Glen Echo pushes for Maryland's first stop sign camera

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Local,Maryland,Rachel Baye

The town of Glen Echo wants to have Maryland's first stop sign camera.

The camera would prevent people from rolling through the stop sign at the intersection of University Avenue and Oxford Road, the main entrance to historic Glen Echo Park, said town Mayor Debbie Beers.

Though the small town along the Potomac River has only about 100 houses, 200,000 cars drive through the intersection every year, and more than 80 percent of them ignore the stop sign, she said.

Unlike speed and red light cameras, Maryland law does not allow stop sign cameras. Beers hopes to get the issue before the Maryland General Assembly in the upcoming session.

She has written to state Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery County, and Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, D-Bethesda, for support. Neither could be reached for comment.

Alternatively, the county could begin allowing the town to keep the revenue earned from tickets given to drivers who roll through the stop sign, Beers suggested.

Since the town is too small to have its own police force, it hires off-duty county police officers to monitor the stop sign. But paying the police officers gets expensive, Beers said, and the extra revenue -- which the county keeps -- would help.

But even that approach to enforcement seems unable to stop people from rolling through the intersection, she wrote in her letter to Berliner.

"Despite the cost to the town, the officers have not been able to reduce the problem," she said. "We have also tried enlarging the stop sign, installing a speed bump and painting 'Stop Ahead' on Oxford Road, all to no apparent effect."

Stop sign cameras are a growing trend elsewhere, said John Townsend, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, said in March that she wants to begin using the cameras.

Stop sign cameras can keep people safe, Townsend said. Intersections controlled by stop signs account for more than 40 percent of all fatal crashes.

But jurisdictions would need to publicize the rules, he added. "Do you have to have all four wheels come to a complete stop? ... How many seconds do you have to stop?"

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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