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:
- 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
- In a school zone established under § 21-803.1 of this subtitle.
Maryland Transportation Article § 21-101 defines a residential district as:
- Not a business district; or
- 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.
The skydivers will be part of a barbecue and concert appreciation day for staff on the Walter Reed and Naval Support Activity Bethesda campus.
At about 11:30 a.m., the skydivers will land on the front lawn near the Navy Exchange, according to the NSAB Public Affairs office.
NSAB warned county government that could lead to slower traffic in front of the base due to rubbernecking.
The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 9 a.m. until the concert is over, the gate directly across from the Medical Center Metro station will be closed to vehicle traffic and open to bicycles and pedestrians, which could also cause traffic issues.
Montgomery County Police yesterday slammed a District Court judge’s ruling on a controversial Bethesda speed camera and said the Department would not review other cases in which citations were issued by the camera.
Judge John Moffett on Monday ruled for attorney and political activist Robin Ficker, who claimed the speed camera in the 4300 block of Jones Bridge Road was improperly placed. Ficker got a $40 citation from the camera on Sept. 5 and argued the camera was not placed within 300 feet of a residence.
Moffett agreed and rescinded Ficker’s citation. But Police say Moffett misinterpreted Maryland Transportation Article 21-101, which defines a residential district as an area where there is at least 300 feet of residences.
Speed cameras can only be placed in residential areas, according to state law. Police made their disagreement with the ruling clear in a press release:
Based on the guidelines set forth by the Maryland Transportation Article and the data obtained from the Montgomery County DTS-GIS, the M-NCPPC, and the U.S. Census Bureau, the Montgomery County Police Department maintains that the speed camera was properly placed. The Department continues to monitor the speed-camera program to ensure compliance with state guidelines.
Judge Moffett’s decision does not establish a precedent that will be binding in other cases presented in court, and the decision in this case does not require a modification of Department policy. The Department will not be reviewing other cases in which citations were issued by this speed camera.
The camera is on the eastbound side of Jones Bridge Road near a golf course and across from the entrance to the Uniformed Services University on the Walter Reed campus. The nearest home is 270 yards away.
The Navy Exchange, the store that supplies brand name products to Navy bases and facilities worldwide, will open a 150,000-square-foot, two-story space near the soon to be reopened Gate 3 on Jones Bridge Road.
In September, Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) Commander Capt. Fritz Kass said the gate should help ease morning traffic flow on Jones Bridge Road.
The Navy Exchange underwent a $52.8 million, 22-month rebuild, according to a NSAB press release today. The old store was torn down and the new space was designed with wider aisles and other features to allow for easier access from veterans recovering at Walter Reed.
The grand opening event on Saturday will include appearances from Food network celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Subway spokesman Jared Fogle and UFC fighter Phil Davis. It also includes the introduction of new product lines that weren’t previously offered at the Bethesda Navy Exchange, including Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Apple and Sony concept stores within the larger store.
The Navy Exchange now has a 175-seat food court with a Panda Express, taco shop and a Subway Cafe, the first of its kind at any Navy Exchange location.
Parking, of course, has been a major concern of NSAB officials and neighbors, who have complained that the addition of Walter Reed to the base has forced personnel to park on surrounding residential streets surrounding.
A two-level, 500-space parking garage accompanies the new Navy Exchange. NSAB last month reported a better than 3-to-1 ratio of base personnel and patients to parking spots, fulfilling a federal planning guideline.
The base is expected to see about one million visitors per year, an increase from 500,000 before walter Reed moved from Silver Spring in 2011.