Kane County puts brakes on Geneva red light cameras
By Denise Linke For The Beacon-News March 11, 2013 2:00PM
A sign indicates a red light traffic camera at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Lake Street in River Forest. Geneva has decided to remove its red light cameras after three years.| Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 13, 2013 6:13AM
GENEVA – Drivers who run red lights on Randall Road at Fargo Drive or Williamsburg Road still have to worry about getting into a crash or being pulled over by police.
But they don’t need to fear finding a citation in their mailboxes, now that Kane County officials have required the city to end its 3-year-old red light camera enforcement program.
Crews from the city, Kane County Department of Transportation and camera vendor Redflex Inc. removed the cameras Monday morning, said Police Cmdr. Julie Nash.
“We believe the program had a positive effect in slowing down motorists and reducing the number of accidents,” said City Administrator Mary McKittrick. “But those streets are not under the city’s control, and the county’s policy is to not have cameras at intersections regardless of what the data shows.”
Geneva installed the cameras in 2010 after a traffic study showed that the intersections of Randall and Fargo and Randall and Williamsburg were most likely to benefit from them, McKittrick said. Later that year, the Kane County Board set a three-year limitation on any use of red light enforcement cameras.
“Our study also showed that cameras would be justified at the intersection of Kirk Road and Fabyan Parkway, but by then the county had set the limitation, so we didn’t put cameras there because we’d just have to take them down again,” McKittrick said.
The number of red-light-violation tickets issued by Geneva police at Randall and Williamsburg rose from 11 in 2009 to 3,121 in 2010. The number then fell to 1,816 and 1,736 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, Nash said.
Tickets issued at Randall and Fargo also were at 11 in 2009. The number then went up to 3,153 in 2010, and dropped to 1,760 in 2011 and 1,350 in 2012.
The number of accidents fell from 17 in 2009 to eight in 2012 at Randall and Williamsburg and from 24 in 2009 to 11 in 2012 at Randall and Fargo.
Some people have charged that Geneva and other cities that started photo enforcement programs did so to rake in more traffic fines, especially from out-of-town drivers.
New Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen spoke out against traffic cameras during his 2012 campaign against Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, who supported the city’s program.
Though police are concerned that removing the cameras will prompt an increase in the number of drivers running the red lights at those intersections, Nash added that the department has no plans to increase police surveillance there.
“We’re low on manpower for a number of reasons, so we will not assign dedicated patrols at those intersections other than the regular patrols already assigned to those areas,” she said.
McKittrick added that the city has no plans to install cameras at other intersections.