Drivers will have to monitor their speed on one more stretch of road in Gaithersburg if they want to avoid getting a ticket.
On Monday night, the Gaithersburg mayor and city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that will allow the city’s police department to place a speed camera in the 500 block of South Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg, just outside of Gaithersburg High School where the highway intersects with Education Boulevard.
The location on Md. 355, which has a speed limit of 35 mph, sees an average of 360 vehicles per hour. According to a May 2013 speed study, an average of 169 vehicles traveled 47 mph or greater during a 24-hour period.
“We believe that the placement of a speed camera in this location will help us to better ensure the safety of everyone throughout the corridor,” said Gaithersburg Police Sgt. Scott Scarff.
The police department has received complaints about speeding from walkers crossing at the intersection, bicyclists riding along the roadway and students, according to police spokesman Officer Dan Lane.
Speed cameras are already located at various places throughout the city. The police department currently uses five portable cameras that can be deployed at various pre-approved spots, two fixed cameras and two speed camera vans. Tens locations have already been identified for speed-camera use in Gaithersburg, including South Frederick Avenue.
A speed camera already sits on southbound Md. 355 at the intersection of Cedar Avenue, which is less than a half-mile before the new location.
Scarff said the road needs a second camera because many drivers are slowing down for the first camera and then speeding up once they pass through the zone.
“It’s human nature,” he said. “You get past the first speed camera, that slows you down. You’re in a hurry and you want to make up the time you’ve missed from that first speed camera.”
Traditional enforcement methods in the area, according to city documents, have had little impact on speeds or collisions because the high traffic volume and road characteristics make it difficult to perform hand-held radar or laser speed enforcement.
Lane said the new speed camera will be placed at the location sometime next week, and violators will be issued warnings only for the first 15 days, with all violators after that period receiving a $40 fine.