Cameras on Gainsborough catch unsuspecting speeders

Cameras on Gainsborough catch unsuspecting speeders

Allison Srour

Cameras can be easily removed to maintain an element of surprise.

By By Allison Srour, Features Editor

New speed cameras have been set up along Gainsborough Road as of Jan. 28, near Regency Estates Swim Club, right before the power lines where the student parking line ends.

The temporary speed cameras, replacing the SafeSpeed van that sits in the neighborhood on a regular basis, are small white boxes that are easily concealed.

“The speed cameras are a traffic calming measure to slow down traffic on Gainsborough Road,” said David Freeman, the Vice President of Regency Estates Community Association (RECA). “In particular, vehicles tend to gain speed as they come down the hill towards the swim club, and with the ever present need to safeguard pedestrians, particularly students of CHS, the measure is meant to prevent serious accidents.”

The cameras caught several students by surprise during the week of the cameras’ debut. Senior Grace McCotter was among the first students to receive a ticket from the new location.

“It was really unexpected because I got a ticket right after the cameras were just set up,” McCotter said. “I was really surprised by them because there were two men setting them up, and I thought they were just moving furniture into a house or something.”

The cameras were removed Jan. 31, but were back again the week of Feb. 5. According to Freeman, the speed traps are expected to be placed for short periods of time in order to maintain the element of surprise for motorists.

“Prior to speed cameras, speed bumps were used to slow traffic, and these speed bumps can still be seen on Postoak Road,” Freeman said. “I believe the community did request the speed bumps on Postoak, though it was a long time ago.”

However, according to Lieutenant Robert McCullagh, director of the Montgomery County Police Department’s Transit Division, community council meetings are held and certain sites are voted to be speed enforcement areas, as well as designated school zones. Also, motorists must be driving at least 12 mph over the speed limit in order to receive the $40 speeding citation.

As for students’ daily routines, some changes may need to be made in order to avoid speeding violations and tardiness. 
“I was leaving school to go to an appointment when the cameras caught me,” senior Megan Brody said. “I had no idea they were there, and it is definitely going to cause me to be late to places.”

Even though some motorists may be annoyed with the county speed enforcement sites, the neighboring community now may be more pedestrian-friendly.

“Because most of the neighborhood roads do not have sidewalks, pedestrians, of which there are many in the mornings, have to share the roads with the motorists,” Freeman said. “I have observed motorists driving significantly over the speed limit on neighborhood roads, some of which are used as [shortcuts] to avoid traffic.”

Freeman urges students and parents of the CHS community to observe speed limits on neighborhood roads.

“If motorists observed the speed limits consistently, there would be no traffic calming measures such as speed cameras and speed bumps,” Freeman said.