Hyattsville may install speed cameras next month

Drivers traveling through Hyattsville may want to watch their speedometers if city officials follow through with plans for 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 a camera will probably be installed in the 3700 block of East-West Highway, near Prince George’s Community College’s Hyattsville location at University Town Center.

“Anybody that goes over 25 [miles per hour] on a main drag — they are asking for it anyway,” said resident Burr Ross.

Council members approved the cameras’ installation in April. Holland said the city will buy and install up to five cameras.

Holland said the city still needs a few signatures on a memorandum of understanding with Prince George’s 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.

Holland said there will be a 30-day period after each camera is installed in which police will issue only warnings. After that, drivers will be fined.

Neighboring municipalities such as Riverdale Park, Mount Rainier and College Park already have installed speed cameras.

Holland said city officials held public meetings to gauge resident feedback before starting the 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.” He said three officers took a 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.

“I am pretty careful when I drive that I am not going over the limit,” he said.

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