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Activists in Olney calling for speed cameras on the Intercounty Connector

The current speed limit on the Intercounty Connector is 60 mph, but activists say drivers don't follow this limit.

OLNEY, Md. — Activists in Olney are calling on the Maryland General Assembly to pass a bill that would add speed cameras on the Intercounty Connector (ICC).

The Montgomery County Delegation for the Maryland General Assembly sponsored House Bill 811 which calls for "at least one speed monitoring system shall be placed and used by Montgomery county between each exit ramp on Maryland Route 200." 

The Greater Olney Civic Association (GOCA), a nonprofit that brings community members together to coordinate a master plan for the unincorporated town, met on Tuesday, about three weeks since the organization voted on a resolution to endorse HB 811. 

GOCA's resolution notes the danger that speeding causes and asks, if cameras are added, that the fine not exceed $40.

Credit: Tim Pruss, MyDrone.Pro
Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 Credit: Tim Pruss, MyDrone.Pro

In a letter to the Montgomery County Delegation dated Jan. 14, GOCA President Hilary Phillips-Rogers wrote that about 30,000 vehicles pass through the 18.8-mile long toll road per day. Phillips-Rogers said the Maryland Department of Transportation (MTA) recently shared data with GOCA indicating that the average speed on the ICC 67 mph, which is 7 miles over the limit of 60 mph. 

"This average speed is far too fast, clearly unlawful, dangerous, and creates excessive road-noise, affecting the safety and quality of life for Olney and other Montgomery County residents," Phillips-Rogers wrote.

When the ICC opened in 2011, the speed limit was 55 mph, but — according to the Washington Post — the limit increased in 2013 after a crash analysis conducted by the MTA, the organization said the limit could be raised safely.

Del. Eric Luedke (D), the Maryland House Majority Leader who represents Olney residents in District 14, spoke at the GOCA meeting and announced the bill was killed during a transportation committee meeting. However, Luedke pledged to revise the bill so that it can make it passed committee and ultimately pass. 

John Seng, the director of the Maryland Coalition for Highway Safety, said Tuesday he is disappointed the bill was killed in the committee meeting, but he will work with the delegation for Montgomery County to "resurrect" the bill and make it stronger. 

Reverend Dr. Robert Screen, who helped found the 210 Traffic Safety Committee in Prince George's County, spoke to GOCA leaders, noting that his organization helped add speed cameras to the Indian Head Highway and the community has seen significantly fewer deaths in the area.

RELATED: Death toll on Indian Head Highway doubles in a year

He said, "It is speed that is killing people on the roadways," and said the point of speed cameras wasn't to make money, but rather to save lives. 

Luedke said the Montgomery County Delegation meets Friday at 9 a.m. and they will talk about improving HB 811  at that time.

"Speed cameras work," Seng said. "People shouldn't have to die to get from point A to point B."

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