Revisiting the heyday of department stores and five-and-dimes

Signs, cameras on Caton Avenue questioned

Alexander D. Mitchell IV, a fequent contributor to this blog, noticed some issues with the signage along Caton Avenue, near St. Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore.  He was kind enough to bring it to my attention.

Having figured out that a lot of Baltimore's speed cameras are now integrated into the previously existing red light cameras, I'm playing the same cat-and-mouse game as other drivers out there.

One I've discovered is so rigged: the red light cameras at Caton Avenue and Benson Avenue, just north of I-95's exit 50.

There's a problem, however:  Just try and figure out what the speed limit is here at night.  The "Speed Limit 30" signs, both northbound and southbound, are badly placed and badly faded, and their finish downright opaque at night.  Oh, sure, you can see the shiny new "Photo Enforced"
signs just installed beneath the speed limit signs, but not what the speed limit actually is.  Furthermore, there is but ONE sign advising you of the speed limit northbound as you get off of I-95, the faded one, and the speed camera is approximately 150-200 feet (by my estimate) past said sign.  This on a road where the prevailing speed is closer to 50 mph, and not without cause.

Granted, there is good reason to have a reduced speed limit in the area--there's St. Agnes Hospital right up the road, and the entrance to a parochial school (a driveway entrance, mind you, not pedestrian crossings and the like) at the light.  But I have sat there at that intersection at night, just to confirm my hunch, and seen flash after flash nabbing speeders.

Now, I have no objection to the speed cameras in principle, provided we're given fair warning.  (The camera enforcement on the Beltway and the Parkway, with lots of signage on both sides of the highway, is a perfect example--if you're still speeding after multiple signs telling you to slow down or get photo-ticketed, you deserve no mercy.)  But this certainly looks like entrapment of the kind that got several traffic cameras in Arizona firebombed.

Any chance we can get fresh signs erected at this (and other?) speed cameras to at least give the drivers fair warning?

I referred the questions to Adrienne Barnes at the Baltimore Transportation Department, and here's the answer I received:

• Most of City’s roadways have designated speed limits that have been in place for several years if not decades.  In this case as the citizen indicated that motorists are traveling at high speed, (especially in school zones)this is exactly the type of driving behavior that we are trying to modify.

• On Interstate highways multiple advance warning signs are placed because of high posted speed limits (45 MPH to 65 MPH) and multiple lanes in each direction.  In school zones along city streets the maximum speed limit would be 35 MPH.

• The speed limit at night is same as during day time and as acknowledged in the email, speed limit with Photo Enforced signs are quite visible. The school signs are also quite visible.
• The condition and placement of speed limit signs are normal as any other typical signage.  However in view of the concerns about some of the  signs being faded we will investigate their condition & placement and make the  necessary adjustments.

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