Glenarden speed cameras placed in areas without schools

Signs on Glenarden Parkway say it's a school zone, but there's no school on the road. (Photo: ABC7)

In Prince George's County, speed cameras can be placed in school zones to catch people driving well over the 25 MPH speed limit. That's why the city of Glenarden placed two on a stretch of Glenarden Parkway.

However, there's one rather noticeable thing missing on that street - a school. There's a library and an aquatic center, but no campus.

"This is making a mockery of the school zone," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson said.

Technically, the area can be labeled as a school zone because it falls within a one-half mile radius of an elementary school, which is the legal boundary for speed cameras in Maryland.

Glenarden's Chief of Police, Philip O'Donnell, is unapologetic about the cameras.

"For people going 12...15...20 miles over he limit through an area where kids travel on a daily basis, you deserve to get a ticket," Chief O'Donnell said. "We aren't trying to trap anybody."

The Glenarden speed cameras have led to nearly $750,000 worth of tickets since May of 2010. O'Donnell says that not only are the cameras legal, they're slowing drivers down and they're not going anywhere.

"Everyone can see it with signs that indicate you are coming up on it," he said. "If you want to speed through it, you are going to get a ticket."

Meanwhile, AAA Mid-Atlantic is pressing the Maryland Legislature to consider tightening the definition of school zones in the speed camera law during their next session.

For now, it doesn't comfort longtime Glenarden residents like Melvin Fields.

"They use this as a speed zone," Fields said of the school-free block.

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