DC Residents Frustrated by Stop Sign Camera in Northwest

NBC Universal, Inc.

A stop sign camera in the District is getting a lot of attention because of all the fines it’s been sending out, and residents say the camera seems to be a little too sensitive.

Massie Ritsch has lived in the Crestwood neighborhood in Northwest D.C. for four years. He appreciates the stop sign camera at Blagden Avenue and Allison Street as a safety device, but starting in January, something changed with the camera.

“The bottom line is that people are getting tickets for things that they feel aren’t unsafe driving,” he said.

Warnings were issued but didn’t reach drivers quick enough.

“The problem is the warnings didn’t get mailed until after they had started fining drivers,” Ritsch said. “So, yeah, in in our household we’ve gotten quite a few of these tickets – seven so far – and we’ve changed our behavior to make sure we’re absolutely stopping and holding for three-to-five seconds.”

Every ticket is video recorded, and a human is supposed to review them to see if a ticket should be issued.

The D.C. Department of Transportation said it will be sending a team to check out the camera to make sure it isn’t overly sensitive.

Ritsch says something else should happen.

“It’s about 100 feet behind the intersection,” he said. “There is no sport in the Olympics where a close finish is determined by a camera behind the competitors, right? Shouldn’t the camera be at the line?”

Residents in the neighborhood started a petition to have the fines dropped until the city gets a good look at the camera.

Drivers who have signed the petition say the camera has given out more than $12,000 in fines since the start of the year.

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