Monday marks the first official day for Chicago's speed camera program which kicks off with an initial 30-day warning period before fines set in for drivers caught putting too much pedal to the metal.
The first cameras are now live near Gompers Park on the city's North Side. According to the Tribune, a pair of cameras at Foster Avenue and Pulaski Road near the park are keeping tabs on speeding drivers. More cameras are set for activation near Garfield Park, Washington Park and Marquette Park on the Southwest Side by the end of next week.
The first round of 12 cameras installed around the city -- to be followed by more than 40 by year's end -- are drawing mixed reactions.
"I’m gonna love it when it’s on,” Ken Vierneisel, who lives near the Gompers Park camera, told CBS Chicago. “So let ‘em go ahead and pay the tickets. Hopefully it’ll slow ‘em down.”
Neighbor Nat Paxson, however, disagrees. “Frankly, I think it’s unconstitutional. I think it’s going to be challenged.”
Once the 30-day warning period expires in late September, motorists caught speeding 6-10 mph or more over the posted limit during designated hours will receive a $35 ticket by mail. Motorists clocked driving more than 10 mph over the limit will face $100 fines.
The speed cameras won't monitor speeds 24 hours a day. CDOT officials say hours will be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in safety zones around schools on school days. Between 7 and 4 p.m., the speed limit is 20 mph when children are present and the speed limit increases to 30 mph between 4 and 7 p.m.
While critics have blasted the program as a revenue scheme for the city, the Chicago Department of Transportation and other city officials insist the program is to bolster pedestrian safety in areas known for excessive speeding.