Police Advisory Forum panelists speak on traffic enforcement in the county during a Monday Zoom discussion.

Calling for more traffic enforcement, residents complained of rising congestion and dangerous interactions between motor vehicles and bicyclists and pedestrians during a forum Monday conducted by Montgomery County’s Policing Advisory Commission. Participants also sparred over whether speed cameras promote safety or mostly line county coffers.

The commission was created in 2019 to increase community involvement in public safety matters. Members of the public who registered ahead of time were given three minutes to speak on enforcement concerns.

Shaunte Preer, who has lived in the county for 30 years, said she has seen congestion on Route 29 rise amid increased development in eastern Montgomery County.

“However, with this increase in population, what I have not seen is an increase in law enforcement addressing those obstructing the normal flow of traffic on Route 29 on a daily basis,” Preer said. “Every day I see people driving 30 miles per hour on Route 29, causing insane traffic backup. … People are zooming around those who are not going with the flow of traffic and causing dangerous situations.”

The safety of bicyclists and pedestrians requires more enforcement, participant Michael Mendelson said.

“Glaring traffic hazards to me are those threatening pedestrians and bicycle riders due to a combination of aggressive and incompetent driving, deteriorated roads, too few truly safe bike lanes, and … poor traffic enforcement,” he said.


He said he found the experience of attempting to cross intersections to be “terrifying.”

“I estimate that in about one-third of my attempts when I have a walk sign, I have nearly been struck by a vehicle because drivers are too hurried, blinded by the bulk of their SUVs, ignorant or too hostile to yield the right of way,” he said.

Mendelson also spoke of his own experience having been struck by a car when the driver pulled out of a side street and described the impact of the collision as being “strong enough to bend the wheel of my bike and knock me onto the street.”


Police Chief Marcus Jones said the department was down by 125 officers, leading to reduced traffic enforcement.

According to a 2022 County report, there were 33 fatal collisions in 2021, 39 in 2020, and 32 in 2019. Last year however, there were as many as 40 fatal collisions in Montgomery County.

“You need to stop and ticket more drivers. Frankly, you need to ticket the hell out of this county,” Mendelson said.


Sharif Hidayat, a former police officer who unsuccessfully ran for County Council last year, complained, “The speed camera in its present form is a revenue-generating program that has not contributed to the county’s Vision Zero goal.” Vision Zero is the county’s plan to reduce and eventually eliminate serious and fatal crashes among pedestrians, cyclists and motorists by 2030.

Hidayat said he doesn’t believe that the speed has any direct correlation with reduction of fatal accidents in the county.

“The biggest reason why we have traffic accidents in Montgomery County—and anywhere for that matter—is distracted driving,” Hidayat said. “Speed might be a contributing factor … but the main reason why people are getting into accidents are either because they’re under the influence, [or] they haven’t followed the right of way laws, they haven’t yielded to the oncoming traffic. They’re distracted drivers, and in the end, they’ve taken their eyes off the road.”


Former Police Capt. Thomas Didone countered: “You can’t take overarching county-wide data and apply it to an individual program because we don’t have cameras on every road. That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison; it just doesn’t work.”