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Red-Light Camera Near Two Schools Will Stay, Officials Say

By Heather Cherone | November 18, 2015 5:49am
 A Xerox contractor installs a new red-light camera.
A Xerox contractor installs a new red-light camera.
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The Expired Meter

EDISON PARK — City officials dropped plans to remove a red-light camera at Touhy and Osceola avenues after Edison Park residents said the camera was needed to keep children walking to St. Juliana School and Ebinger Elementary School safe.

The camera was turned back on Monday morning after being off for eight months, said Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) and nearby residents objected to plans to take down the camera, saying it would threaten the safety of Edison Park children walking to nearby schools.

"We didn't want to lose that camera," said Christopher Vittorio, Napolitano's chief of staff. "It is very important to keep kids safe while they walk to school."

That intersection is outside the main entrance to St. Juliana School, and many students cross Touhy Avenue at Osceola Avenue to get to Ebinger Elementary School.

Napolitano plans to ask city officials to install a speed camera along Touhy Avenue near St. Juliana, Vittorio said.

Too many drivers already speed along Touhy Avenue, which is expected to become more congested as trucks from a new FedEx facility to use it to get to the tollway, Vittorio said.

The red-light camera at Harlem Avenue and Northwest Highway was also turned off in March and will be removed, officials said.

The two 41st Ward cameras were among 50 cameras Mayor Rahm Emanuel said would be removed in March, at the height of the mayoral and aldermanic elections, as part of a citywide program to revamp the controversial program.

All but two of those cameras will be taken down, Hofer said. The other camera that will remain because of community opposition is at Cicero Avenue and the Stevenson Expressway, officials said.

The camera at Touhy and Osceola avenues generated $427,630 in fines after issuing 4,462 tickets from 2011 through July, according to information obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

All the cameras that city officials are planning to remove had only one or fewer T-bone crash in 2013, according to state statistics.

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