Hyattsville officials may introduce emergency legislation March 18 that could double the number of speed cameras in the city to 10.
The five current cameras — which take pictures of the license plates of vehicles going 12 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, and vehicle owners are sent a $40 citation — went live Feb. 18 in Hyattsville.
Although the council authorized last April the installation of the five cameras, the city attorney cautioned that recent interpretations of state legislation regarding speed cameras might require the council to go through a 20-day amendment process every time the city wants to add a new camera, Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland said at the council meeting Monday.
To avoid having to repeat this process each time they want to add a camera, he recommended the council amend the city ordinance to allow for 10 cameras so that all authorization is in place before the camera program’s official start March 19.
Holland emphasized the possible approval did not mean that the city will install all 10 cameras immediately, but that it will allow them to add cameras as needed.
“I’m comfortable with adopting this as emergency legislation,” council vice president David Hiles said.
Speed cameras are currently located at the 3700 block of East-West Highway, near the Prince George’s Community College’s Hyattsville location at the University Town Center; on both routes at the 7000 block of Adelphi Road, near Northwestern High School; the 5500 and 5900 block of Ager Road, less than a mile from Rosa Parks Elementary.
Hyattsville resident Chris Condayan disapproved of the emergency legislation, saying he would rather the city go through the legislative process for each camera so that the public could comment.
“I’m not a fan of speed cameras,” he said. “They should be for safety, not financial benefit.”
Resident Sue Decker said the cameras are necessary to offset the lack of police officers. She referred to numerous young trees that have been downed in accidents along Adelphi Road, where a camera has since been placed.
“I don’t like paying the fee, but I’m for them as long as they are regulated and calibrated properly,” she said. “Reducing speed reduces accidents.”