DDOT accused of creating dangerous road conditions

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- AAA is accusing the Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Department of Transportation of creating dangerous conditions for drivers, all in an effort to generate more revenue from speed cameras.

This all came to light after a traffic engineer decided to go public after witnessing something he says he's never seen in his nearly 60 years on the job.

"I believe this is my duty as a citizen to come forward. I've been doing this all my life," said traffic engineer Martin Wallen.

A few weeks ago, Wallen says he spotted a concrete barrier blocking the shoulder on I-295 and he showed WUSA9 pictures to prove it. He believes the barrier was erected to protect a speed camera, not drivers.

"They clearly valued protecting the speed camera over the health and safety of drivers," said Wallen.

Wallen says it was only like that for a few weeks. But it was that incident that prompted him to look at another stretch of interstate, I-395 inbound directly after the 14th Street bridge.

It's there Wallen says he found one of the lowest speed limits on any interstate in the country -- 40 mph. He's now accusing the city of setting the speed limit too low and not putting up enough speed limit signs to warn drivers.

He's also accusing D.C. police of taking advantage of the city's mistake by placing a speed camera directly after that sudden change in the speed limit.

"This is a clear abuse of speed cameras," said Wallen.

The last 55 mph speed limit sign on I-395 inbound is posted shortly before Pentagon City. As you drive past Route 1 and over the 14th Street bridge, there are no speed limit signs for nearly three miles until Exit 4 at L'Enfant Plaza. Suddenly, the speed limit drops to just 40 mph and less than 500 feet past that... a speed camera.

"A speed limit of 40 mph is for purposes other than traffic safety, possibly revenue generation," said Wallen.

D.C. police say the camera is not in operation at this time and that it will only be placed into operation once more speed limit signs are in place. But AAA calls the constantly moving cameras a "shell game," one that D.C. drivers can never win.

"The people we represent are angry about this because this smells of setting a deliberate speed trap for them," said John Townsend with AAA.

DDOT, the agency responsible for putting up all speed limit signs in the District, told WUSA9 on Wednesday that it will look into Wallen's complaints.


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