City Announces First Batch Of Speed Camera Locations
Drivers get ready to slow down.
The first 12 speed camera locations were announced late Friday by the City of Chicago.
Installation will begin as early as Monday, and this first batch of speed cameras should be operational by the end of August according to city spokespeople. Although speeding drivers will only be issued warnings for the first 30-days after the camera is turned on.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein have worked for nearly two years in preparation to launch automated speed camera enforcement in Chicago. Both men believe the program will compel drivers to slow down, decrease crashes, diminish the severity of crashes when they occur and improve overall traffic safety. In other cities, speed cameras have reportedly reduced speeding by 90%.
“The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children and other pedestrians by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed laws – particularly in school and park zones,” said Klein. “With extensive signage on the street, a robust system to give drivers only warning tickets during the first 30-days systems are operating, in addition to one free warning the first time a motorist is eligible to receive an actual violation, we expect to reduce the amount of speeding substantially, even beyond what other cities that use automated enforcement have experienced.”
According to the city, camera locations are being chosen on “available” traffic, speeding and crash data. The sites are being spread out evenly around Chicago in six regions of the city.
The first 12 sites are within the mandated 1/8 of a mile from three schools and nine parks including:
- Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave.
- Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave.
- Washington Park, 5531 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive
- Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave.
- Humboldt Park, 1440 N. Humboldt Dr.
- Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento
- Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave.
- McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
- Jones High School, 606 S. State St.
- Legion Park, 3100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
- Abbott Park, 49 E. 95th St. Chicago
- Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St.
The city also released some preliminary data from the speed camera pilot testing which was conducted at four locations this past December and January, pitting the two vendor finalists, Xerox/ACS and American Traffic Solutions. ATS was ultimately was awarded the contract a few weeks ago.
All four locations showed substantial speeding according to the data that was released.
The two sites operated by ATS showed just under 10% of the car passing through the monitored zones were speeding. The two Xerox locations showed eight to nine percent of cars were exceeding the speed limit.
Outside Dulles Elementary School, located at 6300 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.,
18 percent of the vehicles passing through during enforcement hours were exceeding the 20 mph school zone speed limit.
ATS’ second test site near Warren Park in the 6500 N. Western Ave. saw just 7% of drivers exceeding the speed limit.
Xerox’ cameras caught an average of 974 speed violations a day near McKinley Park, 2223 W. Pershing. That’s 57 violations per hour. While their second location at 1446 W. Division, outside of the Near North Montessori School saw an average of 366 violations per day.
“These pilot tests confirm that speeding is problem and that it puts children in danger. Speed is also one of the biggest determinants in whether an accident results in a serious injury or fatality, and reducing speeds to the posted limits will reduce injuries and save lives,” said Klein. “The Children’s Safety Zone Program protects children and other pedestrians by reminding motorists to slow down and obey speed laws – especially in school and park zones.”
With fines of $35 for speeding 6-10 mph over the limit or $100 for exceeding the limit by 11 mph or more, based on this sample data the city could be generating lots of revenue. The city says it expects to bring in around $20 million in speed camera revenue by the end of 2013.
The city says it will use revenues from speed cameras for safety related initiatives including after school programs, crossing guards and police officers, and infrastructure improvements like painting crosswalk markings and erecting traffic signs.
Enforcement around schools will be limited from 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Friday, while around parks enforcement will be seven days a week from 6 AM to 11 PM.
All drivers will be issued a warning for their first speed camera violation, but will be responsible for a fine after that.