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Carol Stream officials defend red-light cameras
By Nadia Malik | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/16/2009 12:00 AM

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When Carol Stream officials installed a red-light camera last year at North Avenue and Kuhn Road, they made it clear they weren't interested in capturing right-turn violations.

The village's philosophy has changed, however, with the recent activation of two cameras at North and Gary avenues that are designed, in part, to catch motorists making improper right turns on red.

Village officials say the circumstances at Gary Avenue justify the change because the street curves in a dangerous way and there's more pedestrian traffic at that intersection.

"You have a lot of people trying to cross that corner," Village President Frank Saverino said. "People just zoom right through there and they don't even slow."

Village Manager Joseph Breinig said Carol Stream has spent time regulating traffic on North Avenue because the speed limit is so high and the number of vehicles going through remains large.

"For a lot of the vehicles that go through the red light, they go through it in excess of the 45 mph speed limit," he said.

Although REDFLEX Traffic Systems did a study before installing the cameras in Carol Stream, the police department did its own videotaping as well to see if they were warranted.

Chief Kevin Orr said there were 44 accidents at North and Gary in 2007, 33 in 2008 and 19 so far this year. He said there were 16 accidents at North and Kuhn in 2007, 10 last year and three so far this year.

Orr said the numbers are lower since the camera was put in, although a full year's data won't be available until December.

Saverino says he still believes the cameras increase traffic safety.

He said Carol Stream officials looked at mistakes other towns made with their cameras and tried to correct them before activating their devices.

He pointed to his town's adjudication process, which he was said was fair and offers leniency for those who presented their cases.

"It's completely a safety issue," he said.