Red light cameras: friend or foe?
The six men running for three seats on the East Dundee village board offer mixed views of the two red light cameras already in town and on whether they'd support a third camera.
The third camera that would be positioned at the southbound approach at Route 25 and Route 72 is currently in limbo while the police department awaits an OK from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Police Chief Terry Mee said.
In August 2008, the village board signed a six-year contract with RedSpeed. A camera at Route 68 and Route 72 followed in late 2009. Earlier this month, a westbound camera at Route 25 and Route 72 began tracking red-light runners. Police reviewing the footage for violations mail $100 tickets to the offenders.
Mee didn't have figures available to show what the village has collected thus far. But he did say it far outweighs the fixed $1,499 monthly lease and maintenance fee, as well as and other fluctuating fees RedSpeed collects for every device.
Incumbents Mike Ruffulo and John Cichowski were on the board that approved the contract with RedSpeed and they stand behind that decision.
"I feel that it's a good thing for the village and all the other villages," Ruffulo said, adding that he would renew the contract and endorse a third camera, depending on its location. "Of course, I can't deny that the revenue is nice but more importantly it's telling us to obey the law."
For Cichowski, the cameras are about protecting residents and freeing up police resources. He would also support a third camera either at Van Buren Street and Route 72 near Immanuel Lutheran Church and school or on Route 72 near the bike path and the Dairy Queen.
"That is dangerous for the bikers, too," Cichowski said. Motorists "don't give respect to the walkers or the bikers."
Challenger Dan Selep would also endorse a third camera as a "way that we could raise revenue."
According to police, there were 50 accidents in 2010 at Route 72 and Route 25 and none was fatal.
In 2009, there were 24 accidents at Route 68 and Route 72. A year later, there were 14, but it's impossible to know whether the cameras are responsible for the reduction.
Challengers Patrick Clarke and Allen Skillicorn oppose red light cameras, would not renew the existing contract and wouldn't approve a third camera.
Both men say the red-light cameras are solely a revenue generator that don't make the roads any safer.
"If there is a safety issue, it can be fixed with re-engineering the intersection, making the yellow light half a second longer, improving sight lines, things like that," Skillicorn said.
Trustee Jeff Lynam, meanwhile, is "very proud" to have been the lone "no" vote against the red-light cameras. He doesn't want any more cameras in the village and would also not renew the contract.
"I was dead set against them right from the start and I'm dead set against them now," Lynam said, adding that he views them more as a moneymaker for the red-light camera companies, than as a safety mechanism.