DC traffic-safety bill passes; would double red-light cameras and more

The D.C. Council has voted unanimously for a traffic safety bill that will nearly double the number of red-light cameras in the District in less than two years, along with a host of other provisions.

The bill, which passed Tuesday, will ban right turns on red lights at locations with heavy foot traffic, defined as being within 400 feet of a school, a recreation center, a library, a playground or a Metro station entrance, or one that has a bike lane running through it. The mayor would also negotiate an agreement whereby Maryland and Virginia drivers could see their licenses suspended for a certain number of traffic violations in the District.

The legislation also mandates cameras in bus lanes and requires sidewalks on both sides of a street, with daily fines of up to $16,000 for contractors who don’t install them.

The bill is aimed at increasing safety efforts for areas with high traffic deaths, in line with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024.

D.C. would have 75 red-light cameras by 2022, and 125 by 2024 under the bill. The Washington Post reports that 40 such cameras are in operation now.

The city’s budget office has estimated the bill would cost $171 million over four years, The Post reports. If the mayor signs it into law, some of the lower- or no-cost initiatives could go into effect as early as January.

You can read the bill on the D.C. Council website.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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