53 Comment

  • Definitely a portable speed trap, IMO.

    However, I bet that thing doesn’t last 2 hours there before some punk kids steal it or knock it over. Was there an officer present?

    • alissaaa

      Not sure if it’s still there, but it popped up last week and was there for at least a few days–no officer nearby. I saw a number of people taking pictures though! It definitely stands out.

      It’s weird because people don’t usually speed right at that part of T street–where they do speed is going North/South on 19th street.

      • I agree. They need to turn it on the 19th Street axis to catch the speeding. Unless it’s somehow able to tell when a person fails to stop at the stop sign, this won’t catch anybody.

  • Odd place for it considering it’s at a stop sign.

  • There was a segment on the local news a few weeks back about “decoy” speed cameras being set up to slow folks down. Wonder if this is one of the fakes?

    • But it makes no sense. You can’t really speed right there. The traffic that would see it has to stop right there anyway. I agree with the commenter above that the bigger issue is the north/south traffic on 19th. Not sure how you use a camera to regulate people stopping at stop signs.

      • actually i think the bigger issue right there is people speeding on Florida. (which, if you aren’t familiar with the intersection, is what’s at the stop light the car and van in the photo are waiting on).

  • Speed cameras in other areas seem to be disappearing though… It’s a bit weird, and I fear they’re being moved for maximum revenue generation.

    • But you make it sound like the money being generated is being used for evil purposes whereas in fact the city has actually put it to good use. In addition, studies indicate that the cameras have led to less accidents. Sure, no one likes to get a ticket, but the reality is that they wouldn’t get a ticket if they observed the speed limit. Objecting to speed cameras is like objecting to security cameras in banks and then complaining when it films you robbing the bank.

      • The 30% of my income taxes that I pay should probably be enough to pay for all of those items if you saw what I paid last year.

        If speed cameras were about safety more than money, the fines would be lower and jail time and points on your record would be more likely to reinforce the seriousness of disobeying traffic laws.

        • But your argument still makes no sense. If you don’t want to pay this fine then don’t speed.

          • +1,000,000,000!!!

            These cameras are literally a voluntary tax. If you don’t wish to be taxed, you need only follow the law. Not even….you get to be 11 mph OVER the actual limit before you get a ticket.

            Is there some reason why they can’t be both about safety AND revenue generation?

          • That 11+ MPH over the limit is a Maryland thing. DC’s are all over the place and I have received one for less than 10.

        • Jack5

          “If speed cameras were about safety more than money, the fines would be lower and jail time and points on your record would be more likely to reinforce the seriousness of disobeying traffic laws.”

          You are absolutely correct! I have made this exact same point during another discussion about speed cameras on this site.

          • Traffic fines that do not result in injury are not criminal offenses. But you wish to add jail time to an driving offense. So you wish it to cost the govt MORE money to punish offenders as jail time is not cheap. Whereas tickets cost the offender money, not the govt. I’ll stick with ticketing offenders, thanks.

            You wish to have points on a license. What does points on a license do, revocation and suspension… so ok, that works. Increased insurance… like companies need more reasons to charge more money. So you want
            tickets and points on the license. If you want to speed, pay the total cost of speeding.

            Of course… the points no a license would mean in increase in the # of people willing to fight tickets, which costs the govt more money….. ahh well, let’s just let everyone speed. Because making a person who violates the driving laws pay a penalty is total govt conspiracy.

        • A. You don’t pay 30% to DC, somewhere below 8.5% (or theoretically slightly above, if you make a ton of money and zero deductions)

          B. The piece you pay to the federal government, can’t really help you there. Blame Medicare/SS/Defense. That is where the lions share of that goes, not to doing things that help you today.

      • ah

        “Good” use is in the eye of the beholder.

        One can have a debate about the merits of speed cameras, but once that debate turns into one over whether it’s appropriate to fund government operations based on fining scofflaws then we’re well down a very dangerous path.

        • One could also say that speed cameras also discourage tourism and raise the cost of travel by car. You notice this when you visit another state when you don’t know where the cameras are placed. Your likelihood of getting a ticket increase dramatically. This is a US epidemic of government officials employing indefensible tactics to increase their local budgets, it’s an easy way out of bad budgeting because they can be placed anywhere without any rules to protect drivers that may have good reason behind being over the limit (even for a few seconds).

          I had no problem with police manned speed traps (not involving cameras) because you can explain the circumstances to the officer, and also in court with evidence you gather, where you remember the exact point you were cited. But with cameras, you have no process of recourse or discretion beyond someone looking at a video that you may or may not remember your reason for being 6-11 miles over a speed limit despite having been a totally safe driver for over 10 years.

          Just saying to “Follow the speed limit always” is short sighted commentary on driving by people who probably don’t drive themselves… I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re not far away from cameras that limit your walking speed, and also jay walking cameras, this is the slippery slope that’s on the horizon for me. It’s about money, and I’m sticking to that because I can remember a time when people simply obeyed the law even before technology came into play. It’s also putting live police officers out of work.

          • you’re really reaching.

          • Except the speed limit is posted and if you don’t exceed it, you are never at risk of a ticket. Mooted argument.

            Your argument would apply equally to actual police officers who stand there with radar guns and then pull you over (which happens often in DC as well).

    • So you’re saying that they might be moving speed cameras to areas that have the most speeders? Shocking! Next you’ll tell us officers are being deployed to the areas with the most crime…

      • I think what he probably means is that instead of putting them on the interstates where there is an artificially low speed limit (35-40 on a 6 lane divided highway) they could put them in our communities where kids are playing and we’re trying to walk. Just a thought.

        • Where are these cameras located on Interstate Hwy’s?

          This is 19th and T, so not an interstate and there is a charter school 2 blocks away, and traffic coming down the hill on T does go a bit fast paced at times

          • There used to be one on the westbound Southwest Freeway, which is technically an interstate highway.

          • Anon 3:53:

            a) yes that camera has been removed
            b) that is not interstate 295, that is DC 295. It has a lower speed limit (and narrower lanes) than the interstate.

          • Traffic comes fast down T street and then has to stop at that intersection. Again, it’s the traffic traveling South down 19th that is a bigger issue because they don’t have the stop sign. If DC is hoping to really catch speeders, they’d do better to move that around the corner.

        • I think I know what he probably means and it’s not exactly what you think he probably means. If he meant what you think he probably means then he probably should have been more specific.

        • More seriously, so you know where I’m coming from, I have yet to be convinced by any anti-speed camera argument that features the phrases “revenue generation” or “artificially low”.

          • They had lowered the speed limit from 45mph to 40mph between segments of the 3rd street tunnel on 395 N/S. They raise it right after the camera.

            On SE/SW Freeway, they lowered the speed limit to [I believe] 35mph at the PA Ave split and had a “temporary” (semi-permanent, since it was there for years) speed camera installed.

            For a while, they always had a cop in one of the mobile speed camera units on SB 295 before the Douglas Bridge exit where the speed limit goes from 55 to 50 (and back up to 55 shortly thereafter).

            It is, without a doubt, that they put these cameras out to maximize revenue in areas where they play with the speed limits and the limits are lower than expected. You cant tell me that 35mph on the SE/SW freeway AFTER the clusterfuck that is the 12 St/Tunnel entrance/exit extravaganza (which is either 40 or 45mph).

            I am not against cameras, in fact, I’ve never gotten a camera ticket so Im not biased. But, I think they should be deployed with attention toward public safety. People going 46 mph in a 35 mph zone (that was actually 45mph during a more dangerous area) is hardly unsafe. However, people go 46 mph routinely down residential and quasiresidential streets across the city. Put a few more cameras up in residential areas, even if they dont pay for themselves in 6 months – or move them around from residential area to residential area. Drop these ridiculous speed bumps that you cant go over in a hummer at anything over 10mph and make people think twice if there’s camera on the street they’re speeding down.

            Moving them around and keeping them off the interstates would do a tremendous amount for public safety.

      • Nope, i’m saying they’ll probably move them to placew where there’s a decline so that it’s more likely that drivers will be above limits posted by over 6 miles per hour, which is the threshold for a ticket. A car moving at 6 miles an hour more makes all the difference. I especially love the camera on Riggs Road, which enforces a 15 MPH speed limit…

        • If they are over the limit posted then they are speeding.

          Surely you are in favor of ticketing speeders?

          Ticketing speeders is the purpose of the cameras. The purpose of the program is to reduce speeding by ticketing offenders, hoping the tickets will deter future speeding making the area safer for all transport modes.

          The bonus of the program is increased revenue because people keep speeding.

    • It seems to me that putting speed cameras where they will generate the most revenue is exactly where they should put them — where lots of people are speeding.

      Speed limits are not a suggestion, they are the law. If you can’t control your vehicle, even on a slope, to be within the speed limit, then maybe you shouldn’t be driving.

  • There’s one of these in Brookland too, near 10th & Taylor NE. It appears to be either a speed cam or red light cam.

  • Could it be a camera to catch right-turn-on-red infractions? (e.g., complete stop, no turn on red)

  • The camera is pointed to get the rear license plate. Not very useful for speeding. Especially on a block with stop signs on each end.

    I can see it from my office window. Still there.

  • I live up the street on 19th and drivers traveling east on T frequently think this is a 4-way stop. It’s only a 2-way stop. It’s almost caused me several accidents b/c people think that drivers traveling north on 19th have to stop, and they don’t.

    If it’s real, I hope they figure out that intersection could use a re-do.

    • I’ve always assumed the reason it isn’t a four way stop is because you risk traffic backing up into Florida Avenue traveling south on 19th. But I agree, it is a terribly confusing intersection and even pedestrians don’t realize that cards traveling north/south on 19th don’t have to stop there. Which again, is why I don’t understand why the speed camera isn’t facing north or south on 19th where drivers fly through.

    • I’m usually an advocate for fewer signs to reduce confusion, but maybe this intersection could use one of the “cross traffic does not stop” signs.

  • They should put one on Vernon&18th. Most cars do a “soft stop” and run the red light.

  • I love that this picture was instagrammed.

  • could it possibly be to deter car theft? i live right around here and my car has been broken into three times since christmas day 2012.

  • Been there for about 4 weeks now. I walk by it daily.

    The first day it was there a police officer in a marked cruiser was across the street playing on his phone. My guess is he was on “make sure no one screws with the camera duty.”

    I can’t imagine it is a stop sign enforcement camera because there are no sensors on the rear (facing the stop sign intersection). Nor is it a speed camera because, being just after a stop sign, there isn’t much speed folks can gain.

    Not to sound Orwelian but could it be to monitor cars going into that block? Maybe they are watching for something/someone in particular? I think that is pretty far fetched but wanted to throw it out there.

    Oh, and I totally expect it to be toppled sooner rather than later. It is just screaming to be pushed over by some young punk.

  • Police in this city are starting to become a joke.

  • I assumed it was to catch busses driving down T St since they are not allowed to do so.

  • This is to catch overweight/oversize trucks and buses using the street. One is set up at 4th and M NE and the description was confirmed a couple weeks ago.

  • I’m looking for someone to do this for my driveway. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smIHCxIiS4M
    It’s a lot better looking than a garage door or rollup and serves the same space saving purpose.

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