CHICAGO — Slow down drivers: More speed cameras are scheduled to go in across the city soon, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
The city announced late last week the locations of 12 new camera locations around schools and parks in six area of the city over the next few months.
A 13th location near Calumet Park, in the 3500 block of East 95th Street, was announced last month. The camera was installed in late June and began its 30-day warning period on June 30.
With these installations, Chicago is on its way to having one of the nation's largest speed camera programs with about 150 cameras at 63 locations.
(See the list of new camera locations below)
Since August, the city has issued more than 1.25 million speed warnings and 230,000 tickets totaling at least $8 million in fines.
Transportation department spokesman Pete Scales said there's no schedule set for when more locations will be announced in 2014.
"This is an ongoing program with a gradual rollout," Scales said. "There's no schedule for when we'll announce another round of new zones, and it's yet to be determined how many more that will be this year."
The city claims the speed cameras have worked to reduce speeding at their locations by an average of 43 percent — and as much as 99 percent — from the first week the cameras were installed until now.
"We are pleased with the dramatic impact the Children's Safety Zone Program has made to reduce speeding and improve safety," Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. "The whole goal of this program is making it safer for children and families to walk to school or go to the park, and clearly we're making real strides toward that goal."
Mark Wallace, head of the Coalition to Abolish Red Light Cameras, a group opposed to both red-light and speed cameras, scoffed at the city's claims of improved safety.
"They've never been able to produce evidence that children were at risk around parks and schools," Wallace said. "We do have evidence that people are being struck by bullets around the city. The only thing 12 more cameras will do is to tax, punish and raise revenue for the city."
The city began installing the first of 50 cameras in August. The last of these original 50 cameras was installed at Ogden Plaza Park, in the 300 block of East Illinois Street, and it began ticketing drivers Tuesday.
Once cameras are installed, drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by 5 mph or more receive warning notices for a six-week period. After that, speeders are supposed to be fined $35 for going 6 to 10 mph over the limit and $100 for going 11 mph or more over the limit.
But the city now is only ticketing drivers going more than 10 mph over the limit. The city said it would eventually lower that speed threshold but has not announced when or by how much.
Enforcement around schools runs from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Speed cameras around parks have enforcement from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. seven days a week.
The city said revenue from speed camera fines will go toward improving safety, including paying for crossing guards, adding more road signs, painting crosswalks and improving traffic signals.
The new camera locations announced last week are:
• Taft High School, 6545 W. Hurlbut St.
• Ashmore Playlot Park, 4807 W. Gunnison St.
• Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St.
• Chicago Vocational High School, 2100 E. 87th St.
• Loop Lab School, 318 W. Adams St.
• Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen Ave.
• Keystone Park, 1655 N. Keystone Ave.
• Frazier International Magnet School, 4027 W. Grenshaw St.
• St. Gall Elementary School, 5515 S. Sawyer Ave.
• Foster Park, 1400 W. 84th St.
• Dulles Elementary School, 6311 S. Calumet Ave.
• Mulberry Park, 3150 S. Robinson Court
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