s greed will also have negative long-term effects on school zone safety in the state. Once drivers figure out that these fake school zones never have any children near them, they are likely to begin ignoring them. Eventually this will lead to drivers having less respect for legitimate school zones in the area.