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Live Discussion at Noon

Please join me at a new time today, noon, for an online chat about our local transportation issues. Use this link to reach the live discussion and this one if you'd like to submit a comment or question in advance.

Is the speed camera program a revenue generator? It certainly is a letter generator. I wrote a column on Sunday saying that I was impressed with the Montgomery County program after seeing the way its leaders responded to a $40 citation sent out in error last year. Also, I've watched traffic slow down before and after the speed camera in front of the school on Wayne Avenue, citing that as evidence of behavior modification.

Got a lot of letters about that. Here's one.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Twenty years ago while approaching Georgetown, Delaware I received my first and only speeding ticket issued by a police officer. In the last few years I have received three tickets due to the speed cameras in Montgomery County. Have the speed cameras changed my driving habits? Absolutely!

Our cleaners of over over twenty years in Georgetown Square shopping center are now our former cleaners. The nice little Italian restaurant in Potomac Village has been replaced by a nice little Italian restaurant in McLean. I no longer patronize the theaters in Rockville. Dinner in downtown Bethesda is no longer an option. All due to the presence of speed cameras. There are so many of them they are like roaches.

Did you know that gas in Virginia is ten cents a gallon cheaper, wine is at least twenty five percent cheaper than in Montgomery County, and sales tax is lower? I have learned to go where I feel welcome. My tax dollars go with me.
Barry Benz

But it seems like so much trouble to go through, just to avoid driving less than 10 mph over the speed limit. Maybe you folks can explain that to me.

Meanwhile, I used our Commuter page on Sunday to outline the bus service cuts that Metro has proposed to balance its budget. Many of our region's public bus services are cutting back or planning to cut back. Montgomery County began one round of cuts Sunday and is planning another for July.

And one of the most remarkable -- at least the most visible -- things going on in regional transportation is the HOT lane construction program along the western side of the Beltway in Virginia.

All your topics are welcome today.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 6, 2009; 10:06 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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Next: Many Concerned About Speed Cameras


I've heard of taking detours because there's a speed/red-light camera on the way, but driving from Bethesda to McLean because there's a speed camera on the way to the cleaners seems like a little bit of fixing the wrong problem. Moreover, if one would drive at the speed limit, it wouldn't be an issue. I'm really baffled.

Posted by: aaronw1 | April 6, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

From anywhere in Bethesda, it would take a lot longer to drive to McLean speeding than to Georgetown Square at the speed limit.

Posted by: wondering27 | April 6, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

In that email, Barry Benz presents himself as one incredibly selfish individual. This is everything that is wrong with America.

For some reason, this person thinks that there is nothing wrong with breaking the law. His time is so valuable that he cannot be bothered to follow the laws that protect his fellow citizens.

I don't suppose he has children who spend any time walking around Montgomery County streets, putting their lives at risk as they deal with reckless drivers of his ilk.

Look out for that one, Virginia State Police. I hope he gets locked up, and I'll be lucky to avoid him on the roads.

Posted by: RonBurgundy | April 6, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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