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The City today announced the 50 zones around parks and schools which will be equipped with automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras this year, part of the Children’s Safety Zone Program to increase safety, reduce speeding and fund critical safety programs.
Revenue generated by the program will be invested in safety initiatives including afterschool programs, anti-violence and jobs programs; crossing guards and police officers around schools; and infrastructure improvements, such as signs, crosswalk markings and other traffic safety improvements.
The first speed cameras installed near Gompers Park in the Mayfair neighborhood on the North Side were activated and began to produce warnings to speeding drivers. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) had previously announced 12 of the 50 sites. Cameras already installed at McKinley, Marquette and Garfield Parks will be activated next week.
“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 CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein.
With extensive signage on the street, a robust system to give drivers only warning tickets during the first 30-days systems are operating, in addition to one free warning the first time a motorist is eligible to receive an actual violation, CDOT expects to reduce the amount of speeding substantially. Other cities that have used automated speed enforcement have experienced dramatic reductions in the instances of speeding, up to 90 percent.
The City is installing numerous new speed-limit and “photo enforcement” signs to inform drivers as they approach the ASE cameras. Camera locations are chosen based on available data regarding traffic, speeding, and accidents, as well as the geographic requirements of the ordinance. To ensure the program will enhance safety and reduce speeding citywide, and to help ensure geographic balance, six regions have been established wherein no fewer than 10 percent of speed enforcement cameras will be located in each region.
CDOT intends to install ASE cameras in the following zones by the end of the year (addresses are those of the parks and schools, not of the specific camera locations):
To ensure the accuracy and reliability of the automated speed enforcement cameras, each system will be thoroughly tested before being activated for enforcement. Each testing phase will precede the issuance of warnings by several weeks.
Only warnings will be issued for the first 30 days after cameras are activated in a safety zone. The first time a vehicle owner is eligible to receive an enforceable violation, they will instead receive a warning. Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles travelling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles travelling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit.
The Children’s Safety Zones are designated as within 1/8th of a mile from Chicago parks or schools. The speed cameras are only one part of the “toolbox” of pedestrian enhancements and vehicle-speed-reduction measures that the City uses in safety zones.
The City ordinance establishing the Children’s Safety Zone program substantially narrows the hours and locations of enforcement that are allowed under state law, and provides for the following:
The enforcement hours will be limited from 7 am to 7 pm in safety zones around schools on school days (Monday through Friday);7 am to 4 pm: 20 mph speed limit when children are present; 30 mph speed limit when no children are present4 pm to 7 pm: 30 mph speed limit
The enforcement hours around parks will be limited to only those hours parks are open (typically 6am to 11pm, 7 days a week) with a 30 mph speed limit;
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