by Marlene Berlin
It’s bad enough that Michigan Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is attempting to stick his nose in DC‘s business and do away with photo enforcement. But when one of our own representatives in DC government picks up the same gauntlet, I want to throw up my arms in exasperation.
Councilmember Vincent Orange wants new restrictions on speed and red-light cameras, including a two-year moratorium on new cameras, slowing an effective program that addresses a critical public safety issue and reduces traffic fatalities and crashes.
So I must ask, what is so reprehensible about a program that saves people’s lives by slowing traffic and punishing drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk – where the greatest number of pedestrian crashes occur?
Since the deployment of speed and red light cameras, fatalities have been greatly reduced, and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier won national recognition for this reduction. But pedestrian crashes are on the rise, and we still have a lot of work to do. Expanding photo enforcement will deal with drivers not stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk, racing through lights, and not stopping at stop signs. (A Murch student was once mowed down by a driver on 36th Street who did not stop at the stop sign). We have the technology to make our streets safer, and we know it works.
Councilmember Orange, if you cannot support photo enforcement, are you ready to fund a greatly increased police force? One that will sit at stop signs and at all busy intersections giving out tickets, especially during rush hour? Councilmember Orange, what is your plan to continue to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries?
If you don’t have one, leave photo enforcement alone. The large majority (85%) of DC residents who support photo enforcement will know that you are preventing the city streets from becoming safer for all modes of transportation.