And in Non Snow News – “New Mobile Radar Locations Deployed Citywide”

by Prince Of Petworth February 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm 36 Comments

Helicopter Over Brookland
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mediaslave

Do you think this is good news or bad news? From a press release:

“Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) announced today the deployment of six new photo enforced mobile radar locations beginning Friday, February 12, 2010.

“On the heels of two years in a row of record low traffic fatalities in the city, we intend to continue our commitment to public safety through the use of technology,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.

The deployment locations for the Mobile Radar Units will continue to be at sites with the highest number of crashes and injuries, calls for police service, and high speed volume. MPD also considered recommendations or requests from the Department of Transportation, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and civic or citizen associations.

The thirty day educational phase will commence on February 12, 2010 where as violators will receive warning citations. On March 13, 2010, MPD will begin issuing live citations to violating motorists.

The new locations are as follows:

· 1800 block of C Street NE

· 3500 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW

· 5800 block of New Hampshire Avenue NE

· 5900 block of New Hampshire Avenue NE

· 300 block of Rock Creek Church Road NW

· 1100 block of Michigan Avenue NE

For more information about automated speed enforcement in the District of Columbia, log onto http://mpdc.dc.gov/automatedenforcement .”

  • ah

    Well, if they didn’t have one in my neighborhood, I’d be all for it.

    (actually, I think they’re a better way to enforce speeding laws–no bias and doesn’t waste police time, plus no points.)

    • horseydeucey

      “I think they’re a better way to enforce speeding laws”

      That’s the sort of thinking I feel is wrong, and is a disingenuous argument for radar “enforced” speed traps.

      They don’t enforce speed laws. They are passive. They don’t stop a driver, or even change their behavior once caught. How do they “enforce” the law? Do they actually stop speeding drivers? No. All they enforce is a speeding tax. And as such, they are a money grab by the city… In my opinion.

      • Anonymous

        i do know that speeding on florida avenue near gallaudet has been reduced because of the cameras.

        if you’re a local, it slows you down because you’ll drive a street more than once.
        if you’re a tourist, then yeah, you don’t learn nor do you even remember it.

        • horseydeucey

          No, I’m a local (cute, by the way, the whole ‘if you’re a local’ opening) and I bypass the known areas and continue speeding like everyone else. Have you ever noticed how everyone slows down to 10-15 mph UNDER the speed limit around the cameras? I guess that makes sense– if you’re a local.

          When you actually are local, the distinction became tired when you were 7 years old.

          • Anonymous

            the point about “local” was that you probably drive the route more than a tourist and know that the speed camera exists. it’s unclear to me why thats an issue. you reply with a “no” yet you claim locals slowdown. what is your point?

            and yes, the average traffic on florida avenue near the camera is slower now than before they installed it.

      • ah

        The cops can’t stop every speeder without cameras either. So the way the law is enforced is through deterrence not actual apprehension. The level of deterrence is the probability of being caught multiplied by the fine. Since speed cameras greatly increase the chance of being caught (even though the fine is lower, esp. w/o points) it has a greater deterrent effect on speeders.

        If we had some wonderful big brother system that prevented cars from exceeding the speed limit in a given area (e.g., by GPS), then do away with speed cameras. BUt we don’t (and I’m not sure we do). I think it’s a better way than relying on patrols alone.

  • So, does anyone know if they ever throw those tickets out? I swear I got one (on Christmas Day, after leaving the hospital where I was checking on my mother – a ticket was the last thing I needed). I never got the ticket, though… Were they being nice for Christmas? Is that possible?

    • ah

      Not a chance. MOre likely they couldn’t read the plate for some reason.

      That, or you’ll find out you did get the ticket when you renew your registration, and have to pay double, plus fines, plus late fees.

    • snow outlaw

      You can look it up by your tag # here:


      If you don’t see it there you should be in good shape.

  • anony

    It’s hard to argue against the stats that these provide. I just don’t like the big brother aspect of them.

    Capcha there $5,000

    • ah

      I’d be more worried about the general surveillance/crime cameras deployed all over the city on that count.

  • pluscachange

    There’s a ton of speeding on Rock Creek Church Road, and it gets mentioned at every ANC4C meeting. Hopefully this will help cut it down.

  • I’ve contested at least 5 of these tickets, and every one was thrown out. I read a statistic somewhere that of the ones that go to court, something like 98% get thrown out b/c of some error with the camera or otherwise. If you get one, it’s worth going to court.

    • 5 speeding tickests???

      • Yes, yes. I know. I speed. It’s bad and I shouldn’t. I don’t complain about the tickets – I deserve them, but I’m willing to go and give it a try. I mean, why not? I have the time. I’ve never even taken any kind of back up, or had some plan – I did it and I’m willing to pay, but I’m also willing to try my luck and it’s always paid off. (Keep in mind, we’re talking about over a period of 8 yrs or so, or whenever DC started using speeding cameras.)

        • ah

          Of course you have the time–you get everywhere you go extra fast!

          Put differently, if you have so much time, why the need for speed?

    • saf

      How did you contest them?

      • I just requested a trial and went to court. It’s a fairly easy process if you have time to do it.

        • snow outlaw

          Have you typically won because you found some flaw in the govt’s case, or because they didn’t show?

          I’ve contested several photo tickets for traffic lights and won (on paper, without a trial) because the photos didn’t prove what they claimed, but I haven’t tried contesting the speeding ones.

          • No, I’ve never even tried having evidence to the contrary. I was certainly speeding and willing to pay. Once an officer never signed the ticket (a requirement), once the angle was wrong, once my plate was blurry… stuff like that. I’d read about the 98% stat before I started trying, so I thought I’d try.

            FYI, @snow outlaw – I still think you deserve your snow emergency route ticket. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to contest it, b/c if you have the time and energy – why not? I wasn’t saying I didn’t deserve the tickets or anything nor was I looking for people to sympathize or say I didn’t deserve these – I’m just saying that the technology and system for handling them is very, very flawed.

    • victoria

      Um – have you considered just slowing down a bit?

      • I’m not making excuses for them or trying to say it was wrong to get them. All of them have been on North Capitol or on Mass Ave. right by Georgetown Law. Not tiny residential streets. I actually haven’t gotten one (in DC) in a really long time.

  • snow outlaw

    No. No. No. No.

    Seriously, just tax the rich a little bit more if the city needs the money. The government should serve the people, not antagonize them with crap like this.

    • Anonymous

      you really don’t like it here in dc, huh?
      i’m starting to really pity you.

      • snow outlaw

        I actually like DC quite a bit, despite the whiny, self-righteous, self-important and moralizing minority that frequently drowns out common sense and decency on this particular blog.

        Honestly I should probably stick to posts about new restaurants and bars, and should avoid reading comments in general, but like a car crash it’s hard to resist. But we all have weaknesses.

        • You Like Me! You really Like me!

          Oooh thanks – we’re all so happy to know you actually like us! And yes, you should stick to a post.

    • ah

      How about setting them up just past the Maryland border?

  • JBE

    C St. NE. That is going to be crucial. Everyone is going 50 off of 295 there.

    • I agree with this 100%. I’d also like to see them on Constitution. (Hey, I may speed, but not in residential areas. A (wo)man’s gotta have a code.)

  • AngryParakeet

    It’s a good way to tax the MD commuters who roar through with blinders on en route to work. They treat us like ants as they speed down Georgia, 11th, Irving and 13th closer to their workplaces. My commuter co-workers DO slow down in areas known for the cameras, and their punishment helps us locals out in the form of fines. When I drive I have a feeling of neighborhood and am not tempted to race on these streets.

  • 20011 ExPat

    We lost 3,000 Americans on 9/11, and everybody was totally OK with throwing the freaking Constitution out the window to “protect us from terror.”

    But since 9/11, 35,000 Americans have died in automobile wrecks, and any new technology to enforce traffic safety laws is greeted with an “OMG Big Brother.”

    It’s a shame that humans have such difficulty intuitively grasping relative risks; we’d act a lot less stupidly if we did.

  • 20011 ExPat

    Correction: 35,000 is the annual death toll. So, make that “over 300,000 Americans have died in automobile wrecks” since 9/11.

    • ontarioroader

      Some more perspective – 2006 death rate for the US [from CDC]:

      -Motor Vehicle: 43,664
      -Firearms: 30,896

      Everyone pitches a fit about ‘gun crime’ – cars kill way more people every year. Slow the f*ck down.

  • Ragged Dog

    I don’t get the whole big brother thing as it relates to speed cameras, especially after I actually read 1984. It’s like all the contractor friends I know who cheat on their taxes, but buy themselves a V-8 and a boat and then complain about getting the IRS off the American taxpayer’s back. It’s selfish hypocrisy pure and simple.

    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Nichole obviously is willing to do the time.

  • Anonymous

    I have no problem with cameras enforcing the speed limit. It’s the speed limits that are set around these camera sites that are ridiculous. Like 25 mph on a six lane divided highway? Those stretches of N. Capitol between the reservoir and Hawaii Ave.? Of course they generate a lot of income by setting a ridiculously slow speed which literally no reasonable driver would follow and then take photo after photo of “scofflaws” driving 36 mph.


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