Police Move Controversial Jones Bridge Road Speed Camera

Jones Bridge Road today, without speed camera Jones Bridge Road in January, with speed camera

Montgomery County Police say the removal of a Bethesda speed camera that a District Court judge ruled was improperly placed was not a result of that January court decision.

MCP Traffic Division program manager Dan McNickle said the department still believes the camera was properly placed in the 4300 block of Jones Bridge Road, though it was moved in December to another location.

There are six Portable Camera Unit (PCU) locations on Jones Bridge Road between Connecticut Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue — four on the eastbound side and two on the westbound side. McNickle said the cameras are regularly moved.

In January, District Court Judge John Moffett ruled in favor of attorney, political activist and famous sports heckler Robin Ficker, who challenged a $40 citation he received from the camera on Sept. 5, 2012.

Ficker successfully argued that the camera, at the bottom of a hill near the secure entrance to the Uniformed Services University, wasn’t legally placed because it was not within 300 feet of a residence.

Moffett agreed, rescinding Ficker’s $40 fine.

Montgomery County Police issued a press release saying the department would not review other tickets from the camera and that Moffett misinterpreted the law:

According to § 21-809(vi) of Maryland Transportation Article, a speed-monitoring system may be placed:

  1. On a highway in a residential district, as defined in § 21-101 of this title, with a maximum posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour, which speed limit was established using generally accepted traffic-engineering practices; or
  2. In a school zone established under § 21-803.1 of this subtitle.

Maryland Transportation Article § 21-101 defines a residential district as:

  1. Not a business district; or
  2. An area that adjoins and includes a highway where the property along the highway, for a distance of at least 300 feet, is improved mainly with residences or residences and buildings used for business.

Montgomery County Police said the speed camera was properly placed because it was placed on a roadway that contains at least 300 feet of residences and that the law does not say a speed camera must be placed within 300 feet of a residence.

A speed camera in the 4300 block of eastbound Jones Bridge Road that was still there after the court decision has also been moved. That camera at question in Ficker’s case was on the westbound side of the road.

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