Aldermen skeptical of speed camera plan

March 14, 2012

Michell Eloy

Some Chicago aldermen remain skeptical of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to put speed cameras around schools and parks. The ordinance introduced at Wednesday's City Council meeting would allow cameras to catch speeders within an eighth of mile of schools and parks.

North Side Ald. Scott Waguespack says the plan has not been well received in his ward.

"People were really upset with the whole policy in general," said Waguespack.

Waguespack said aldermen have not been given enough information on how the plan would achieve Emanuel's long-stated goal to protect kids.

The mayor continued to defend the ordinence Wednsday after introducing it Wednesday, saying the the plan asks people to "abide by the law" and "acts as a deterance" to would-be speeders.

"It has shown time and again to have done that, and that's the goal," said Emanuel.

Emanuel brought in a Fr. Christopher Devron from Christ the King Jesuit Preperatory Church and two doctors from Children's Memorial Hosptial to help argue his case to reporters.

But critics say the cameras are a money grab for the cash-strapped city.

Emanuel recently made minor changes to his camera plan, and cutting down the number of cameras and the hours of operation around schools from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

"I'm open to ideas that help enforce, help improve the bill, but I won't compromise on the bill as it relates to protecting our children," said Emanuel.

West Side Alderman Walter Burnett said others aldermen are asking for more concessions from the mayor.