A 25 mph speed limit? The picture shows my car on a three-lane, one-way road and no traffic anywhere near me. Can’t we expect the authorities to set reasonable speed limits? By the way, the ticket was for $125. I know that the District is short of funds, but this is way out of line.
Bob Bergman, Chevy Chase
DG: Although I support the speed camera programs, I hate hearing that one of my readers got a camera ticket.
You’re driving along. There’s a flash. Was it lightning? There’s no thunder. Did I miss a red light? Was I speeding? The only way to find out is to check the mail for a couple of weeks and see whether a citation arrives.
The D.C. police department has a mobile camera location in the 1900 block of Independence Avenue SE. It’s one of several sites for cameras in the neighborhood.
Drivers might not be in a position to assess what’s nearby. What they know is that they’re on a pretty wide road going one way. That road design tends to spur drivers on and make them less aware of their speed.
The neighbors tend to be fine with the cameras and the speed limits (25 mph is standard for D.C. neighborhoods). To the neighbors, a three-lane road is a danger to pedestrians, who, in this area, might be going to or from the Stadium-Armory Metro stop, Eastern High School or the St. Coletta school for people with cognitive disabilities, among other public places.
Sometimes, the solution for bringing down speeds involves redesigning the road. In fact, the District Department of Transportation did some redesigning in nearby Capitol Hill. Constitution Avenue NE between Third and 14th streets used to be one-way at rush hours. In 2007, DDOT converted it to two-way traffic all the time, which tends to get drivers to slow down.
That pleased the neighborhood but left commuters thinking the District had declared war on them.
Taking on tolls
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I read your Jan. 15 column on toll roads with great interest and believe the letter writer is quite correct.
Most people already cannot afford these expensive toll facilities. I stopped using the tunnels in Baltimore shortly after the Maryland Transportation Authority’s draconian toll increases were proposed. This costs me less than 10 minutes of time, and I get to keep the equivalent of a gallon of gas each way now. Further, I’ve found some restaurants and stores that are worth visiting — better for me and better for Baltimore.
Christopher Shuman, Greenbelt
DG: My letter writer was considering the burden of higher tolls vs. higher gasoline taxes and wondering why people would squawk about gas taxes although they seem to have little problem with tolls.
Drivers who write to me don’t like either option. They certainly complained when the tolls on the Baltimore tunnels went from $2 to $3 last fall.
But given the reluctance to raise gas taxes, tolls are the way of the future. They will be used to build new capacity and to maintain what we have. That’s what Maryland said it was doing when it raised prices.