by Marlene Berlin
Three months ago, Council member Vincent Orange introduced legislation that called for a two-year moratorium on expanding automated enforcement. His latest effort is an emergency bill which allows for a 90-day moratorium on the traffic cameras.
The District has cameras that teach drivers to obey the speed limits and stop for red lights before turning right. The newest cameras being installed would train drivers to come to a complete stop at stop signs and at marked crosswalks with no traffic signal, and also to be more careful about “blocking the box” – getting stuck in the middle of a traffic-clogged intersection when the light changes.
So I must ask this question again: What is so reprehensible about a program that saves people’s lives? With pedestrian crashes rising in DC, wouldn’t we want to support measures that make it safer for pedestrians? Also, according to a poll done by the Institute for Highway Safety, there is strong support for automated enforcement across the city.
Mr. Orange’s emergency legislation was put to a vote on Tuesday. It needed nine votes to pass. It failed by one vote. But this is not the last attempt we’ll see at this type of legislation. This is how the votes break down:
For the moratorium: Against the moratorium:
Phil Mendelson, Chair Yvette Alexander(7)
Marion Barry (Ward 8) Anita Bonds (At Large)
Muriel Bowser (4) Mary Cheh (3)
David Catania (At Large) David Grosso (At Large)
Jack Evans (2) Tommy Wells (6)
Jim Graham (1)
Kenyan McDuffie (5)
Vincent Orange (At Large)