A second red-light camera quietly went operational last week in North Riverside, with no grace period for drivers who either run a red light or fail to stop completely before turning right on a red light.
The camera is located just north of Chick-fil-A and watches over the eastbound lanes of traffic on Cermak Road at Harlem Avenue. A work crew installed the camera on Dec. 31, 2014 but it did not go live until Jan. 7.
North Riverside Deputy Police Chief Deborah Garcia confirmed that there was no warning period and that violation notices would be issued immediately to any offending drivers.
If prior experience at that intersection is any indication, the village of North Riverside is about to issue tens of thousands of violation notices to residents of and visitors to the village alike.
On May 1, 2014 the first camera at the intersection, monitoring the southbound lanes of Harlem Avenue at Cermak Road, went live. Through the first five months, the village issued more than 23,000 of the $100 violation notices and collected almost $600,000 in fines.
The village’s red-light camera vendor, SafeSpeed, which splits the fine revenue roughly 60-40, took in almost $400,000 during that time.
The village’s finance director last year conservatively estimated that North Riverside would take in about $930,000 from violations issued via the Harlem Avenue camera alone.
Figures obtained from North Riverside late last year showed that the 96 percent of violations were of the right-turn-on-red variety. Less than 1 percent of violations were issued to drivers who blew through red lights in one of the four through lanes on Harlem Avenue.
Village officials are using revenues from the Harlem Avenue red-light camera to pay North Riverside’s police pension obligation.
With a red-light camera in Berwyn monitoring the northbound lanes of Harlem Avenue at Cermak Road, there are now cameras watching over three of the four approaches to the intersection.
The two cameras at the intersection in North Riverside are the only red-light cameras in the village. Previously, using another vendor, there were cameras at three other locations. While the housings for those cameras still stand, there are no cameras inside of them.