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Cameras may monitor city traffic

April 07, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Placing some Hagerstown intersections under 24-hour video surveillance is among several traffic safety measures being considered by city officials.

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During a council meeting on Tuesday, City Council members directed staff members to request larger speed limit signs from the state and to further study using video cameras to catch drivers who run red lights.

Elsewhere in Maryland, the Howard County Police Department has video cameras positioned at 20 intersections.

Using the video, police send citations to the owners of vehicles seen running red lights.

A report on the use of the cameras is expected to be made to the council later this spring, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

City officials have given additional attention to traffic matters in the wake of a March 12 fatal two-car collision at the intersection of Winter and West Franklin streets. Police say the accident was caused by speeding.

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In response to requests from residents and relatives of the 18-year-old woman who died in the crash, police have increased their presence in the area around the scene of the accident.

Police Chief Dale J. Jones told council members Tuesday that in the targeted area his officers have issued almost 100 speeding citations within the last two weeks.

It does appear that there was a problem, Jones said.

Council members, except for Alfred W. Boyer, seemed to support putting larger speed limit signs along Washington and Franklin streets.

Boyer said he didn't think more or bigger signs would solve the problem.

However, if new signs are to be put along those streets, Boyer suggested they go next to traffic signals where they may be more visible.

New signs probably would be about 6 inches wider and 6 inches taller than the existing signs, according to a city memo.

Boyer said he wanted to look into setting up mechanical signs that show drivers how fast they are going along Franklin and Washington streets.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said he wanted police to better enforce red light violations.

McClure said he has seen drivers run red lights at an intersection where there was a police officer and the officer didn't do anything about it.

Jones said he was unaware of any such situation.

He added that police officers only give citations if they can see that the driver knowingly ran a red light, which would be hard to tell if the officer couldn't see the traffic signal that was facing the driver.

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