Surrounded by 15 state representatives, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday publicly urged the House to approve a bill to retrofit red-light cameras with speed sensors at intersections near schools and parks.
"The victims here are the children, not those who are speeding," Emanuel said during a press conference at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
The mayor pointed to the deaths of 6-year-old Diamond Robinson and a CICS Wrightwood 8th grader, both struck by cars, as proof the city needs more speed enforcement to protect Chicago kids.
Robinson was struck by a car on Halloween around 70th and Loomis in Englewood. She was laid to rest Monday morning in Homewood, and Emanuel is said to have helped out with burial expenses.
“I have said it before, I don’t care if we collect a single dollar from this initiative," Emanuel said of the Automated Speed Enforcement legislation. "This is about saving lives of children who shouldn’t be worrying about their safety while walking to school or to the park."
The proposal passed the Senate 32-24 two weeks ago, and a vote by the House is expected this week.
To curb motorist concerns, Emanuel said the Chicago Department of Transportation will hold a public education campaign to inform drivers of the new speed-camera enforcement.
Signage will be highly visible, he said, and the city will grant an initial 30-day grace period during which it will issue a warning instead of a ticket for offenders. After the grace period, enforcement will be determined by speeds over 5 mph.
CDOT will identify "high priority locations" for the cameras based high rates of pedestrian crashes, the severity of the injuries and number of vehicular crashes, Emanuel said.