Big Win for Motorist Safety on I-83: BCDOT to Move Forward with JFX Speed Cameras
Monday Nov 29th, 2021
The Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) announces today the approval of the contract amendment that will increase safety for motorists traveling on I-83 in Baltimore City. The Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved the contract amendment for an extension with the city’s existing speed camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions. The approved amendment will help provide a much-needed investment in roadway safety and support efforts for first responder support and community engagement campaigns to change driving behaviors along interstate I-83.
This comes at a critical time, as winter exacerbates road conditions and a speed and crash analysis showed excessive speed was the #1 contributing factor in more than 50 high injury and severe crashes. "We need to get (Interstate) 83 safer as fast as humanly possible, any time it rains, we have to park two cops on 83" Said Mayor Brandon Scott. Director Steve Sharkey, acknowledged the hard work and concerted efforts of the BCDOT staff that have been very proactive in securing the technology needed to reduce incidents on the JFX. The Board of Estimates recognized the imperativeness of speed cameras to solving speeding and crash issues and voted 4-1 in favor of the amendment.
With approval of this amendment, provided there are no unforeseen delays, the cameras will be live as early as February 2022, with a three-month grace period where motorist will be issued warnings, in lieu of citations. Traditional methods of speed enforcement are not possible on I-83 within Baltimore City due to the existing width of roadway shoulders, fiscal and engineering constraints, and resource challenges of the Baltimore Police Department. During 2020, The Police Department reported over 1700 calls for service on I-83. With the revenue from the program funding speed enforcement, this plan will ameliorate the need to pull first responder resources from nearby Baltimore neighborhoods and keep the project dollars in Baltimore City.
BCDOT is also planning a simultaneous and robust education and public outreach campaign to inform residents of the upcoming changes and reinforce the need to slow down. In concert with speed sensors to alert motorists of their speeds leading up to the cameras, BCDOT Director, Steve Sharkey expects the technology to encourage safer driving that will ultimately reduce crashes on I-83, save the lives of Baltimoreans, and create a safer daily commute on I-83.