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News Maryland Baltimore City

Some city speed cameras back online

A top city official said Monday that 10 of Baltimore's 83 speed cameras are now operational — a month after the entire network was shut down during a troubled transition to a new vendor.

Khalil Zaied, deputy chief of operations for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also told City Council members during a lunch that about 15 of the city's red light cameras are now working.

On Jan. 1, Baltimore's speed and red light camera system experienced a complete shutdown during what city officials called a problematic transition to a new contractor. The city's new vendor, Brekford Corp., has said it could take as long as four months to get its system running. Zaied told council members Monday that the upgrade is ahead of schedule.

Adrienne Barnes, a spokeswoman for the city's transportation department, said after the meeting she would not disclose which locations are operational.

Meanwhile, Mary Pat Fannon, who lobbies state lawmakers for the city, told council members that errors in the city's speed camera system are causing some in Annapolis to want to scrap the system. The Baltimore Sun has documented erroneous speed readings from several city radar cameras, including a speeding citation issued to a car that was stopped at a red light, and has shown that judges routinely throw out tickets for a range of deficiencies.

"We are in an awkward position," Fannon said. "While we are doing a lot of proactive things here and we have a new contractor and we've exposed our issues, it is the lead story in Annapolis for changing the overall program."

But Fannon said the city has key allies that should help block a complete shutdown. She called state Dels. James Malone of Baltimore County and Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore "very helpful friends" in helping to preserve the city's system.

"We're changing our technology," Fannon said of a city plan to overhaul the system. "It's not perfect, but we're on our way to having a better program at home and probably a more stringent state law. ... We need to show that we can get this program up and running, that we can do it effectively and then we can come back and reevaluate."

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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