Sunday, July 15, 2012

Baltimore County Selects Closed School for New School Zone Camera Site

Baltimore County's recently announced plans to deploy a new set of "school zone" speed cameras included a surprise, when it was revealed that one of the schools on the list, Stoneleigh Elementary school, is slated to be closed for the next year.

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the list of new speed camera deployments included one on Regester Avenue near Stoneleigh Elementary School.  However the school is currently undergoing a fifteen month long extensive renovation project ot add 200 seats to the school and will be closed for the entire 2012-2013 school year.  The concrete pads for the new cameras are already under construction and cameras are set to be activated shortly

According to state laws, local governments are authorized to place speed cameras in "school zones", which was part of the deal to get statewide speed cameras passed and to mute public opposition.   However since speed cameras were approved numerous new school zones have been created, particularly in Baltimore and Prince George's County, solely for the purpose of deploying speed cameras, in many instances on roads not immediately adjacent to any school, with some new school zones covering entire towns.

Stoneleigh Elementary School is located on Pemberton road, not Regester Avenue where the new camera is slated to be located, and is about 1/3rd mile 'as the crow flies' from Regester Ave.

Baltimore County voted to expand its speed camera program in January 2012, after ACS State and Local Solutions(a division of Xerox Corporation) ran a successful "Astroturfing" campaign to win support for the expansion.  Baltimore county police had at the time released a report concluding that there had been no reduction in accidents at their existing speed camera sites.