MCKINLEY PARK — The city won't budge on an alderman's request to remove or relocate a speed camera along busy Archer Avenue, despite outcry from angry Southwest Side drivers.
Asked if the city's Transportation Department would consider a bid by Ald. George Cardenas (12th) to have the controversial camera moved, a department spokesman tersely replied "no."
At issue is the location of a speed camera along traffic-heavy Archer Avenue, a couple blocks from Mulberry Playlot Park, a little-used park tucked away on Robinson Street and invisible from Archer and nearby Ashland avenues.
Casey Cora tried to interview some pedestrians for their reaction, but couldn't find any:
The camera began issuing warning tickets Sept. 5. It will begin issuing real tickets — ranging from $35 to $100 a pop — on Oct. 19.
The city says the area surrounding Mulberry Park ranked fairly high in the city's study of speeding and crash rates near school and park zones — 135th out of 1,500 such zones.
From 2009-2012, there were 214 crashes in the area. In 68 of those crashes, speed was a factor, 47 involved kids, and six caused serious injury or death, according to the city data.
Those statistics haven't done much to quell the outrage of residents like Lupe Castillo.
Armed with a camera, the 53-year-old Little Village resident went searching for the park while sounding off against the city's "stealing" from drivers hit with fines.
Shared more than 7,000 times, her video has prompted even more more backlash against what drivers say is a relentless cash grab from a financially distressed City Hall. Even Cardenas, a backer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, called the camera "nothing more than a money maker."
Castillo, a pharmacy technician who uses Archer to drive to Bridgeport once or twice a week, said she's angry the city won't move the camera.
"It's just another lame excuse. There's no real reason for the camera," she said.
A spokeswoman for Cardenas, meanwhile, said the alderman will continue to press to have the camera moved to Ashland Avenue.
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