Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Most Glover Park drivers are aware of the stop sign camera at 37th Street and Whitehaven Parkway for cars going south on 37th Street. The bulky camera stand has sat there probably for at least a few years now, but apparently was not operable or calibrated, yet the sight of it did cause many drivers to slow down, even though it is not a speed camera. The unit became self-aware at 10:39 am on March 3rd, 2021, and began to wreak havoc on the human race.
Back in 2019, Mayor Muriel Bowser moved automated traffic enforcement from the Metropolitan Police Department to SkyNet (I mean DDOT), despite objections back then from the DC Council, who apparently were not consulted. According to the Washington Post, the mayor made the change by executive order, without any legislation. Since then, the DC Department of Transportation has been raking in the dough for the city. In March, with its eyes opened, the 37th Street camera captured over 1400 violators and the city issued over $140,000 in fines at $100 a pop. By the end of August DC had issued nearly $1 million worth of fines from this one camera ($600K in July and August alone), and the numbers are not abating. See the stats in the graph below – at this rate the booty might total $2 million by the end of this year.
Neighbors have complained about the sensitivity of this camera and amount of the fine, and some people received a bunch of $100 tickets in the mail at the same time before even realizing the camera was active. If you are not doing a three-count clearly behind the white line you are at risk of a ticket. If your bumper is photographed above or beyond the white line, you are at risk of a ticket even if you stop. Some drivers have abandoned the 37th Street route altogether so that they do not receive any more tickets. One or more angry people actually took matters into their own hands and painted over the all-seeing eye, but a DDOT engineer was out within a few days to fix it.DDOT has only 20 employees running DC’s 127 speed (82), red light (39) and stop sign (6) cameras now, and it is completely out of the hands of the DC police as well as the city council. Extrapolate this one camera location and it is likely DC is taking in hundreds of millions of dollars from the program now. Mary Cheh, Glover Park’s councilmember, has complained about the decision making process regarding the cameras in the past, but it has fallen on deaf ears.
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