Monday, December 16 2013 @ 07:33 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
There is no doubt in my mind that we need more Traffic Enforcement Officers to improve safety but wait, what? We need more officers just to direct traffic?
Well while Artscape was setting up I noticed tons of people running red lights to create gridlock from hell and hardly an officer to be seen. Well that's not exactly true, there were officers situated at every closed crossroad on Mt. Royal, sitting and just maintaining a presence just in case something might happen but the gridlock happening a block away was ignored. So we need more officers to correct that... I guess.
But do officers directing traffic improve throughput? Mythbusters says no.
So while I agree we need to address gridlock with enforcement but still there is a huge need for traffic safety enforcement beyond just not obeying a traffic signal or directions from an officer. Baltimore City is over represented with car crashes involving bike/peds, this is a huge quality of life issue that is being ignored.
But do the police have time to address traffic safety or other general public safety measures? They say no.
Well if you get hit by a car you can always call 911 and get a positive result. Wrong, I was hit by a car while walking across a driveway and the officer responded that "unless I see it, I can't issue a ticket." and evidence is growing that not only are the police not out there watching for bike/ped issues, they are rather clueless on what the laws are for bicyclists and pedestrians. "And remember to watch for cars, you don't want to be dead right." [Sheesh, not even close to good safety advice.]
So which brings me to City Of Baltimore Council Bill 13-0262 which states in part:
"A Special Traffic Enforcement Officer has no power to issue citations for moving violations other than for a failure to obey lawful traffic direction and control devices."
They are expanding who can appoint and where they can enforce, all good things but I seriously wish they also expanded what they can enforce. The idea that only the police can enforce all criminal laws plus all traffic laws is just crazy.
We need to change the mindset in city hall from roads that are defined by just how many cars can go by per hour, to roads being public space and as public space have zero tolerance for bullies that threaten and hit those they don't like in "their" space.
Text of the bill: http://bikemd.org/files/public/documents/BaltimoreBillSTEO.pdf
To follow the progress and more info: http://legistar.baltimorecitycouncil.com/detailreport/?key=5962