Oakbrook Terrace red light cameras uncovered after judge order

Diane Pathieu Image
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Oakbrook Terrace red light cameras uncovered after judge order
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A judge has ordered Oakbrook Terrace to re-activate the red light cameras, at least for now.

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- The bags covering the red light cameras at a busy intersection in Oakbrook Terrace came off Wednesday morning, after a judge ordered that they be re-activated -- at least for now.

The Illinois Department of Transportation de-activated those cameras, located at 22nd Street and Route 83, back in May, claiming that Oakbrook Terrace violated a safety agreement.

But Oakbrook Terrace officials are fighting back. They said the cameras are located at one of the busiest intersections in the state, and, according to the village, one of the more dangerous. That's why village officials say they need red light cameras there.

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"The No. 1 concern for the city of Oakbrook Terrace is safety," Oakbrook Terrace spokesperson Lissa Druss said. "Safety for our residents, safety for every driver or passenger who goes through that intersection."

The cameras in place at the intersection had been covered since May, when IDOT ordered the village to stop using them because they failed to provide safety information to the state.

But a judge disagreed, allowing the cameras back on while the village argues in court that IDOT has no authority to regulate the cameras once they are installed.

The coverings were removed about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Mayor Paul Esposito sent a letter to residents Tuesday, letting them know the cameras are back on. It said, in part: "We worked diligently to turn the cameras back on because more than 230,000 drivers have run red lights at that intersection."

On Tuesday night, City Hall got an earful from drivers.

They showed up to call for the cameras to stay turned off.

"I went through that intersection twice a day for six years, and you could have gotten into an accident every time the light cycles," resident Michael Deddo said.

Village officials said they have dozens of accident reports for the last few months since the cameras have been off. But red light camera opponents argue the cameras actually cause more rear-end collisions as drivers make sudden stops.

Mark Wallace, with Coalition to Stop Red Light Cameras, said the village has brought in more than $12 million in fines at this intersection since the cameras were installed five years ago.

"The data does not add up," Wallace said. "What does add up is they collect an enormous amount of money and a great deal of corruption."

IDOT issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that said the agency "will be communicating with Oakbrook Terrace to determine what its intentions are.... and working to ensure compliance with the court order."

The ruling at this point is only a temporary order. The case will be back in court in October.