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Speed Cameras Near Gompers Park to Begin Warning Period Monday

By Ted Cox | August 23, 2013 1:34pm
 The city's first speed cameras begin a monthlong warning period next week. After that, tickets range from $35 to $100.
The city's first speed cameras begin a monthlong warning period next week. After that, tickets range from $35 to $100.
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MAYFAIR — Warning, leadfoots: The city's first speed cameras will start sending out warnings to speeders next week.

The first of what could become as many as 300 speed cameras citywide were installed at Gompers Park, 4124 W. Foster Ave., and 5119 N. Pulaski Road, last week.

The city's Department of Transportation announced Friday that initial tests have been completed on the first camerasm, and they'll begin a 30-day period of warning speeders starting Monday.

The warning period is mandated by city ordinance, as are the signs warning drivers of speed cameras in the area. Even after the 30-day warning period, a driver's first violation also will receive a warning.

After that, however, the fines are substantial:$35 for going 6-10 miles over the posted speed limit and $100 for exceeding the speed limit by more than that.

The city maintains that the automated speed-enforcement program, formally known as the Children's Safety Zone Program, is meant to improve road safety.

"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 Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.

Critics, however, insist the speed cameras are primarily a revenue stream for the city.

Gompers Park is the first speed-camera location to be fully activated. Cameras also were installed this month at Garfield Park, Washington Park and Marquette Park, and they'll begin their 30-day warning periods as soon as initial testing is completed.

The city hopes to have 50 speed cameras going by the end of the year, and has set a limit of 300 citywide. Mayor Rahm Emanuel budgeted $30 million in revenue to be produced by the cameras this year.

Parks and school zones face different regulations. Park speed limits tend to be 30 mph, but that will be enforced whenever parks are open, which tends to be 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

School zones are 20 mph when children are present, and the speed cameras will need to take a picture of children in the area of the speeding car to enforce that from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Otherwise, the speed limit is typically 30 mph, and that will be enforced until 7 p.m. weekdays.