Speed camera locations announced as installation gets under way in Chicago

August 12, 2013 (CHICAGO)

INTERACTIVE MAP: Chicago's 12 speed cameras

Initially, 12 cameras are being installed to catch speeders and there are plans to add more.

The city hopes the arrival of the new cameras will curtail speeding, but critics say this is nothing more than the arrival of a new cash crop.

A new set of mechanical eyes goes up. It stands alongside Gompers Park, but it's not watching the park. It'll be watching the cars on Pulaski - taking pictures of those who drive faster than the 30 mile an hour limit there.

It is the first of 50-some speed camera locations to be set up this year - all of them around parks and schools - with the stated purpose of creating children's safety zones.

"We think that we're going to see a decline, probably 75-90 percent, in speeding," said CDOT deputy commissioner Scott Kubly. "It's going to decrease the number of crashes and decrease the severity of the crashes that do happen."

As soon as they become operational, here's how it will work. If the camera records a driver going 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit, you'll get a $35 ticket in the mail. If it clocks a driver going eleven or more miles per hour over the limit, the ticket jumps to $100.

The city's speed camera tests late last year found violations so frequent that it could add up to new revenue in the tens of millions of dollars, prompting some to suggest this is more about a money grab than child safety.

"I think we need to take another real hard look at the amount of cameras, as well as the amount of each one of these violations," said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale.

Beale was among those who supported the speed camera initiative, but he now believes the city council should rethink it.

"I can see the advantages potentially safeguarding the children, but it seems to me so much of what we're doing is about raising money and it seems to me we need to use more of a thoughtful, holistic approach to raise money for the city," said Rob Reynolds.

"I definitely will not be doing that 40 anymore, I don't want a ticket," Joann Seebacher. "That's a big fine. That's a hefty fine."

"If we never collect a penny because everybody starts abiding by the speed limit, the program will be a success," Kubly said.

The reality is that the city will take in, by its own estimate, $40-60 million in the first year of operation of the cameras. That's guaranteed to raise the ire of many motorists.

Whether or not it changes any long-held and often dangerous driving habits remains to be seen.

The cameras will be operational in a couple of weeks. The city in the meantime will post warning signs saying the cameras will be watching.

The first 12 locations identified are:

- 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 High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St.

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