Dear PoP – Speed Camera Fines-through the roof!

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rukasu1

“Dear PoP,

Just to give the PoP community a head’s up…speed camera fines have gone through the roof. I knew they had gone up but wasn’t aware as to exactly how much until I got a lovely new one in the mail. 1-10 mph over the speed limit: increase from $30 to $75. 11-15 mph: increase from $50 to $125 (that’s 150%!!! insane!). I’m not sure what the original fines were for higher speeds but those are very very steep now too: 16-20 mph is $150, 21-25 mph is $200, and 26-30 mph is $250. Just though everyone would like to be aware of the massive increases for minor speeding.”

132 Comment

  • So, I’ll be the first to say it I guess: don’t speed?

  • Good to see them raise the commuter tax.

    • My thought exactly.

      • One of the few ways we can tax commuters. So all you pedestrians, bicyclists, children – keep those roads clear for out-of-state speeders!

        • Actually, the only time I’ve ever gotten speed camera tickets was when I lived and worked within the District.

    • ah

      What percentage of DC mobile speed camera tickets go to out-of-staters?

    • some of us can’t afford to live in the safe (wealthy) parts of DC, so we have to waste our time commuting so that we don’t get fucked up in the ghetto that is about half of DC now. If you act like it’s not true, you’re the racist. People who can move away pretty much have to, and that’s the sad fucking shame of modern life in america. Now you pricks want to bankrupt me as I drive to my job- which makes jobs for all you underlings. love it.

  • That 1-10 mile an hour over is what shocks me. If I’m going 26 in a 25, I get a 75 buck fine?

    • ah

      There is some unrevealed threshold so in theory yes, but they dial in some leeway which seems to be at the higher end of single digits at least.

    • As some of the simpletons on this thread would tell you, just dont speed, obey the rules, and everything will be a-ok. Also, buy a bike because driving is completely unnecessary and you’re a terrible person if you own a car. Also, the nearly 1million commuters are not an economic engine, they are a drain, and we should bleed them.

      • Yes, “just dont speed, obey the rules” is simplistic because, well, it’s simple to do. What would you propose?

        I ride my bike to and from work but I don’t believe that cars are evil, that type of commuting would just be a poor choice for me (2 miles to and from my office). Not everybody sees transportation in the same ‘simpleton’ black and white view that you do.

      • “Obey the rules” and drive safely? What kind of extremist commie sympathizer would suggest that?

      • You’re an idiot.

  • With higher fines and lion led enforcement, I expect that there won’t be nearly as many speeders after a few maulings of both the monetary and physical kind.

    • yes! finally. let’s put those lions to work earning their keep! So tired of those freeloading felines!

      • Everyone knows where the cameras are. It has been demonstrated time and time again that they only reduce speeding right near the camera. Nothing but a money-raiser that gets out-of-towners with little or no impact on safety.

        • I think this view is overly cynical. Sure, there are drivers who do this, but there are also a lot of decent people who will make a overall effort to drive slower when confronted with harsh reminders that they are speeding. And that still amounts to high-speed accidents and pedestrian fatalities being avoided.

          • Actually, Arizona just ditched their cameras because this view, far from being cynical, was the plain simple truth.

  • I think my favorite thing about this community is that the first two comments on this story side with speed cameras. Even WashCycle doesn’t have this quality of commenter.

    • I was also very pleasantly surprised by the support. I wrote to Graham to have them put on Irving and Columbia close to the hospital center – I like the commuter tax angle, too.
      WABA has a program called Pace Car where you promise to drive the speed limit and have a sticker on yout car promoting such.

  • Thanks for the heads-up!

    And by the way, not everyone who owns a car is a commuter. Some of us public-transit taking urbanites just like to visit family every once in a while.

    • yeah, man! +1. Just cuz I’m driving doesn’t mean I’m some commuter scumbag that everybody here seems to hate.
      There’s a lot of bridge-and-tunnel hate around here that reminds me a lot of Manhattan arrogance.
      Yes, I live in the district… and please don’t give me the lame old line “go back to the suburbs” or whatever version you were thinking of shooting at me.

      • Absolutely agree!

      • I agree with this as well. I live in DC but I don’t think it makes me a better person than people who have different priorities (good schools, a yard, etc) and chose to live in the suburbs.

      • Leave the self-pity aside for a moment. No one gives a shit where you live. The problem’s not suburbs vs. city, but respecting neighborhoods and the people who live in them, regardless of whether that neighborhood is in DC, VA, or MD.

        You can bet 90% of the suburban speeders aren’t driving 40 mph in their own little cul-de-sacs. Meanwhile, in my experience, DC drivers have a regional reputation for driving too slowly.

        • “Leave the self-pity aside for a moment. No one gives a shit where you live. ”

          Dr Pangloss, you must be new here. almost every time there’s some nerve-tweaking discussion on this blog about the urban foible DCers have to deal with (such as, but not limited to, vagrants shitting in alleys, car break ins, neighbors blasting music at all hours of the night, street-punk thuggery, etc), some goofball says we should all just move “back to the suburbs” if we want peace and quite and a nice place to live.

          I was just trying to head that bs off at the pass. what you’re calling self pity I call foresight.

        • “Leave the self-pity aside for a moment. No one gives a shit where you live. ”

          you must be new here. almost every time there’s some nerve-tweaking discussion on this blog about the urban foible DCers have to deal with, some goofball says we should all just move “back to the suburbs” if we want peace and quite and a nice place to live.

          I was just trying to head that bs off at the pass. what you’re calling self pity I call foresight.

        • You can bet 90% of the suburban speeders aren’t driving 40 mph in their own little cul-de-sacs.

          Um, that’s because they’re dead-ends. They do, however, drive like that on the thoroughfares.

          Meanwhile, in my experience, DC drivers have a regional reputation for driving too slowly.

          +10. Let’s make the light kids.

  • The police list where these places are:,a,1240,q,548201,mpdcNav_GID,1552,mpdcNav,|31886|.asp

    Plus, you can just look for the dashes on the street that gauge your speed.

    • ah

      The mobile units don’t always have the dashed lines, and most of DC is patrolled with mobile units.

    • Thanks for sharing this! A few years ago I changed my commute so I was going through the 3rd St. tunnel twice a day, and I receive two tickets the first week for going 1-10 mph over the speed limit. I’m a slow driver but I’ll admit I don’t always catch the posted speed limit changes. Definitely learned my lesson there! Thankfully I had logged in to the online parking ticket system– a good thing to check on a regular basis if you do a lot of street parking– and learned of the two tickets before racking up more (I wasn’t informed by mail for a another month or two). So it’s smart to check these things, and be hyperviligant of posted speed limits, if you’re starting a new commute or other regular route.

  • As a DC resident who lives on an Avenue that commuters routinely go 15-25 mph OVER the speed limit (which is 40 to 55 mph in a 25 zone)…….I say THANK YOU.

  • “…minor speeding.” Is that like minor robbery?

    Speeding is speeding. This is a walking town. Slow down or pay up.

    • Yes, its a walking town. Thats why it takes me 45 minutes to walk to work, 30 minutes to take the bus, and 10 minutes to drive.

      • And it would probably take you 10 minutes to bike, too. Just sayin’

        • I have absolutely no interest in biking. Some of us can’t show up at work drenched in sweat. Nor am I particularly excited about biking around in a suit.

          • Are there any giant hills between your house and work? I am in pretty much the exact same situation as you: 35-40 minute walk, 25-40 minute bus or bus/Metro, 12-15 bike ride. If I drove it would take me the same time or longer than biking depending on when I left the house (between 8:00-9:00, traffic makes it a 20+ minute drive; after 9:30 or so it gets down closer to 10 minutes). I sometimes get a ride to work, so this is not idle speculation. And if you only include parking in the equation I’m saving well over $2000/year (and that is with employer-subsidized garage parking). Only on day’s like today would sweating be a real issue, but I guess it depends how in shape you are and how fast you want to get to work (I also ride my bike a lot for recreation). Different strokes for different folks, that’s all.

            For ME biking is the by far the best commuting option I have when the weather cooperates. I’m not so hard core that I’m out there in the heavy rain and snow, I do the bus on those days.

        • It takes me 50 minutes to walk to work, 40 by bus, 25 (in rush hour)by car and 15 by bike. Riding downhill to I street I do not arrived “drenched in sweat.” I change for the ride up the hill home.

    • ah

      No, it is not like a minor robbery.

    • WONDERFUL! “We have a walking town!”

      A town where groups of lawless, illiterate, and ignorant teenagers walk around spitting-on, throwing rocks at, and generally abusing their walking and biking neighbors!

  • Seriously… As a pedestrian in DC, I can say in all sincerity, “Fuck you, and your ‘minor speeding’.” *25* is excessive on most residential roads in DC. The speed limit is an *upper* limit. Driver *below* the upper limit, and you won’t have a problem.

    The mentality of drivers in this city needs to change.

    • I think we both know that the remark about “excessive” was relating to 75 bucks for 1mph over… stop making a stupid argument against something any reasonable person would know the original writer was not making.

  • I am all for Speed Camera Fines but I have to agree with Timmy. How can they impose such a large fine on Camera Fines for people going between 1-10 miles an hour over the speed limit. That seems ridiculous.

  • When driving in DC is as unpleasant as walking in Manassas, our city will be a hell of a nicer place to live.

  • Agreed: 25 mph is too fast for most streets in DC. You don’t want a speeding ticket? Then drive at or below the limit.

    • I agree that 25 MPH is a safe speed for most roads in DC, but these speed cameras are not on most roads in DC. I got dinged for going 36 on Florida in front of Gallaudet a few months back. Florida is a 5 lane road at that point – I was shocked the speed limit was 25. Live and learn.

      • Exactly. Most places you couldn’t go above 25 even if you wanted to do to the number of lights, volume of traffic, etc. But there are several places in the city where it’s very easy to go over 25 without thinking about it and going the flow of traffic.

        • But there are several places in the city where it’s very easy to go over 25 without thinking about it and going the flow of traffic.

          Always find this argument puzzling. “Going with the flow of traffic” may give you some cover on I-495, but it’s not an excuse in an urban environment. Everyone’s speeding? No shit. That’s the whole problem..

          • Everyone’s speeding? No shit. That’s the whole problem..

          • You clearly dont get out much. The speed limit on the SE/SW Freeway is 35 or 45 mph. There is frequently a speed camera on the PA Ave extension. Its quite easy to go 55-65mph because its a 6-8 lane divided highway.

          • The speed limit on the SE/SW freeway is 45. That means the “unofficial” speed limit is 50. That means the average speed is 60…

            The reason we have speed cameras is that “it’s easy to go” over the speed limit. Grow up; take responsibility for your actions.

          • +1

            If everyone gets enough tickets it will force everyone to slow down. I can’t think of a more effective strategy than giving people a financial incentive not to speed.

      • crazy that the speed limit is 25 in front of a school for the deaf and houses, huh? its also where two little girls were plowed down by a speeder.

        slow down.

  • It would have been more useful to say why this would help.
    Location of speed cameras in the following link.

  • Live and learn.

    Or drive and read (the speed limit signs).

    Florida Ave through here is a fairly residential, has multiple unsignaled crosswalks, and is the the site of near universal, and pretty egregious speeding.

    • Right…I learned the speed limit and now I obey it.

      I don’t disagree that there’s universal speeding – people (like me) see a five lane road and assume the speed limit is in the 30s. It is not.

  • Sorry, the link I posted didn’t work.
    Try this one for speed camera locations.
    Choose location from the drop down menu.

    • ah

      This appears to be based on reports from posters to that website.

      Why not go to the MPDC website, where they’re listed?

      (although MPDC unhelpfully removed the map showing the sites).

      Speed cameras aren’t a commuter tax so much as a stupid/unaware tax. They catch the non-regular drivers because the regular ones know exactly where to slow down.

  • I used to work for the company that repairs/installs and maintains these cameras . I know how they work inside and out and there is several ways of beating these contraptions . 1 take the Bus 2 know where they are located and 3 SLOWDOWN if driving.

  • Speeding and red light cameras do little to impead this kind of driving except in certain limited stretches of road where people are aware of their existence. This is a revenue generator and nothing more, hence the extraordinary escalation in fines. If MPD was serious about slowing people down, they would put one cop in a cruiser at 16th and (pick any street with a crosswalk and no traffic light between here and Silver Spring) and actually start pulling people over. Speeding and nearly running down pedestrians is the norm for DC commuters (and yes, some local drivers who just want to get out of the city every now and again). Too many of you are missing that point. The fines for speeding should be high and punitive, but they should be tied to a cop actually issuing the ticket so the driver knows it could happen anywhere. Otherwise they’ll take their chances at trying to spot the cameras and speed everywhere else.

    • ah

      The one in Chevy Chase, MD, on Conn Ave. SB is hilarious. Stream of brake lights as you approach, traffic jam, and then everyone hits the gas right before the circle.

    • Well said!

      I wonder what sort of community input or information informs MPD decisions to install these cameras. For example, as someone who doled out a chunk of change for going 36 on that desolate strip of Porter between Connecticut and Mt. Pleasant, I can’t help but wonder why on earth a camera be warranted on that street as opposed to, say, Sherman – where drivers regularly speed despite the narrow traveling lanes, squished parking lanes, regular crosswalks with pedestrian traffic, and periodic lights. I think I would fall over from surprise if I ever saw a cop actually stop someone speeding or failing to merge or otherwise doing illegal things on that street.

  • places that the speed limit is too low:

    the porter street landing strip.
    4th street tunnel
    north capitol by the cloverleaf
    new york avenue between the capitol city markets and MD
    suitland parkway

    but if there are houses near you as you drive, SLOW DOWN.

  • I got a speed camera ticket in Swtzerland for going 8 kph (aka < 5mph) over the speed limit. The ticket was 120 Swiss Francs, and at the time the exchange rate was about 1:1. Plus, Hertz charged me 40 francs to turn my info over to the police, and the wire transfer cost another $5. Worked out to about $150 total, plus a couple hours trying to communicate via email in bad french with the police.

    Lesson learned, though. I'll never drive over the speed limit at all in Switzerland again. Apparently they set the ticket threshold at 3kph (<2 mph) over the speed limit, as that's the accuracy of the camera system.

    • ah

      That’s Swiss precision for you.

    • ah

      BTW, did you tell Hertz you weren’t willing to pay them for the disfavor they did you by turning over the info? That’s hardly a service you should pay for.

      • You don’t actually get the choice to pay them, because they just go ahead and bill your credit card. The admin fee is in the contract you have to sign to rent the car, so disputing the charge is a no go.

  • I commute from U St. down to 295, which takes me down the 4th St. tunnel. I’ve gotten dinged in this city twice by speeding cameras, and I paid my fine because I got caught, and now I know where the cameras are and can safely slow down in their vicinity.

    What drives me nuts are the people who can see where the speed cameras are, or see the little dashes on the road and SLAM ON THE BRAKES. You can see the little dashes, but you can’t see the speed limit sign or your speedometer? We were already driving 45, we don’t need to slow down more. That’s how traffic and accidents happen. Ugh.

    • I totally agree with this. I cannot stand when people slam on the breaks like they *need* to go 30 because there is a speed camera. So dangerous.

  • This is definitely just a revenue generator, and nothing more.

    1) Set artificially low speed limit (or remove speed limit signs that used to say 35 mph, thus making the area an unposted 25 mph zone, even in a 6 lane divided highway–this is what happened to me).

    2) Send mobile camera detectors to said location for 3-4 days

    3) DC Treasury is $150,000 richer!’

    4) Repeat in new location.

    • good for dc.
      and yes, i’m a driver.

      you know what else is “just a revenue generator”? taxes.
      i’d rather up the fines for breaking the law, and lower taxes.

      • I’d rather have the the speed cameras, which deter people from the most dangerous of traffic violations, than have the city hire more cops. In addition to being more costly, the cops will typically park near a “no turn on red” sign and spend their days writing up drivers for something that is generally a lot less dangerous than speeding. You see a lot of this in the VA suburbs (can’t speak for MD since I rarely go there) and I don’t think it punishes the most dangerous drivers as effectively as speed cameras do.

        • I believe I read at one point that DC has one of the highest rates of cops per capita (don’t quote me). We definitely don’t need to spend more for cops who would solely issue speeding tickets. I could live with a few more detective-cops who can close homicide cases, like the ones profiled in the Post today, but that’s another story.

    • “1) Set artificially low speed limit (or remove speed limit signs that used to say 35 mph, thus making the area an unposted 25 mph zone, even in a 6 lane divided highway–this is what happened to me).”

      Boo-de-frickin’ hoo.

      So I guess you support narrowing these ridiculously wide commuter arterials. We can take three of the lanes and turn them into separated BRT and cycle-tracks. Better for non-auto commuters, and maybe that’ll help folks manage to obey the speed limit.


      • i’d settle for widening the sidewalks everywhere.

        • You are a moron

        • And widen the sidewalks. Two lanes for auto-traffic, two for BRT, one half each for dedecated cycle tracks, and one lane goes to widening both sidewalks.

          Then we’re only down to two lanes for general car traffic, which means it’ll be much easier to drive slowly.

          • Hey Doc – I like the BRT idea…could make my commute much easier. Has this actually been discussed in depth? I recall a couple years back there was some discussion of lanes on Pennsylvania, but not sure how far along they were in the planning process.

          • I demand a lane for horse and buggy, and one for Roman-style single axle chariots, too.

          • I’m with Jim! Roman Mennonites are horribly under served in this country! How many roman Mennonites do you see in congress? None! How many Roman Mennonites do you see on American Idol? None! It’s Racist I tells ya, Racist!!!

  • Does anyone know where or how I can request installation of these cameras? The two intersections near our house are constantly being sped through and come close to hitting kids, etc…

  • All you ppl on your high horses w/ this “its simple follow the law” crap need to get a grip. Are you all unaware of how easy it is to do 34 in a 25? Thats a $75 offense in your minds? If you ride a friggin bike or walk wherever you go, continue to do so…in silence

    • Sure, it’s easy if you’re not paying attention to how fast you are going. And your point is?

    • Of course it’s easy. Cars are designed to drive much faster than that. So what? Slow down and you won’t get a ticket. It’s a very easy solution to the problem.

    • its simple follow the law

    • “Are you all unaware of how easy it is to do 34 in a 25?”

      Again, boo hoo.

      You’ve got a speedometer. Use it. After a while you’ll get accustomed to what 25 mph feels like.

      Absofuckinglutely 10mph over the limit should be a $75 fine. In a perfect world, drivers who wanted to operate a vehicle on the streets of DC would have to have speed limiters installed.

      If you’re driving down a street, and don’t know what the posted speed limit is, drive 25.

      • Or drive as fast as you want only slowing down for when a parked van or unmarked police car comes into view.

        • “Or drive as fast as you want only slowing down for when a parked van or unmarked police car comes into view.”

          Pretty entertaining that folks think the current speed camera technology is going to stay the same. The political will is there; the technology is coming online. Heck in four years we’ve gone from those static cameras mounted to posts with lines on the road, to mobile cameras on unmarked police cars.

          There’s too much political support, and waaay too much money in it to fail.

    • I actually sympathize with this, but I know that when I get caught going 34 in a 25, it’s on me.

  • Hey Ocho,

    Follow the law

  • Where is this Fourth Street tunnel everyone is referring to?

    • The one I’m referring to (which I think is the general one, although I only moved here last fall) is the 395 tunnel that goes under the Capitol. It ends at the intersection of NY Ave and 4th St, NW. There are speed cameras right before it goes under Mass Ave.

  • You think it’s bad here? In I think Norway they assess your fine with reference to your previous year’s income tax return.

    The speed cameras slow people down, raise revenue for the city, and they *don’t put points on your driving record*, which makes them eminently preferable to an actual ticket from an actual cop. Everybody wins. Drive the speed limit, pay your fines, and respect peoples’ neighborhoods.

    That is all.

    • I want to live in Norway. For this, and so many other reasons. 🙂

    • Was it in Norway or Finland that some rich guy got his ticket assessed at something around $150,000 based on his income?

      One other advantage of driving slower is using less gas.

      • I thought Norway but I will of course defer to you about this … Thor.

      • It was in Finland for going over 80km/h in a 40 (when you double the posted speed there is some crazy fine accelerator), he was some super rich Nokia guy or something. And the guy who was caught going 242 mph in Texas during a rally had his car impounded but was bailed out and on the road the very next day. USA! USA! USA!

  • Driving is no fun when you have to drive slow and be constantly paranoid about cops and speed cameras. You people are a serious buzzkill. Jesus.

  • Well, after reading the comments on this thread, I think one thing we can ALL agree on is that anyone who doesn’t agree with us 100% on every subject we have an opinion on can just all go to h—! 😉

  • Isn’t there some way we can apply this technology to church parkers? 🙂

  • When are we going to raise the petty $20 ticket given in DC for the scofflaws that park on your private property.

    You have to find a policeman to ticket before you can tow away.

    Oftentimes the scofflaw leaves before you can get a tow truck there in the interim.

    Huge waste of time and inconvenience to the law abiding property owner who thinks he has a private parking space.

    $20 is not a deterrence.

    Let’s hike it up and significantly to help the law abiding residents and satisfy the city’s appetite for more revenues in this more justifiable fine and sanction.

  • I have driven up to 35 mph (+5 over the limit) by the speed camera at 16th St. NW southbound next to Carter Barron mucho times, and no ticket.

    Also, I’d never join the Pace Car program. For instance, driving northbound on 16th up from Arkansas, the lights are set at precisely 38 mph on weekday afternoons. To drive the 30 mph speed limit would be to quibble with the expertise of traffic engineers and dDOT.

  • I don’t have a problem with obeying the speed limit. I do have a problem with ill-maintained and ill-posted regulatory signs, like the one on Benning road that was bend 45 degrees to the ground so you wouldn’t notice it, or the many I have only seen as I was passing them since they were obscured by trees.

  • A lot of the do gooders here think that if you do what’s right – don’t speed – you’ll be ok. If not, you deserve the consequences.

    Do you feel the same about AIDS? Don’t have unsafe, unprotected sex with someone you’re not married to and you’ll be ok. Else suffer the consequences.

    Life is fair if you play by the rules?

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