How Many Speeding Cameras Does it Take?

December 16, 2014

Several mon\"OLYMPUSths ago a new set of speeding cameras were introduced to the driving public of the Nation’s Capital. If you have ventured past the hallowed corridors of the downtown mall you have probably seen the fluorescent yellow warning signs saying “photo enforced”. In fact, in certain areas of the city they seem to adorn almost every other traffic light. There’s one stretch of South Dakota Avenue northbound where I can swear there’s a speeding camera on every block, and like the idiot that I can sometimes be, I find myself often imitating Homer Simpson with a familiar \”D\’oh!\” or maybe even an “Oh $#@+ !”

That led to the question of, how many cameras does it take to meet the stated objective of the Department of Transportation’s Speed Limit & Safety Nexus Studies report as “… a critical tool to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety.”? So, I started digging….

I started on the d. (DC Department of Transportation) web site, typed “speed cameras” in the search box and found this graphic representation of the existing, planned and proposed cameras for the District. It even comes along with an interactive “basecamp” feature that allows you to picture the cameras against a selection of topographies. As you can see there’s a lot!


So how many cameras do these dots represent? How about 295 to cover the 68.3 square miles of the District of Columbia. Consider the fact that 6.9 square miles are water and Rock Creek Park takes up another 2.7 square miles. That reduces 68.3 to 58.7 square miles. Now the final kicker is that the National Park Service manages nearly half of DC and consists of such historic sites like the National Mall, Theodore Roosevelt Island, numerous parks; Kenilworth, Fort DuPont, Anacostia Park, etc. the density of cameras to streets appears to be pretty staggering. So maybe there is a camera on every block of that stretch of South Dakota Avenue!
For more information on the locations of existing, proposed, and planned cameras in your area please visit the DC Department of Transportation website.

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