As part of the Children’s Safety Zone Program to increase safety, reduce speeding and fund critical safety programs, the City will begin its automated speed enforcement (ASE) program on Monday, August 26th as the first speed cameras installed near Gompers Park in the North Side Mayfair neighborhood will be activated and begin to produce warnings to speeding drivers.
“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 Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gabe 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, CDOT expects to reduce the amount of speeding substantially, even beyond what other cities that use automated enforcement have experienced.
The cameras near Gompers Park (at 4124 W. Foster Ave. and 5119 N. Pulaski Rd.) were the first to be installed, tested and readied for operation. The City also installed numerous new speed limit and photo enforcement signs to inform drivers as they approach the ASE cameras.
Three more systems are being installed and tested this week at: Garfield Park (at 3790 W. Madison St. and 3694 W. Jackson Blvd.); Washington Park (at 5330 S. Cottage Grove Ave. and 534 E. Morgan Dr.); and Marquette Park (3450 W. 71st St., 6818 S. Kedzie Ave., and 6909 S. Kedzie Ave.). After testing, those three systems should be operational by the end of next week.
Only warnings will be issued for the first 30 days after cameras are activated in a safety zone. The first time a vehicle owner is eligible to receive an enforceable violation, they will instead receive a warning. Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles travelling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles travelling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit.
CDOT plans to install ASE camera systems in 50 safety zones this year. Camera locations are chosen based on available data regarding traffic, speeding, and accidents, as well as the geographic requirements of the ordinance. To ensure the program will enhance safety and reduce speeding citywide, and to help ensure geographic balance, six regions have been established wherein no fewer than 10 percent of speed enforcement cameras will be located in each region.
Revenue generated by the program will be invested in safety initiatives including afterschool programs, anti-violence and jobs programs; crossing guards and police officers around schools; and infrastructure improvements, such as signs, crosswalk markings and other traffic safety improvements.
The Children’s Safety Zones are designated as within 1/8th of a mile from Chicago parks or schools. The speed cameras are only one part of the “toolbox” of pedestrian enhancements and vehicle-speed-reduction measures that the City uses in safety zones.
The City ordinance establishing the Children’s Safety Zone program substantially narrows the hours and locations of enforcement that are allowed under state law, and provides for the following:
The enforcement hours will be limited from 7 am to 7 pm in safety zones around schools on school days (Monday through Friday); 7 am to 4 pm: 20 mph speed limit when children are present; 30 mph speed limit when no children are present; and from 4 pm to 7 pm there is a 30 mph speed limit
The enforcement hours around parks will be limited to only those hours parks are open (typically 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week) with a 30 mph speed limit;
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