Speed camera to be added for westbound traffic on Morgnec Road

CHESTERTOWN — Motorists who have been a little heavy on the pedal traveling westbound on state Route 291 (Morgnec Road), i.e. driving into town, will no longer get a free pass beginning Feb. 5.

During his monthly report on Jan. 16, Police Chief Ron Dixon told Chestertown Mayor David Foster and council members that the RedSpeed camera infrastructure has been installed in the 400-block of Morgnec Road, in the area of Chestertown Christian Academy.

Signage has been there for many years, Dixon told the mayor and council; in fact, westbound Morgnec Road has been posted as “photo enforced” since the installation of the eastbound camera.

The next step is public notification, which was initiated by the Jan. 22 post on CPD’s Facebook page, followed by two weeks of warnings before citations are issued.

Dixon told The Evening Enterprise that he accepted the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s offer to put up a mobile signboard about a half-mile out of town “in fairness to motorists. It isn’t a requirement. As an additional courtesy we (CPD) will be posting the information on social media up until the go-live date.”

There will be a two-week grace period of warnings only, before the pole-mounted speed camera goes live at 6 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5.

“Our objective is to slow people down, not necessarily to have to issue citations,” Dixon told the mayor and council last week.

The speed limit is 30 mph.

As part of his monthly summary, Dixon reported there had been 469 citations in December — with camera enforcement only on eastbound traffic.

That’s a much higher number than December 2022, Dixon told The Evening Enterprise.

The average for 2023 was 363 citations a month, he said.

The most citations issued in one month since Dixon became chief here in September 2021 was 578 this past August.

Another situation that Dixon described as “quite concerning” is motorists driving in the mid to upper 50s in a 30-mph zone.

Dixon told The Evening Enterprise that this past summer CPD began to explore the possibility of adding a camera for westbound traffic.

“It honestly didn’t make sense to me to have one direction and not the other, considering both directions are a school zone,” Dixon told The Evening Enterprise in a text message.

He added: “We gathered data, as did the staff at RedSpeed. It was clear that traffic/violations warranted the additional camera. The information was taken to the Town Council and it was approved.”

Motorists found to be exceeding the posted limit by 12 mph or more will be issued a citation for $40 for each violation. No points will go on the driver’s record.

According to Dixon, the town receives $15 per citation and the vendor, RedSpeed, receives $25. 

There is no out-of-pocket costs for the town, no maintenance or other fees, Dixon said

 

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