Cameras have slowed speeds, according to Barnesville mayor
Town has pursued cameras for years
The sight of new speed cameras is greeted with groans and grumbles by many drivers, but in Barnesville, the speed-monitoring devices couldn't come fast enough.
Montgomery County Police installed speed cameras in the 22300 block of southbound Old Hundred Road and in the 18500 block of eastbound Barnesville Road, where the speed limit is 30 mph, in September, according to Capt. John Damskey, director of police's traffic division. The cameras were placed to slow drivers before they enter town, he said.
"We noticed differences before they were even turned on," Barnesville Mayor Pete Menke said. "We're seeing a marked difference in traffic flow and speed, and it seems to hold as they go through town."
Town officials have been requesting that the county help curb speeding in Barnesville for more than a decade. The town conducted a traffic study in 2007 in an effort to show that speed cameras were needed.
A risk assessment of Barnesville's roads conducted by county police last summer at the town's request found that traffic "increased dramatically" during the morning and afternoon rush hours due to commuters avoiding congestion on Interstate 270, Damskey wrote in an e-mail to The Gazette. Nearly 60 percent of vehicles measured exceeded the speed limit by at least 11 mph, he said.
"Perhaps most concerning was the fact that many Barnesville homes were built a few feet from the roadway raising our concern that a serious collision involving one of these speeding vehicles was imminent," Damskey wrote.
About 1,300 citations were issued to drivers from Barnesville's cameras in November, the first month of enforcement, Damskey said.
The town would have liked to have a camera facing westbound Barnesville Road, but the location of curves and hills and proximity of houses to the street limited their placement, Menke said. Menke said he told police he would grant the county an easement in perpetuity if a camera is installed in the front yard of his Barnesville Road home, which was identified as a potential camera site.
"I think it ought to happen because it would be good for the town," Menke said. "It's been an ongoing issue for the town and we're trying to solve it."