Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Week, More Examples

So, in the week that saw the trotting out of the SECOND speed camera on Bowie streets, and the shortening of the range of the first trap, it is time to talk about the insanity connected to getting these safety devices up and protecting us.

The reason for the selection of the two sites is remarkably simple -- they are easily justified, as both are areas right in front of public schools KNOWN for excessively speedy traffic.

However, they also have one other common factor, which in this case is key -- they are the only such schools within the city limits of Bowie of which all of the above are true AND the street is a city street -- not a county or state road!

And there is the rub -- the most dangerous sites, more worthy of these speed traps, are all on roads that the City of Bowie needs to NEGOTIATE to patrol with this technology. And once again, apparently we here in Bowie place a higher value on our own lives and limbs than do those in Upper Marlboro and Annapolis who view our fair city merely as a cash cow -- wondering how to get more FROM us, while doing nothing of value FOR us.

Something to think about with the upcoming elections on the horizon!

Another item -- I understand that we are supposedly setting these photo traps to protect the schools and their families. I also understand that the mechanics of these devices need to be checked and certified daily. But I wasn't aware that crime was such a factor in Bowie Land that there was a significant value in taking the guts of these sensors in for safe keeping each night. And I can't think of any other reason why they are removed nightly.

Those of us who drive North View at all hours of the day and night know that a) the driving behavior doesn't get better after 8 PM (when the machinery is removed), and b) we are laughing at how quickly the driving behavior HAS changed -- but in the least safe way possible. Now, cars race up to the first installment, jam on the breaks to get under 42 mph (because remember, the speed LIMIT is 30!), and, as soon as they clear the other side, speed up even more significantly to make up for the lost time of having to slow down for those darned cameras. Is this excessive speed on this road any less dangerous at 6 AM or 9 PM? Clearly not -- if anything, the darkness and fatigue factor in other drivers make these times MORE dangerous. Yet, at these times, we citizens lack the protection of these saftey devices!

Another example of static analysis making a dangerous situation WORSE and not better! So, of course, under these circumstances, the length between the two installationss has been REDUCED! I guess people complained that they had to slow down for too long!! Oh for the bygone days when there was regularly a marked car hiding behind the fence at the intersection before Allen Pond to stop and punish speeders. A hint to Bowie's finest -- it is needed even more now -- and one heading the other way past the trap zone would be equally lucrative and useful!

And finally for this week, I expect to be blown past on Mitchellville Road by guys like the one driving the Black Chevy Tahoe, MD Tag 88993 did to me on my way back to work at about 2:15 today after a late lunch with my wife -- after all, NO ONE does 35 on that stretch of this COUNTY road -- which is why it IS one of the few places you will still find speed enforcement in marked cars (this guy had to be going over 50 mph as he zipped past).

But my "driving example" of the week for just how bad the situation is in Bowie occurred not 5 minutes earlier, as I drove across Kenhill and turned south on 197. I was tailgated almost the entire length of Kenhill by 2 vehicles. As we turned at the traffic light, the first vehicle went to the right lane, and flew onto the ramp to 50 before I could record his identification. But the SECOND vehicle, having already pulled into the left turn lane next to me, first flew past me to the red light before the flyover of 50, only to fall behind me for having to break fully and then start from a dead stop when the light changed, only to fly past me a SECOND time at excessive speed. Imagine my surprise when I looked over at the driver of this vehicle, a White Toyota Corolla, MD Tag KCE065 and she turned out to be a white haired dowager -- boy, I sure hope that wasn't Aunt Agatha flying around like that!

Now I am no ageist, but when that kind of overly aggressive driving behavior is exhibited by the types that usually make you wonder why their children haven't taken away her car keys because she is so afraid to be on the road, then we REALLY have a problem!

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