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updated: 8/8/2012 4:04 PM

Addison approves new red-light cameras

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  • Addison will install a red-light camera like this one near its municipal complex at Lake Street and Kennedy Drive.

      Addison will install a red-light camera like this one near its municipal complex at Lake Street and Kennedy Drive.
    Daily Herald file photo

 

Addison officials this week approved new red-light cameras to be installed near the municipal complex at Lake Street and Kennedy Drive.

It will be the second such location in the village; cameras have been in place since 2009 facing west and east at Lake Street and Addison Road.

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The village also had cameras at Lake Street and Rohlwing Road from 2009 to 2011, but removed them when construction began to widen Route 53.

Police Chief Timothy Hayden said the new cameras will monitor drivers from eastbound Lake to southbound Kennedy and from northbound Kennedy to eastbound Lake. They will be installed and operating within the next month.

Once the cameras are in place, the village will give violators warning notices for the first two weeks and then begin issuing citations.

Even then, Hayden said, the village is looking primarily for drivers who make the road dangerous -- not those who make technical errors.

"We are very liberal about enforcement because ... this is primarily a safety issue," Hayden said. "So if the car is serving the purpose of the stoplight, they're not getting the violation."

RedSpeed International, the company hired to operate the cameras, picks up the cost to install, operate and maintain the system, while ticket fees are used to fund officer time used to review violations and other expenses, officials said.

Hayden said he doesn't know how much money the cameras generate each year.

He said cameras at Rohlwing and Lake probably will not be reinstalled, partially because construction crews are making safety improvements at the intersection and partially because municipalities are now required to submit three years of crash data before installing new cameras.

"I'm optimistic the improvements will reduce accidents and we won't need (cameras) again," Hayden said.

Use and reaction to red-light cameras has been mixed in recent years. DuPage County officials rejected a proposal last year to install cameras at several county-controlled intersections, with some saying they feared such cameras are used more to generate revenue than they are to increase safety.

Naperville shut down its red-light cameras early this year, at least in part because two of its three cameras had to be deactivated for planned road construction. Officials said the two violations per day at the remaining location did not warrant keeping the system active. But the loss left a roughly $185,000 gap in Naperville's budget.

Gurnee, however, approved another 3-year contract for its cameras at four intersections in May. Officials said the cameras are expected to bring in roughly $500,000 in 2013.

Hayden said Addison's cameras have caused few problems or complaints and his department works closely with drivers who dispute their tickets.

Ultimately, he said, one of the biggest changes the cameras have created is overly cautious drivers.

"Now there are some people who don't turn on red when they are at a camera-enforced intersection," he said. "When I'm stuck behind them I try to consider their feelings (because) they are a little insecure on how it is enforced. But the important things is they played it safe."

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