The installation of traffic cameras at dangerous Forest Park intersections, a process that began in December 2007, is expected to finally occur in early September.
Last December the village council unanimously voted to have RedSpeed Illinois install traffic cameras at several intersections. It was intended that the cameras would be snapping photos of wayward motorists by spring of 2008, but RedSpeed has been unable to pinpoint exactly where the equipment should go.
According to Debra Beerup, RedSpeed’s director of marketing, the permit for installing a traffic camera at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Desplaines Avenue has been completed. The hold up, Beerup said, is in figuring out where to place the camera so that it is not located on private property at the intersection. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has to then sign off on the location.
The camera, which is triggered by a magnet in the ground that is roughly the size of a soda can, takes three pictures of any car that goes through a red light and records a 10 second video. Installing the magnet in the road is a minor process that should take only a few minutes, said Beerup. At the intersection of Roosevelt and Desplaines streets, the camera will take pictures of cars traveling southbound.
Plans for a second set of cameras, intended to be installed at Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue, are still in the works.
“Those permits are slowly going through the Springfield bureaucracy,” Police Chief Jim Ryan said.
After the first camera is installed there will be a 15 day grace period to help put drivers on notice. Drivers who pass through the intersection against the traffic signal will receive a warning.
Beerup spoke favorably of the effect that the RedSpeed Illinois traffic cameras will have once the grace period ends.
“In the past, at intersections where cameras have been installed, accidents go down 40 percent,” she said. “In the first three months there are a lot of tickets, but people learn and then adjust their behavior.”
RedSpeed offers villages using their camera systems the option of moving the equipment to another intersection, free of charge, at their discretion.
“Once people have adjusted their driving behavior at a certain intersection we allow the village to move the guts of the equipment to a different intersection,” Beerup said. “We leave the shell of the equipment at the first intersection though, so there is what we call the scarecrow effect still in place.”
Drivers caught going through a stop light will get a $100 fine in the mail. The mailing will include pictures demonstrating that vehicle indeed did run the light. A link to the company’s Web site with the video will also be included. The tickets will not be considered moving violations and will not go on a driving record. Citations are issued to the registered owner of the car.