Mayor Pugh Eyes the Return of Speed, Red-Light Cameras in Baltimore

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Fast drivers, beware: Speed and red-light cameras are likely returning to Baltimore this summer.

Mayor Catherine Pugh released her first proposed budget yesterday. It includes roughly $7.9 million in expected revenue from speed and red-light cameras, programs the city cut in April 2013 out of issues with accuracy and unfairly issued tickets.

It’s a generally known fact to Baltimore residents that the cameras sit along many of the city’s roadways and intersections aren’t up and running. They’re more of a reminder, really. However, Mayor Pugh said yesterday that bringing back the cameras could benefit Baltimore’s public safety and, of course, provide an additional revenue stream.

Presently, the city is considering 10 fixed-speed cameras, 10 portable speed cameras, 10 red-light cameras and as many as six commercial truck enforcement cameras to catch truck drivers illegally traveling on certain roads. Officials are picking from six applicant vendors.

Baltimore’s old traffic camera system was, in a word, troubled. City officials testified in 2014 after it had been cancelled that it had become too big to manage, with more than 160 cameras in all, according to a 2014 Baltimore Sun report.

The number of cameras proposed for this year would be much smaller at about three dozen in all. Pugh’s office said the Baltimore Police Department and the Department of Transportation would review each traffic citation, and the DOT would have an ombudsman to handle complaints.

To quell concerns about vendors issuing erroneous tickets to make more money, Pugh’s office said they would be paid a flat fee each month.

The Board of Estimates would need to approve any vendor contracts, which would happen next month or in May. If approved, the cameras would be up and running as early as this June.

Drivers need not worry about getting slapped with a surprise fine because they were unaware the cameras are suddenly working again. The city would offer a 30-day “warning period” before citations start arriving in the mail.

Ethan McLeod
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