Drivers traveling through Hyattsville may want to watch their speedometers if city officials follow through with plans for possibly two speed cameras next month.
The cameras, which are in many jurisdictions in Maryland, take photos of drivers going 12 miles per hour over the speed limit. Offenders are fined $40.
Police Chief Doug Holland said one camera most likely will be installed on the 3700 block of East-West Highway, near Prince George’s Community College’s Hyattsville location at the University Town Center. However, the final locations for the first two have not been officially released.
“Anybody that goes over 25 [miles per hour] on a main drag — they are asking for it anyway,” said Burr Ross, who lives on 37th Avenue.
Council members approved the installation of the cameras last April. Holland said the city will purchase and install up to five cameras.
Holland said the city still needs a few signatures on a memorandum of understanding with Prince George’s County to place cameras on county-owned roads at the 7000 block of Adelphi Road, near Northwestern High School, and the 5500 block of Ager Road, less than a mile from Rosa Parks Elementary.
Hyattsville resident Jim Groves, 46, said he has no problem with the cameras being installed, because he thinks local residents will figure out the camera locations and reduce their speed around them.
“We will know where they are,” said Groves, who lives on 39th Avenue. “It is the people that are coming from out of town that are going to speed and I don’t really care about them.”
Holland said there will be a 30-day period after each camera is installed in which police will only issue warnings. After that, drivers will get fined.
Neighboring municipalities such as Riverdale Park, Mount Rainier and College Park already have installed speed cameras.
Holland said city officials held numerous public meetings to gauge resident feedback before starting their program.
“There was a timetable set to make sure we do it right before we put the program into operation,” he said. “It is the most effective in terms of enforcement and it is a program that works and changes driver behavior, which is the objective that we are looking for.” Holland said three officers took a three-day training course last week in how to review and sign off on tickets issued by the cameras.
Resident Hugh Turley said police officers should catch speeders instead of relying on cameras, but had no problem with the plan overall.
“I am pretty careful when I drive that I am not going over the limit,” he said.