Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Big changes for big brother. Some of the city’s speed cameras are so out-of-date and prone to errors, they’ll be phased out with more sophisticated models replacing them. But the city won’t say at this point how many, when or how much it will cost.
Mike Hellgren breaks down the plan.
The acting transportation director told WJZ he doesn’t know how many cameras will be replaced. It will be based on recommendations from a new vendor taking over management of the program.
Inaccurate speed cameras in Baltimore City giving tickets to those not speeding — or in one case a stopped minivan — have prompted major changes in the program and lots of outrage.
“If they’re not accurate, there’s no reason for them to be there,” said Evelyn Daniels, driver.
“Either they should scrap it or make sure they get it right,” said Tarik Moody, driver.
The City Department of Transportation issued a statement to WJZ, saying they would methodically replace old cameras with new, more accurate, state-of-the-art cameras. But it might not be all 83 of them.
“I think it’s too soon to tell how many. It may just be a handful, but we don’t know,” said Frank Murphy, Baltimore Department of Transportation acting director.
The error rate for some cameras was 1 in every 20 tickets. Police now say they’ll have more personnel reviewing them as an added layer of security.
WJZ’s news partner, the Baltimore Sun, reports Breckford, the new vendor, could charge roughly $450,000 to replace cameras. But transportation officials won’t confirm that or say whether taxpayers will foot the bill.
“The contract that’s being proposed that we’re working on right now does not have an additional cost in there for replacements,” Murphy said. “That’s still in the process of being negotiated.”
The city says, bottom line, it’s about safety–pointing to double-digit decreases in speeding.
But watchdogs of the program say it must be accurate.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction. This has been one aspect of the program that has come under intense scrutiny,” said Christine Delise, AAA. “I think the public will see a more credible program in the near future as these cameras come online.”
The city made almost $20 million from the cameras last year. That number is expected to go up this year.