Speeding has gotten out of control in many Frederick neighborhoods, and the police and the government are taking an innovative approach to try to curb the wave of lawbreaking that endangers drivers and pedestrians alike.

This week, the city unveiled Operation Safe Speed, a data-driven attempt to get ahead of this disturbing trend. Police officers will be working with the engineers from the Public Works department to analyze complaints of speeding around the city and carefully target their response.

The city has been soliciting complaints from citizens about speeding through its website, at frederickmd.gov/trafficconcern.

The forms had been going to the engineering staff, which uses them to identify problem areas and then designs ways to calm or slow traffic.

That work will continue, but now the police will use the information to try and create more focused enforcement, Cpl. David Golden, who will be leading the initiative for the department, told News-Post reporter Ryan Marshall.

Additional data will be collected from traffic enforcement records, speed camera boxes and crash data to help the city react to areas in which speeding is a particular concern.

Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said the new program provides an important first step in addressing feedback from residents and officers. Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor added that excessive speeding harms the quality of life in the city. He is absolutely correct.

When drivers are going too fast on the streets of a neighborhood, residents will become fearful for their children and for themselves, both when driving and walking. It can degrade a neighborhood. It won’t take long for word of the lack of safety to spread, and the neighborhood becomes known as a place to avoid living.

Similar concerns about speeding led to the recent decision by New Market’s town council to acquire two portable speed cameras.

Council Vice President Lawrence “Jake” Romanell said surveys last winter along West Main Street near New Market Elementary and Middle schools found most vehicles were traveling at least 13 mph over the 25-mph posted speed limit. That is just too fast in an area where children are walking.

Officials plan to move the two cameras around within a half-mile radius of schools. The cameras will cost the town $4,400 a month per camera, though we would expect that fines will defer some of that expense. But it is more cost effective to have the cameras than assigning police officers with a radar gun to monitor around the clock.

The cost effectiveness argument might lead the city of Frederick to increase the number and placement of speed cameras as part of its speeding crackdown. The speed camera on North Market Street near Thomas Johnson High School, for instance, has been effective in reducing speeding there.

For now, Golden told our reporter, the department will use the data to designate officers on each patrol shift as traffic safety specialists, and they will conduct proactive traffic enforcement during their shifts.

Golden said he also will be doing a full analysis of complaints about speeding from the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Councils, a key source of information for locating potential problems.

We support the city’s efforts to use data from several sources in this important initiative. It literally can save lives.

(15) comments

Biker1

Same song, different verse: Rt 15 is the most dangerous road in the County, easily! Speeds both ways between 65-95+ regularly from Rt. 26 to Emmistburg. No enforcement, state, county or local police and no speed cameras, It's a free-for-all for ALLl Pick you speed and have fun! The last time I posted about this someone said their are "policy's against enforcing speeding on Rt. 15". Really? Fix the policy and start issuing tickets and impounding vehicles!!

shiftless88

Data exist; look them up.

gabrielshorn2013

Really Biker1? I travel that part of 15 frequently, and have seen vehicles pulled over by the police many times. It may not be as many as they could (and should) pull over, but there are still many.

Greg F

Yep...was out Thursday around 6pm and saw pulled over cars by Tractor Supply. Problem is that the minute one gets by the cop, they go back to top speed. Waze gives alerts so many people are well aware of where the cops are.

gabrielshorn2013

Yeah, agreed GregF, but because of Waze there is really no way around that unless unmarked cars start cruising that section of 15 more often. I have seen unmarked MSP pulling cars over there too.

Dwasserba

“It won’t take long for word of the lack of safety to spread, and the neighborhood becomes known as a place to avoid living.” I honk at cars that barely pause at the four way stop at the end of our street when I’m there. I’ve honked when cutoff turning into my street from the stop sign. One lady actually backed up to look at the stop sign. I waited. She agreed it was a stop sign. We parted amicably. Apparently I singlehandedly saved the reputation of our neighborhood. Whew.

Greg F

Should deal with my the idiot tailgaters too 2 feet from your bumper. That and stop sign runners.

shiftless88

A tap on the brakes should fix that. Though when someone is tailgating you should first check to see if you are driving like an idiot. We have a 50 mph two-lane road near my house and people often drive 35-40 mph and there is no opportunity to pass for miles. I don't know if they are unaware of the speed limit or are incapable of driving a car over 40 mph but neither of those scenarios gives me comfort

Riptide262

Shiftless you are spot on. I can't get over the number of people who drive 10-20 mph under the speed limit mile after mile. I would love to see the police ticket these people who are just as big a threat as the speeders.

gary4books

There is no minimum speed, just a speed limit. Not a required speed. Just a top limit. If you want to arrive early, leave early. Let others drive as they like. It was a free country.

gabrielshorn2013

@gary

Actually, there is a moving violation in Maryland called "impeding traffic"

§ 21-804. Minimum speed regulation.

(a) Slow speed impeding traffic prohibited.- Unless reduced speed is necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle or otherwise is in compliance with law, a person may not willfully drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

So, if someone is driving 10-15 mph under the posted limit for no reason, backing up traffic behind them, they are impeding traffic and may be ticketed. They need to pull over ald allow the other vehicles to pass.

shiftless88

Basically don't be a jerk. Sure it's a free country and I can drive slow and be a jerk if I want but why do that? If you are uncomfortable driving the speed limit because you think it is too fast then it is time to turn in your license.

shiftless88

gabe; out west in the mountains they have pull-out areas periodically and if there are five or more cars behind you, you are obligated to pull off and let everyone pass. Motorhomes on two-lane mountain roads tend to be slow.

Greg F

Shiftless....that thought has occurred, but then you are encouraging retaliation too...which I have actually seen. You get some testosterone-laced idiot all riled up and they'll attempt to run you off the road..just because. Maybe if I had a crap car I may have slammed the breaks on for a "deer" but not gonna wreck a nice car because of an a-hole behind me.

Greg F

I also see way to many hang in the left lane and not even going a speed that has them pass the vehicle beside them...so for mile after mile of freeway, you can't pass since they are side-by-side with the other cars. It takes a real jackazz to do that.

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