Mike Claffey 312.744.0707 | Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org
Susan Hofer 312.742.2006 | Susan.Hofer@cityofchicago.org
Responding to requests from Aldermen and community stakeholders that were sparked by concerns about speeding vehicles near three schools and two parks, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced new Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras will be activated this summer in five Children’s Safety Zones.
The action follows formal requests from local Aldermen and traffic safety stakeholders. CDOT conducted site visits and speed studies, and documented that vehicles are speeding in the five areas.
Traffic safety experts agree that driver speed is the most important factor in determining the risk and severity of crashes. This is because excessive speed increases the distance needed for braking and increases the severity of injuries. According to traffic safety experts, nine out of ten pedestrians is likely to die if they are struck by a car driving 40 miles per hour; five out of ten pedestrians is likely to die if struck by a car driving 30 miles per hour; and one out of ten pedestrians would be likely to die if struck by a car traveling 20 miles per hour.
“Automated speed enforcement is a proven deterrent to speeding, and one of the most effective tools in our toolbox for reducing speeding and saving lives,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “These additional speed cameras that we are installing are responsive to local requests. They will make these communities safer and support our Vision Zero Chicago Action Plan.”
The City of Chicago launched the Vision Zero plan last year. It is a data-driven, coordinated effort involving a dozen City departments. The Vision Zero Action Plan set out a blueprint that will move Chicago toward the ultimate goal of eliminating deaths and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2026.
Under the Vision Zero approach, traffic crashes that cause deaths and injuries are not accidents, they are preventable occurrences. Speeding is one of the five primary causes of traffic fatalities, along with failure to yield the right of way, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and disobeying traffic signs and signals.
"Residents of the 2nd Ward join me in celebrating the news that CDOT will be activating speed cameras in five child Safety Zones across the City, including Division Street between the Kennedy expressway and Milwaukee Avenue,” said Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward). “With five schools in the immediate area, the new cameras and Safety Zone will enhance safety for nearby residents, students, staff and commuters. These new safety resources are a welcome addition to the neighborhood prior to the beginning of a new school year."
“The safety of my constituents is my number one priority and traffic safety data shows that speed enforcement cameras are an effective way to improve safety on our streets and protect children and other vulnerable pedestrians,” said Alderman Milly Santiago (31st Ward). “I am very pleased that CDOT has approved the placement of a speed enforcement camera next to Kosciuszko Park.”
“Drivers who are speeding not only risk their own lives, but are jeopardizing the lives of pedestrians, bicycle riders and people in other vehicles,” said Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward). “These automated enforcement cameras will make our ward safer for everyone.”
“Speed enforcement cameras have a proven track record of making our streets safer,” said Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th Ward). “I applaud CDOT for their efforts improve the safety of our streets through the Vision Zero program.”
“The installation of speed cameras is welcome news to the Acero parents who raised concern about pedestrian traffic danger over the last two school years,” said Helena Stangle, chief external affairs officer for Acero Schools. “Acero supports measures that will improve the safety of our students walking to and from school.” Acero Schools has three schools serving K-12 student on W. 47th Street and S. Kildare Avenue.
Camera speed enforcement received a high level federal endorsement last year by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). An NTSB report urged more states and municipalities to use automated speed enforcement as a tool to reduce speed-related traffic crashes: https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SS1701.pdf.
Data from Chicago’s speed enforcement program and crash data demonstrates how automated enforcement is an effective tool that encourages drivers to slow down and observe the speed limit.
Starting in the middle of July, based on community requests, CDOT will deploy ASE technology in the following two Park Safety Zones:
Hiawatha Park, 8029 W. Forest Preserve Avenue
· Enforcement will be on the 8000 block of W. Forest Preserve Avenue.
· Enforcement will be on the 8000 block of W. Addison Street.
Kosciuszko Park, 2732 N. Avers Avenue
· Enforcement will be on the 3800 block of W. Diversey Avenue.
In late summer, timed to the start of school, CDOT will deploy ASE technology in the following three School Safety Zones.
Acero Schools, including Major Hector P. Garcia MD High School, 4248 W. 47th Street (Formerly Uno Schools)
· Enforcement will be on the 4200 block of W. 47th Street.
Near North Montessori School, 1434 W. Division Street
· Enforcement will be on the 1400 block of W. Division Street.
Gary Comer College Prep High School, 7131 S. South Chicago Avenue
· Enforcement will be on the 7100 block of S. South Chicago Avenue.
· Enforcement will be on the 800 block of E. 71st Street.
These additional ASE child safety zones will bring the total number of Safety Zones with automated speed enforcement to 68 zones with 162 ASE cameras operating within these 68 zones.
Chicago’s ASE ordinance authorizes that speed enforcement technology may be used in up to 20 percent of the City’s approximately 1,500 qualifying School or Park Safety Zones. With the addition of five new ASE locations, Chicago will have camera technology in less than five percent of the City’s School and Park Safety Zones.
The City ordinance requires an equitable geographic distribution of speed cameras around Chicago. For the purposes of speed enforcement, CDOT has divided the City into six regions and each region may have no fewer than ten percent of the total number of camera enforced zones.
Under Chicago’s ASE program, only warnings are issued for the first 30 days after cameras are activated in a Children’s Safety Zone. After the 30 day warning period, the first time a driver violates the speed limit on camera and is eligible to receive an enforceable violation, he or she will instead receive a warning. After the first warning, tickets are issued for speeding violations. Per city ordinance, fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit and $100 for vehicles traveling more than 10 miles over the speed limit. The City’s current policy is to only issue tickets to drivers going 10 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
Fines collected through the program are invested in critical safety initiatives and youth programs such as early childhood education, after-school programs and summer jobs programs for teens.
The Children’s Safety Zones may be 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 are limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in safety zones around schools on school days (Monday through Friday)
o 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.: 20 mph speed limit when children are present; the posted speed limit when no children are present
o 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: the posted speed limit
· The enforcement hours around parks are limited to only those hours parks are open (typically 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week, however some parks operate with different hours, which are taken into account for purposes of enforcement).
For more information about Chicago’s ASE program, go to: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/supp_info/children_s_safetyzoneporgramautomaticspeedenforcement.html
For more information about Vision Zero Chicago, go to: http://visionzerochicago.org/ .