Schaumburg on Tuesday night became the first community in the Northwest suburbs to officially reverse course on the growing proliferation of red-light cameras.
But the cameras themselves were already gone by late afternoon.
The village board voted unanimously to let its one-year contract from RedSpeed Illinois expire at midnight.
Much to the surprise of officials, however, the cameras at Meacham and Woodfield roads were already removed by the company at least three hours before the meeting.
Village Manager Ken Fritz sent a letter to RedSpeed on July 1 to fulfill a contractual obligation of 10 days' notice of nonrenewal.
The village won't pay any additional fees or fines for the removal of the cameras because it fulfilled all the terms and conditions of its contract, Fritz said.
The cameras weren't actually activated until November, but the setup and placement of the cameras fell within the one-year contract.
Schaumburg officials decided to step away from the cameras after an eight-month trial run when a police department study revealed that very few of the village's vehicle accidents are caused by red-light violations.
But the cameras became famous last winter for generating about 10,000 tickets and $1 million in fines just from drivers not stopping completely before turning right on red.
The village reported about 50 negative phone calls, letters and e-mails during this period, and was sued three times. Some threatened to boycott Schaumburg as a place to shop, eat and entertain.
At Tuesday's meeting, resident Brian Costin praised the village board's decision but questioned why the same data that justified taking the cameras down wasn't used before they were installed.
"I believe it was never about the safety. It was about the money," Costin said.
Right-turn enforcement was stopped in early February after two and a half months, but the cameras continued to monitor straight-ahead and left-turn violations until Tuesday.
Although the intersection of Meacham and Woodfield wasn't among the village's 10 most accident-prone crossings, it was chosen as the testing ground for the cameras as the village owns both roads.