Old Red Light Camera in Rosslyn To Be Taken Down

by ARLnow.com June 7, 2011 at 9:27 am 3,604 23 Comments

The red light camera that once issued tickets at the intersection of Wilson Boulevard and N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn is set to be taken down.

While the camera hasn’t been functional in years, its housing is still keeping a constant vigil at the busy intersection. Police tell us, however, that they’re planning on taking the camera down in about a month.

Arlington currently has four working red light cameras: NB N. Lynn Street at EB Lee Highway, SB Ft. Myer Drive at WB Lee Highway, NB N. Glebe Road at Fairfax Drive and NB Washington Blvd at Lee Highway. In Virginia, the fines from red light cameras are limited to $50.

  • CW

    I think speed cameras suck, but frankly I’d be all for more red light cameras along the R-B corridor (Don’t call me a hypocrite – you know there’s a difference). People run the lights at the intersections along Clarendon blvd egregiously, all day long, and, given the 25 mph speed limit, simply out of pure laziness. There are just too many pedestrians, too much cross traffic, and too many obstructed views for that to be tolerable.

    • MB

      Agreed. I’m otherwise quite anti-camera enforcement, but red lights? Have at ’em. It would be like a disco strobe down the corridor for the first month.

    • doodly

      What’s the difference, CW?

      • CW

        Speeding is a gradual progression, where risk to others generally increases with speed. This is why the ticket price structure is progressive and based upon the actual speed. Running a red light is a binary, yes or no action. It is inherently dangerous. Other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. who are obeying the rules are directly, not peripherally, placed at risk. You can try to argue on philosophical grounds that they are not inherently different, but the body of common law would say otherwise, seeing as to how speeding and failing to obey a traffic control device are distinct and separate offenses, with distinct and separate penalties, in nearly every jurisdiction.

        • doodly

          Well, fine – most speeding tickets, including perhaps camera enforced tickets, are only given for speeding 10 or so mph over the limit, when its really dangerous.

          On the other hand, there’s someone out there saying “I only ran the red a split second after, so it wasn’t dangerous. It’s not binary, it’s a gradual progression – it depends on how late you run it.” So there you go.

          Sure, they are distinct and separate offenses – but they are still offenses. That’s a great reason for having different penalties, as you note – but not for differences in how you enforce them. If you get caught speeding by a camera, you simply pay a different fine.

    • Jason S.

      I would prefer actual enforcement, start ticking people who don’t stop during a right-turns on red, bikes that cross illegally or change suddenly from car to pedestrian, and anybody who steps foot into the road outside of a crosswalk with a walk signal active.

      The problems in the RB corridor go well beyond idiot drivers to include every type of idiot one can see in Arlington on a daily basis.

      • NOVApologist

        Yeah – red light running is but one of many problems in Rosslyn. Some actual enforcement with actual police is needed.

        19th Street and N. Lynn are a great example. Cars coming east on 19th to turn left onto Lynn routinely move into the intersection and block the cars going straight on 19th Street. I kind of sympathize with them though, because during rush hours, half the cars in the straight lanes on westbound 19th don’t really intend to go straight, they are actually turning right onto Lynn but believe they are too important to wait in line in the right turn lane.

        A block up at 19th and N. Moore it is Frogger central, since peds getting off the buses and the Metro often seem completely oblivious to the stop lights and walk signals.

      • Aaron

        We used to have basic traffic enforcement in Rosslyn, but then the County forced Chipotle to stop giving free burritos to cops. We went from having a dozen LEOs hanging out at Wilson and Lynn at any point in the day to never having any at all. Alas.

        • CW

          Chipotle must have been serving breakfast burritos at the time, because last year I got pulled over and warned by a cop at 8 AM at that intersection…I was on my bike…talking about looking like a loser. 🙂

          • Aaron

            LOL. At least they’re equal opportunity. I’d fully support another big anti-everyone (car/bike/peds) operation there anytime. As “bb” alludes below, pedestrians who don’t honor the red right hand are a huge part of the problem.

            FYI, the Dulles location has a breakfast menu. Cracktacular.

  • Jason S.

    Ticking = ticketing

    • Josh S

      Actually, I’d prefer the idea of ticking them. Like a giant red check-mark that is attached to the roof of their car and identifies them as a unsafe or obnoxious driver. Didn’t Gallagher have a routine about this many years back?

      • doodly

        Naw, really tick them – put a small blood-sucking insect in their hair.

  • bb

    The worst safety issues at that intersection aren’t red light runners.

    1. Drivers making left turns across traffic from the center (to the right of the divider) onto Wilson from Lynn. Someone’s going to get T-boned by a car going on the through lane on the left, or worse the left turn from the center jackasses will hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk in their hurry to cut across traffic.

    2. Pedestrians crossing against the light across Lynn on the “narrow” portion of the intersection. I remember one guy cross when the Lynn light turned green. All of traffic had to stop when he froze in the middle of the intersection.

  • RBCJ

    ArlNow, I belive there’s also a camera on eastbound Columbia Pike at George Mason. At least, there’s a camera structure there.

  • LyonSteve

    There is a fake on one GW Parkway (Northbound) near the airport.

  • Rosslynite

    Slow news day when this item merits its own post.

    • Josh S

      And then proceeds to generate 18 comments, and counting….

      • doodly

        Both of you vastly underestimate the controversy that a simple cop camera can produce.

        Someone will probably be along soon to say “it’s not about enforcement, it’s about revenue!”

        • Rosslynite

          But it has been inoperable for years. How is this news?

  • Henry Spencer

    The camera @ EB Rt 50 & Fillmore isn’t active? Sweet.

    • Mr. Peanuts

      No, but it is soon to be replaced by a small missile launcher.

  • jjbug

    i’m so bored with Arl traffic lights: I walk daily in the R-B corridor and have to remain sharply observant to hit the button to cross with a pedestrian light at several intersections. When i drive, I find any red light I meet means that I also cannot proceed beyond the next light. If I am first in line the next light will cancel the green just before I arrive especially if I observe the speed limit! If I exceed that limit, I can sail thru with no problem. Is speeding what Arlington wants?

    There has been an emphasis on controlling traffic by forcing lights preventing north-south traffic from interfering with those more privileged drivers who, seeking a smooth ride to the district, should have priority over the rest of the traffic.

    I want to know, regardless of the direction I go any day, I am stopped at a light and know I will not go thru the next light without a 3 minute delay. That’s not so hard, but so often I sit in one lane and see the adjacent cars strike out to turn left, continue forward or make a right while the light changes.

    As a pedestrian and driver in the R-B corridor created after we settled here, I have to say the lights and the enforcement is sadly lacking the great work of my experience in Boston ca 1959. Something is tragically missing in this new control.


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