Speed Cameras OK’d For Wicomico School Zones

SALISBURY – Motorists beware as speed cameras in Wicomico County school zones, year-round, were approved this week.

A series of resolutions was on the table at Tuesday’s Wicomico County Council meeting to establish school zones for the purpose of speed enforcement.

According to the resolutions, the County Council adopted a legislative bill on June 7, 2011, permitting the establishment of school zones and authorizing the use of speed monitoring in accordance with state law.

The Annotated Code of Maryland, Transportation Article, provides that the State Highway Administration or a local authority may, within a half-mile radius of any school, establish a school zone and maximum speed limit applicable in the school zone.

Council President Joe Holloway recalled that when the speed cameras were first proposed school zones were created within a half-mile circumference around a school. Since then, school zones have been narrowed down to be within 500 feet of state roads and where school property lines meet county roads.

“I know there are a lot of critics out there on the speed cameras, and I am not a fan of them,” he said. “This council has worked diligently on getting this hopefully more workable than what it was before.”

This week the County Council questioned whether or not to specify dates and times in each resolution in accordance to individual school programs.

State law enforces speed cameras within school zones Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If the speed cameras are enforced in accordance with state law, the series of resolutions did not have to be altered to state specific dates and times.

Councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes pointed out that once the traditional school year is over, summer school immediately begins, and once summer school concludes the traditional school year is in session only a few days later. Additionally, school programs run as late as 7 p.m. at night when students could walk home.

“It is going to get very difficult and our sheriff’s department is going to have to walk around with a Board of Education school calendar in order to determine when they should set up shop,” she said.

Councilman Bob Culver was concerned over enforcing speed cameras Monday through Friday, even in the summer.

“I don’t want to see speed traps on Route 50 for everybody going to Ocean City on the weekdays in the summer time,” he said.

Culver added holidays that fall on Monday should not be included as well.

“I am not a fan of speed cameras but I am going to go along with this if it is going to keep our students safe,” Councilwoman Gail Bartkovich said.

The council voted 6-1, Culver opposed, to pass all 12 resolutions as proposed.

“If you don’t speed, than it won’t affect you,” Councilwoman Stevie Prettyman said.

The projected start date for the speed cameras is within the next 30-60 days with a 30-day grace period.

Speed cameras will be added to following school zones: Glen Avenue Elementary School, Parkside High School, Pemberton Elementary School, Salisbury Christian School, Salisbury Middle School, The Salisbury School, West Salisbury Elementary, Willards Elementary School, Mardela Middle and High School, Northwestern Elementary School, Pittsville Elementary and Middle School and Westside Primary School.