A resident-led movement may be afoot to eliminate Des Plaines' only red-light cameras, at the intersection of Golf and Rand roads.
Vick Desai, who lives on Meadow Drive off Rand Road and north of Golf, said he and many of his neighbors are outraged by the number of accidents at that intersection, which he says have increased due to the presence of the cameras.
At a recent city council meeting, Desai asked aldermen to review accident data for the intersection and national studies that have shown red-light cameras increase rear-end collisions.
Saying they wanted to improve safety at the intersection, Des Plaines officials in October 2010 installed two mounted red-light cameras at Golf and Rand. A review of the crash data for that intersection shows accidents went up from four with one reported injury the year before to seven with no injuries reported after the cameras were installed.
"A year after red-light camera was installed crashes have nearly doubled at that intersection," Desai said. "The program has failed miserably to meet the goal of 'reducing accidents.' It is now widely accepted that red-light cameras are associated with increase in the number of rear-end collisions."
Acting Police Chief Mike Kozak said Tuesday the department is working with city staff members to evaluate the red-light camera program.
"You should do that after every year anyway," he added.
Mayor Marty Moylan said his office has not received many complaints about the red-light cameras. He believes Desai's complaints stem from the three red-light violation tickets he's received at that intersection.
"There is not a big uprising about the issue," Moylan said. "It's self-serving for him to try and get rid of this red-light camera operation there."
Moylan said the city is not going to revisit the issue, nor is it considering expansion of cameras at other city intersections at this time.
"But we'll always keep our options open," he said.
Desai said it's up to aldermen to heed residents' will.
"Schaumburg, they have removed red-light cameras entirely because of the public outrage," Desai said. "Maybe my council members are testing our patience and just waiting for public outrage. Cities can choose to make intersections safer with sound traffic engineering or make money with ticket cameras. Unfortunately many, including Des Plaines, pick money over safety."