A plan to use cameras to enforce speed limits around schools and parks in Chicago has passed the Illinois House and is on its way to Governor Quinn for signature. Chicago Mayor Emanuel stated: “I commend the Illinois House for their leadership in voting to protect our children around schools and parks” Under the plan, speeders going 6 mph to 10 mph over the speed limit would face $50 fines and those going 11 mph and over would face the full $100 ticket. The cameras would run in school zones from 6 a.m. to 8:30 am Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. The cameras near city parks would still run one hour before opening until one hour after closing. Chicago Tribune analysis predicts that “safety zone” cameras would cover nearly half the city. Opponents argue that the cameras are more about generating revenue from tickets than they are about safety. Indeed, CDOT studies point to the possibility of the city generating over $150 million a year from tickets. In one study, two south side intersections on Western Ave. were monitored with speed cameras over a period of one month in 2008 and it was found that that 23% of drivers or 19,660 drivers were speeding 5 mph over the speed limit.
Supporters of the measure argue that the speed cameras will make the streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Ron Burke, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance stated that his organization supports the measure adding that “automated speed enforcement will slow down cars, which makes our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly”.
The personal injury law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer have handled many cases of inured pedestrians and injured bicyclists hit by speeders. The law could help to slow down motorists but will be very unpopular with anyone who gets a ticket.