Illinois Senator Muñoz pushes speed cameras in Chicago suburbs

March 8, 2012

Michell Eloy

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Chicago's controversial plan for speed cameras could be coming to the collar counties thanks to a new proposal from an area state senator.

Chicago Sen. Antonio Muñoz's recently introduced legislation that mirrors Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn earlier this year. It would allow cameras in suburban communities to automatically ticket drivers caught speeding within an eighth of a mile of parks and schools.

In a statement, Muñoz said the speed cameras would help protect kids. He added "police departments aren't immune from budget cuts," and that the measure would be "a cost effective way to enforce our traffic and public safety laws."

The cameras would operate around schools from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Near parks, the cameras would operate an hour before opening and an hour after closing.

Muñoz said suburban Chicago Heights, Berwyn and Melrose Park have expressed interest in using speed cameras.

Meantime, Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy is against the measure.

"It's about raising as much money as the municipalities and the city possibly can and it's about nickle and diming the public to death," said Duffy.

The city of Chicago plans to implement its plan to catch speeders by converting red light cameras already in place to use as speed cameras.

A spokesperson for Muñoz said cities wanting to adopt speed cameras would not necessarily need red light cameras in place.

The proposal has yet to be taken up by the Illinois Senate.