The final warning and subsequent speeding tickets began to be issued on Wednesday, October 16th at 6 a.m. from Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras in the Gompers Park Children’s Safety Zone in the Northwest Side Mayfair neighborhood.
“Today marks the first day that motorists are eligible to receive tickets and fines from speed cameras in Children’s Safety Zones, and we are reminding drivers that they should safely travel at or below posted speed limits,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We need to change the culture of speeding in Chicago in order to increase the safety around our parks and schools.”
During the 30-day warning period, all motorists driving more than 6 miles per hour over the limit received a warning, and all motorists will still receive one more warning before being issued tickets and fines.
“Drivers are traveling too fast, and they are putting children, the elderly and adults at risk by moving at dangerous speeds near parks and schools,” said Alderman Marge Laurino (39th). “The cameras near Gompers Park caught an incredible amount of speeders during the warning period, despite the pavement markings and signs indicating the presence of cameras. The warnings have already had an impact, and I hope more drivers slow down to avoid being ticketed.”
In total, the nine cameras near four neighborhood parks produced more than 200,000 warnings to drivers for speeding in first the 40 days of operation, far more than City officials had expected. More than 200 motorists have been clocked traveling faster than 60 miles per hour, which is at least twice the legal limit, and 10 drivers were traveling faster than 80, with one going 90 miles per hour.
There are signs that drivers’ behavior is beginning to change. On average, the number of violations recorded on the first day of operation of a camera had dropped by 50 percent within two weeks of operation, as drivers began to receive warning notices in the mail.
“It is clear from the number of warnings that there is work to be done to address Chicago’s speeding problem, but also that people are responding and are already slowing down,” said Peter Skosey, Vice President of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “It is important to increase the safety of the roadway for all users, but especially those most vulnerable."
The City will start by only issuing tickets for speeders going 10 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit. That ticket threshold will gradually be lowered going forward.
The camera on Foster Avenue near Gompers Park now features two speed-indicator signs designed to reduce speeding. CDOT plans to install up to 20 speed indicator signs.
The ASE cameras at McKinley, Marquette and Garfield Parks are currently in the warning-processing period, and will begin to issue tickets the week of October 21st. Cameras installed at Douglas, Legion, Washington, Humboldt, and Major Taylor Parks, and Prosser Vocational High School are currently in the warning issuing phase as part of their first 30 days of operation.
The City plans to equip 50 Children’s Safety Zones around parks and schools with ASE cameras this year, in an effort to increase safety and reduce speeding. Any revenue generated by the program is to be invested in critical safety initiatives including after-school, anti-violence and jobs programs; crossing guards and police officers around schools; and infrastructure improvements, such as additional signs, crosswalk markings and other traffic safety improvements.
Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles travelling more than 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.
The Children’s Safety Zones are designated within 1/8th of a mile from Chicago parks or schools. The City ordinance establishing the program 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 4 pm to 7 pm: 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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