Fix198Now co-founder testifies to state delegates; asks for safety improvements
November 14, 2017
Yesterday, Coalition to Fix MD 198 Now co-founder Sebastian Smoot testified at the annual Montgomery County State Delegation Joint Priorities Hearing, where Maryland state legislators solicit input from residents on issues they should focus on during the upcoming legislative session.
In his testimony, Sebastian asked the state legislators to ensure that the State Highway Administration is adequately funding pedestrian and bike safety projects.
He brought up a recent news article that showed that the State of Maryland forfeited $2.5 million dollars of federal funding that could have been used for sidewalk projects.
Sebastian also asked the legislators to support a proposed bill to make it legal to install speed cameras on MD 198. Under current law, it would be illegal for the County to install a speed camera in Burtonsville's commercial district. As noted in our report, we believe a speed camera should only be used as a final resort if other recommendations fail to work.
"A majority of community members at the January meeting strongly supported speed cameras in or around Segment D. Speed cameras should only be used as a final resort if the other recommendations listed in this report do not effectively reduce speeds. "While the Coalition does not recommend installation of speed cameras at this time, we do request certain legislative clarifications to allow the installation of a speed cameras if the community deems it necessary in the future."
In an emailed response sent after the testimony, State Delegate and fix198now supporter Eric Luedtke (D-Burtonsville) stated that although he drafted a bill that would allow speed cameras in Burtonsville, he decided to withdraw the bill after opposition from the Montgomery County Police Department.
The head of MCPD's traffic division, Captain Thomas Didone, claimed that speed cameras would cause more safety issues than it would solve. However, in response to the bill and growing concerns about safety on MD 198, MCPD agreed to hold a community meeting in December to discuss short-term fixes to MD 198.