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Two new red-light cameras operating in Oak Lawn

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Two new red-light cameras began issuing violation notices in Oak Lawn on Monday, bringing the total to six working cameras in the village.

          The newest additions, which have been in place for a while, are monitoring the southbound approaches of 95th Street at Pulaski Road, and the east and westbound approaches of 111th Street and Cicero Avenue.

          Village Manager Larry Deetjen explained that the cameras often do not monitor all corners of an intersection, especially when it is not fully within the jurisdiction of the same municipality. This is the case with the intersection at 95th and Pulaski, which is divided between Evergreen Park on the east side of Pulaski, and Oak Lawn on the west.

          The red-light enforcement program has been working in Oak Lawn since 2008, and the other red-light cameras are focused on the northbound lanes of Southwest Highway at 97th Street; northbound Cicero Avenue at 95th Street, and eastbound 95th Street at the same intersection; and westbound 95th Street at Ridgeland Avenue.

          Violators received $100 tickets in the mail, along with a photograph of the violation.

          According to information about the program posted on the village website, the new locations for the cameras were chosen following an evaluation of crash data at several red-light-controlled intersections.

          Deetjen said the Village Board approved the new red-light camera locations in 2014, and sent their requests to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which approved the three locations earlier this year.

          “(IDOT) doesn’t approve all the locations requested,” he added.

          As with all the other locations where cameras are situated, the cameras will photograph violations where motorists proceed through an intersection while the light is red. These cameras will also capture motorists who do not follow the law pertaining to “right turn on red” situations. In order to avoid a ticket when turning right or left on a red light, where it is allowed, vehicles must come to a complete stop before entering the crosswalk or intersection. Cars must also yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

         Deetjen noted that the village contracted with SafeSpeed LLC to install the three new cameras, while RedFlex, the company originally contracted to operate the original group of cameras had agreed to continue doing so on a month-to-month basis after the original contract expired in September.

          “Next year, we will be able to make an assessment about both companies (before deciding on a long-term agreement),” said the village manager.

          He said the village is not expecting to make more money on the newly installed cameras, asserting that safety and not revenue is the goal.

          “We allocated $561,000 in the budget for red-light camera revenue this year, and that is not going to be increased for 2016,” said Deetjen. “When you’re looking at a $560 million annual budget, that is only one percent. Our goal is not revenue. It has always been about traffic safety.”

          More information about the red-light camera program and how the intersections were chosen is available on the village website at www.oaklawn-il.gov.