Alderman Willie Cochran Discusses His Vote on on the Speed Zone Cameras and the Infrastructure Trust Ordinances
Greetings to all:
Over the last two weeks the City Council has had two matters, Speed Zone Cameras and The Infrastructure Trust that were voted on. These matters have been in discussion for approximately six (6) weeks. Over that period of time thorough discussion were had and questions and concerns, by councilmen and the public were discussed. The State Legislation passed a state law that enacted local governments to use speed cameras around schools and Parks. Mayor Emmanuel, after six weeks of discussions and revisions the School Safety Zone Camera’s ordinance was introduced. Some highlights of Ordinance are as follows:
- Current School Zone Speed Limit- 20 MPH When children are present
- Proposed Enforcement Speed - 26 MPH when children are Present – 6 mph above legal speed
- Current Speed on Main Streets Surrounding Parks - 30 MPH
- Proposed Enforcement Speed - 36 MPH – 6 mph above legal speed limit
- Hours of enforcement around Schools- 7am to 6 pm
- Hours of enforcement around Parks - 8am to 11pm
- Displays telling motorist of the presence of Cameras
- Warning Notifications (90 day information/media campaign)
- Grace periods (no cost for first violation on any newly installed camera)
- Fines associated with violations, ($35.00 fine for first violation)
- Impact on Driving Record (it will be classified as a non-moving violation),
I voted in favor of the Safety Speed Zone Camera Ordinance for several reasons. First, the current speed limit in school zones is lower than the enforcement speed. It is only enforceable when children are present. When children aren’t present and when the time limit has expired, the speed limit is the regular 30 mph.
Driving on streets that are 1/8th of a mile from a park the camera enforcement will be 6 mph over the speed limit. I want to emphasis the fact that 1 mph over the speed breaks the law. That being said, you must remember a police officer can still issue citations at any speed above the posted speed limit. No one is being authorized to break the law. A six mile per hour cushion was requested by the alderman and adjusted by the mayor.
As a past police professional and a graduate of Northwestern Traffic Institute, I know the importance of traffic control and enforcement. I have gone to traffic accidents where pedestrians have been struck and injured, mangled, dismembered and/or killed. My brother was struck by a car as a child. Both of his arms, legs and both collar bones were broken. He was hospitalized for 6 months. Thank God he lived. Information on fatalities and personal injuries in the 20th ward revealed there were 304 incidents. We have to make it safer for all. My vote for this ordinance was based on safety and better controlling some of the dangerous driving Chicago is known.
Additionally, having the ability to refer to recordings, when incidents of crime occur, and identify vehicles involved, gives the police the opportunity to apprehend offenders quicker. Fearing of detection and documentation deters people from committing crimes. The speed cameras will make communities safer. Again my vote was based on safety and in the interest of us all.
State law requires fines be invested in three areas; Schools, Transportation and Safety only. I urge all motorists to drive safely and avoid fines.
The Infrastructure Trust is merely a tool to be used to help cover the cost of projects that will be paid by through cost savings and revenue generated by traditional sources and in some cases, fees. This tool is a real resource that can and will be used to change the 20th ward for the better and cover investment cost that would not be generally available.
I am sure this information is helpful and informative. If you have further questions on the subject, please contact me for clarity and information.
Alderman Willie B. Cochran
Posted in Neighborhood News