Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine in support of LD 1076, An Act to Expand the Use of Traffic Cameras for School and Work Zones
April 4, 2023
Senator Chipman, Representative Williams, and Honorable Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation, My name is Nancy Smith and I am the CEO of GrowSmart Maine. We are a statewide non-partisan non-profit organization helping communities navigate change in alignment with smart growth. We advocate for comprehensive policies and funding for smart growth practices and outcomes. GrowSmart partnered with Build Maine to guide a transparent crowd-sourcing of policy proposals that began a year ago, drawing together over a hundred people from across Maine and beyond. Policy Action 2023 has resulted in sixteen proposals from eight working groups, all addressing this goal, “to address barriers to and create incentives for equitable, sustainable growth and development that strengthens downtowns and villages of all sizes while pulling development pressure away from productive and open natural areas. We do so acknowledging that Maine has urban, rural, and suburban settings for which any solution may/not be a fit and a variety of people who deserve to be welcomed to their communities.”
The Complete Streets working group, led by Zoe Miller, brought forward five proposals, including this one. As you can see in the attached Fact Sheet, the goal of this bill is to add school and work zones to the places listed in State Statute §2117 where traffic cameras are currently permitted. GrowSmart Maine supports this bill as an appropriate step, balancing the safety of all who use the roads in these particularly sensitive areas, while acknowledging concerns related to equity and privacy.
Slower speeds that are appropriate in school and work zones are often at odds with road design and the adjacent built environment. Particularly vulnerable people are at risk; children who often don’t pay attention to their surroundings, and construction crews who are focused on their work. As for privacy concerns, this bill requires the State or a municipality to dispose of photos and other recorded image/audio produced by a traffic surveillance camera 30 days from the date of production unless it is released in accordance with this subsection. GrowSmart and members of the Policy Action 2023 working group will support this committee in working through the details of this bill.