Bike Group Cam Catches Speeders Near Crowded Chicago Park

The Active Transportation Alliance says Mayor Rahm Emanuel's speed cameras could help curb speeding

The Active Transportation Alliance wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel's speed cameras in Chicago.

And the group, known for encouraging people to walk, bike or take public transit over driving, says it collected proof to back it up.

Last week, the Active Transportation Alliance shot video of traffic at the Humboldt Park intersection of West Cortez and Humboldt drives, about 120 feet from "a heavily used soccer field." Using a radar gun, they clocked vehicles from 2:40 p.m.-2:50 p.m. last Thursday.

About 100 vehicles passed during the 10-minute span, and although the group said most cars drove within 5 miles of the 30 mph speed limit, others -- including a school bus -- didn't.

They caught an SUV driving 44 mph, a car traveling 46 mph, a school bus driving 45 mph and two other cars traveling over 40 mph while passing on the right.

The group hasn't been quiet about Emanuel's proposal to install speed cameras near hundreds of Chicago parks and schools. Last week, they urged the City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety to approve the ordinance.

“Chicago needs to do all it can to reduce speeding and improve safety on our streets,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Automated speed enforcement will slow down cars, which saves lives and makes our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.”

In the group's video, released Tuesday, the group notes "a person hit by someone driving more than 40 miles per hour, as shown in the video, has a 10 percent survival rate."

Still, they said In a statement with the release, the cameras alone won't solve Chicago speeding. But it's one way to do it.

"They are one of many tools in the toolbox to slow down speeders, including speed bumps, portable speed signs, education and enforcement. We support a comprehensive approach. Changing bad habits can help save lives."

Some resident have said the plan feels like a money grab effort by the city, but Emanuel maintains it's "about making sure people abide by the law."

Responding to input from some the city council, the mayor last week further softened some provisions of the ordinance as it would be implemented.

For the first 30 days after a camera is installed in a safety zone, drivers will also only get warnings. Afterward, fines will climb from $50 for cars traveling 6-10 miles over the posted limit in the safety zone to $100 for cars traveling 11 miles or more over the limit.

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