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updated: 5/14/2014 12:06 PM

Elk Grove Village to keep red-light cameras

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  • Red-light cameras in Elk Grove Village, including one at the intersection of Arlington Heights and Higgins roads, are staying put for another six years, the village board decided Tuesday.

       Red-light cameras in Elk Grove Village, including one at the intersection of Arlington Heights and Higgins roads, are staying put for another six years, the village board decided Tuesday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer, 2009

 
 

Red-light cameras are staying put in Elk Grove Village for at least another six years, under a contract extension authorized Tuesday by the village board.

The village's agreement with Lombard-based RedSpeed Illinois to ticket drivers who go through red lights won unanimous approval from village trustees and the endorsement of Mayor Craig Johnson, who argues red-light camera programs can be "effective when done right."

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He pointed to the village's traffic accident statistics that show intersections with the cameras have seen fewer accidents, especially fewer rear-end crashes.

Since the village started contracting with RedSpeed to install cameras in 2008, Johnson said, the program has always been about reducing accidents -- not about collecting revenue.

The village receives on average $700,000 a year in revenue from red-light camera violations -- money that has paid for new streetlights, signs, capital repair projects and community beautification projects, Johnson said.

The intersections with the most accidents are the ones that received cameras, he said.

Cameras are currently installed on southbound Busse Road at Oakton Street, westbound Oakton Street at Busse, northbound/southbound Busse at Devon Avenue, westbound Higgins Road at Arlington Heights Road, northbound Rohlwing Road at Biesterfield Road, eastbound Biesterfield at the Interstate 290 entrance ramp, eastbound Landmeier Road at Higgins, and eastbound/westbound Nerge Road at Rohlwing.

There's about 280 tickets issued at all intersections combined per week -- a number that has remained steady since the cameras were installed in Elk Grove Village, officials said.

In 2011, the village deactivated its cameras at Devon and Busse after crashes went down there the year before. But eight months into a study to test the effectiveness of the cameras, officials said, the intersection became the most accident-prone in the village, leading to the reactivation of the cameras.

Each red-light ticket is $100, and it can be contested in writing or in person with an adjudicator. If a driver loses an appeal, an extra $40 is charged to pay the cost of the adjudicator.

Violations in Elk Grove are for all red-light violations -- straight through the intersection, right on red, and left on red. Video of every violation that the police department receives from RedSpeed is reviewed by an officer, and some violations are rejected if the driver stops within the vicinity of the line, or if there is inclement weather, such as rain or snow, Johnson said.

About half of the violations the department receives are dismissed, he said.

"We tell our officers, 'Pretend you're sitting in a squad car at the intersection,'" he said.

Elk Grove's contract extension with RedSpeed is for two consecutive three-year terms, from July 7, 2014, to July 7, 2020.

RedSpeed charges a flat fee of $1,500 per month for maintenance of cameras, plus additional fees based on the number of violations to account for photo and processing costs.

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