Lioning In Wait

Today is my mom’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Jackie!  We all wish you many happy returns.  Did you get the flowers?

It was in the news last week that the city of Charlack (in Saint Louis County) plans to begin operating a speeding camera next month.  Traffic cameras are not all that rare around town.  There are a number of them already operating.  What makes this camera newsworthy is that it is going to be the first one installed on an interstate.

During the New I-64 construction, a number of cameras were erected around the Park to help regulate the traffic that was overflowing onto the neighboring secondary streets.  There is a camera system located at the Forsyth entrance to the Park.  It was designed to prevent people from blocking the intersection, after the light had gone red.  An anticipated occurence what with the highway being closed.  The highway is up and running now, secondary traffic is way down, but the camera still remains.

I routinely pass through this intersection, while bicycling to the Park.  Needless to say, that while on a bicycle, I little note nor long remember any traffic camera.  In truth, I am much more aware of what all the vehicular traffic around me is actually doing, as opposed to what they are supposed to be doing.

Let’s get back to Charlack.  The municipal boundaries of Charlack over lap I-170 for about a quarter of a mile.  For years now Charlack has been operating a speed trap over this bit of jurisdiction.  This trap was the old tried and true cop in the loop approach.  I pass through it every morning  on my way into work.  I even gleefully wrote about it in the post, Schadenfreude last month.

By now, the cleaver reader will have detected the crux of my problem with this camera.  I will have to run its gauntlet each workday.  My ox axe is going to be gored.  The adage that all politics is local was never truer than in this case.  The fact that Charlack and I have a past, only adds fuel to the fire. 

Twenty-five years ago, I got my last speeding ticket from Charlack.  Back then, I-170 wasn’t even built yet.  I commuted through Charlack on Hanley Road.  The cop caught me at the bottom of a long steep hill.  He took my driver’s licence as bond and left me with a flimsy pink slip as my temporary licence.  Try using that with TSA these days.

The same day that the Charlack Chief of Police announced his plans, the Saint Louis County Chief of Police made a public statement condemning it.  Missouri has a state law limiting all police departments from garnering more than 25% of their budget from traffic citations.  Cities like Charlack were the reason for that law.

Years ago in Detroit, a guy got a speeding ticket, the old fashion way.  The next day he and two of his buddies obstructed traffic by driving 55 MPH, three a breast.  He got another ticket for that.  Maybe we should take a page from this guy though.  Anyway, fighting back seems way more satisfying than waiting for the letter in the mail.

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