Chicago speed cameras issue tickets at Gompers Park

October 16, 2013 (CHICAGO)

INTERACTIVE MAP: 50 Chicago Speed Cameras

The city's stated intent is to change a culture that suggests speeding is tolerated. And so it's positioned speed cameras in school and park zones where there've been traditionally high accident rates.

There are 9 such zones with cameras now - all of them will be soon be snapping shots of speeders. A notice will come in the mail - pictures of the video capture - your speed, and a fine.

The city started issuing tickets on Wednesday to those who go 10 miles or over the speed limit near Gompers Park. Those caught driving 11 miles per hour over the speed limit will be fined $100. Eventually, drivers going between 6 and 10 mph over will also get tickets- and have to pay a $35 fine.

Between August 26 and October 3, an analysis found that had speeders in nine so-called "School Safety Zones" received tickets, those fines would have generated nearly $13.9 million for the city. That's on pace to exceed the $40 million to $60 million Mayor Rahm Emanuel projected.

"I think Chicagoans are smart I think that they are starting understand why we're doing this and they're not gonna speed as much. If we bring in $200 million worth of revenue I think that's really too bad that people are speeding at that rate," Gabe Klein, CDOT commissioner, said.

The city plans to bring another 50 speed cameras into the mix by the end of the year, 10 of which are just waiting for the 30-day trial period to end so they can be flipped on. The cameras are placed throughout the city at "Children's Safety Zones," which are 1/8 a mile from a Chicago park or school.

The enforcement hours will be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in safety zones around schools on school days Monday through Friday; 7 a.m.-4 p.m.: 20 mph speed limit when children are present; 30 mph speed limit when no children are present; 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: 30 mph speed limit

The enforcement hours around parks will be limited to only those hours parks are open (typically 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week) with a 30 mph speed limit.

"Most people are not aware that they're being watched or they go the regular limit or a little bit past. But now they gotta be very careful about what they do, they'll get caught and it's the city way of getting more money," Stephen Turnquist, driver, said.

There are some that believe that this is the city's way of getting more money.

"Emanuel may be a good mayor, but he's all about going for the money," said Edgar Winfield.

Critics call it all a money grab. There were so many warning tickets issued in the past month by the new speed cameras that it would have translated into a nearly $14 million dollar windfall.

And ultimately, with 50 speed zones, the potential revenue would be huge.

The city is quick to point out that in the past month the number of warnings issued has dropped by nearly half - suggesting that driving habits - at least in the known speed zones - is already changing.

"Since the cameras went up the last couple weeks, I've noticed people slowing way down and that's good," said Dwight Samuelson

"Oh yeah, it has changed my behavior," said Betty Hearst.

"I doubt you can convince everybody, all the skeptics, but I think when we come back one year from now - three to five years with the data and show how many fatalities have fallen, people will say the Mayor was right about that," said Klein.

In some of the cities that use them, speed cameras have reduced speeding by 70 percent or more.

The city insists, as it says, that this is about safety and not revenue. It, therefore, will be regularly examining what the speeding cameras produce.

CDOT intends to install speed cameras in the following zones by the end of the year (addresses are those of the parks and schools, not of the specific camera locations):

Abbott Park, 49 E. 95th St.
Bogan Tech High School, 3939 W. 79th St.
Burr Elementary School, 1621 W. Wabansia Ave.
Challenger Park, 1100 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago Agricultural High School, 3807 W. 111th St.
Christopher Elementary School, 5042 S. Artesian Ave.
Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave.
Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave.
Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Ave.
Frances Xavier Warde School, 751 N. State St.
Gage Park, 2415 W. 55th St.
Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Dr.
Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave.
Hancock Elementary School, 4034 W. 56th St.
Harvard Elementary School, 7525 S. Harvard Ave.
Horan Park, 3035 W. Van Buren St.
Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave.
Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Humboldt Dr.
Icci Academy, 6435 W. Belmont Ave.
Jefferson Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.
Jones High School, 606 S. State St.
Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St.
Legion Park, 3100 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Lorca Elementary School, 3231 N. Springfield Ave.
Major Taylor Park, 970 W. 115th St.
Marquette Park, 6734 S. Kedzie Ave.
McGuane Park, 2901 S. Poplar Ave.
McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
Merrimac Park, 6343 W. Irving Park Rd.
Morgan Park High School, 1744 W. Pryor Ave.
Ogden Park, 429 N. Columbus Dr.
Orr High School, 730 N. Pulaski Rd.
Park 499, 3925 E. 104th St.
Parsons Park, 4701 W. Belmont Ave.
Pickard Elementary School, 2301 W. 21St Pl.
Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave.
Prosser Vocational High School, 2148 N. Long Ave.
Riis Park, 6100 W. Fullerton Ave.
Roberto Clemente High School, 1147 N. Western Ave.
Rosenblum Park, 2000 E. 75th St.
Sauganash Elementary School, 6040 N. Kilpatrick Ave.
Schaefer Park, 2415 N. Marshfield Ave.
Senn Park, 5887 N. Ridge Ave.
Sherman Park, 1307 W. 52nd St.
St. Genevieve School, 4854 W. Montana St.
St. Rita High School, 7740 S. Western Ave.
Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St.
Warren Elementary School, 9239 S. Jeffery Ave.
Washington Park, 5531 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave.

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