Chicago aldermen to debate Emanuel's speed cameras on Wednesday

April 11, 2012

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Chicago aldermen meet Wednesday to chat about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to put speed cameras near schools and parks.

Emanuel has said the push is all about protecting pedestrians. But before they're willing to sign off on the cameras, some alderman have questions and suggestions for Emanuel.

The mayor is looking to fine drivers caught going 6 miles or more above the speed limit. Ald. Will Burns of the 4th Ward thinks that ought to be raised, given what he said is a tradition with police officers.

"Makes a lot more sense if it's 10 miles or above, because that's the current - sort of - practice," Burns said Tuesday.

Ald. Nick Sposato of the 36th Ward has another concern: How often will the cameras be checked?

"I'd hate to see the thing not calibrated properly, and then you're giving a boat load of tickets out for a  month, and then everybody's just getting ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket, when they were just obeying the law," Sposato said.

Also, Sposato suggested a digital sign at each camera location, so drivers can see how fast they're going and slow down in time.

"And that would be fair, and [the city] could do that," Sposato said.

Emanuel's speed camera proposal faces a big test Wednesday afternoon when it goes before a city council committee.

That hearing was already delayed once, after aldermen said they needed more information.