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City Tests Controversial Speed Cameras Near Warren Park

By Benjamin Woodard | November 28, 2012 3:42pm

WEST RIDGE — Motorists zooming past Warren Park on Western Avenue next month can expect to be caught on camera — but won't get tickets — while the city tests controversial speed cameras.

Approved by the City Council on a 33-14 vote in April, the cameras aim to catch drivers violating speed limits. Motorists caught on camera can be fined up to $100.

Crews with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, a red light and speed camera manufacturer, installed several pieces of their system on light poles on the west side of Warren Park on Wednesday morning.

"We've been chosen to participate in this phase of the process and we're excited for the opportunity," said Charlie Territo, a spokesman for the company.

Territo said his company is installing cameras on Western Avenue and on Martin Luther King Drive near 63rd Street.

Other test cameras will be installed by Xerox, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A final supplier for the cameras citywide has not been chosen.

Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th), who voted for the ordinance, said the city is testing new equipment at 6541 N. Western Ave. and speeding drivers would see the camera's flash when driving by between Tuesday and Jan. 3.

Far North Side Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) and Ald. James Cappleman (46th) voted against the ordinance while Ald. Joe Moore (49th) voted for it.

Opponents say the ordinance is a cash grab by the city, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel insists the cameras will protect children and the elderly.

Under the ordinance, cameras can be installed in no more than 20 percent of eligible zones, which include areas within one-eighth of a mile of schools and parks.

After the cameras are installed citywide, speeders can be ticketed $35 for driving six to 10 mph over the speed limit and $100 for 11 mph or more.

Other testing locations include McKinley Park at 2223 W. Pershing Road; Dulles Elementary School at 6340 S. Martin Luther King Dr.; and Near North Montessori School at 1446 W. Division St.