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Mystery Video Cameras on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com September 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm 4,428 14 Comments

Over the past couple of weeks, people have been noticing mysterious, concealed video cameras mounted on lamp posts along Columbia Pike.

Some residents thought they were ingenious surveillance cameras in place for the 9-11 anniversary. Others thought they were part of some shady dealings, and called police to investigate.

In reality, however, the cameras are merely being used by Arlington County to monitor traffic patterns at intersections. According to Arlington Traffic Engineering and Operations Chief Wayne Wentz:

These are video cameras that are temporarily in place to collect intersection data. The videos will be viewed in the office and technicians will create vehicle turning movement counts. These data will be used for our periodic (every three years) traffic signal optimization effort.

As of yesterday evening, three cameras were in place at the intersections of Columbia Pike and S. Courthouse Road, S. Scott Street and S. Quinn Street.

  • BK

    I saw them putting one up on George Mason and four mile run a few minutes ago.

  • Kim

    They were at 50 and Henderson a while back. It was obvious then what they were for since that is not a fun intersection for anyone. 🙂

  • Wilbur

    And they had them at the bike-traffic-light to nowhere along the Custis Trail at the Scott St intersection.

  • It almost looks like the camera is attached to the pole with a bungee cord.

    • Zoning Victim

      It’s even better than that. It’s bolted to a cheap metal garden hose hanger, which is clamped to the pole with a ratchet strap or tie down of some kind. Did the county run out of duct tape?

    • Zoning Victim

      I forgot to mention that the container they’re in is a Rubbermaid bin that’s been painted black. Anybody need a new handy cam?

      • bobco85

        I just looked at the full size photo, and I see what you mean. It looks like a high school project, but hey, if they are saving money, I am not going to complain.

        • drax

          Don’t worry, you can complain when they wear out or break early and they have to spend even more to buy new ones.

        • HS

          Yeah, that design is awesome DIY. They should post it at makezine.com or something.

  • G Clifford Prout

    You guys are fantastic. Now you’re anticipating my news needs. I saw that last night and was going to send you a photo. Thanks ARLnow.

  • Eponymous Coward

    Good reporting.

    These are “concealed”? Maybe ‘in a weather box’ meets DC DOT’s definition of “concealed”, but I’m thinking they’re fairly obvious.

    For those complaining about the low-budget pole attachment, these are presumably attached cheaply because they’re going to be removed again shortly. I recall people complaining about too much money being spent on a neighborhood sign, so if the County had welded the cameras up people probably would have objected that the project was too expensive.

    • Zoning Victim

      It was a joke, but I seriously doubt we saved any money over a regular exterior camera and mount. I’m somewhat surprised that they don’t already monitor most of the major intersections in Arlington County.

  • George Orwell




    • steve85

      what are you talking about!!!


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