EASTON — The Talbot County Council will write a letter of recommendation to the Maryland General Assembly in support of legislation allowing Oxford to install a speed camera at the Oxford Road and Bonfield Avenue intersection, just before the entrance to town.
The council voted 4-0 in support of the legislation, which is sponsored by Del. Johnny Mautz (R-37B-Talbot), with Councilman Corey Pack abstaining from the vote.
Councilwoman Laura Price said she ordinarily does not support speed cameras, but Oxford does have a speeding problem at the entrance to town.
MD Route 322 stretches from Easton to Oxford, and a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour drops to 25 miles per hour just before the intersection.
The legislation is in direct response to the death of Edith Jane Beglin, who was struck by a speeding vehicle in 2019 after crossing over the intersection from the fire department nearby.
“This is a very sensitive area, they’re coming off a long stretch of road,” Price said. “I’m not a big fan of (speed cameras), but given the location of this — going from a 50 mile per hour to a 25 mile per hour — and with the fire station, it’s not a bad idea.”
Cheryl Lewis, the town clerk, told the County Council that the state put up a speed awareness sign, and police monitor the intersection — but she was still monitoring cars whizzing by the intersection at 50 miles per hour or more.
“There is no reason for that,” she said. “We thought we would be able to curb this behavior, but I have clocked speeds as high as 75 miles per hour.”
Oxford said it would be looking at a private company to monitor the camera and issue tickets. In Maryland, tickets are issued after vehicles are clocked going 12 miles per hour or more above the speed limit and it carries a maximum fine of $40.
Because it’s a state road, the Maryland Transportation Authority decides what traffic-controlling mechanisms to place. Most speed cameras in the state are placed in work or school zones.
If the bill passes this legislative session, Mautz’s legislation would formally require a speed camera by the end of the year at the intersection.
Pack said installing a speed camera at the road would have an impact on Oxford residents, citing a similar case at Leeds Creek when residents there asked for a police officer at a bridge going into the neighborhood.
“What you’re going to see is a lot of people from Oxford being caught speeding back into town and speeding out of town,” he said.
But Oxford’s situation is unique. Oxford Commissioner Jimmy Jaramillo said about 5,500 vehicles have come into town over the speed of 41 miles per hour, and 762 of them were between 51 to 75 miles per hour.
“Obviously we are very concerned about that,” he said. Even “if Oxford residents are the ones speeding, I’m going to do anything I can to keep our town safe.”