Daily Herald
Red light cameras coming to Antioch?
By Vincent Pierri | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 4/6/2010 12:13 PM | Updated: 4/6/2010 2:29 PM

The Village of Antioch may join a growing number of Lake County towns that have installed red light cameras.

It could be months before drivers see the devices at intersections, but the idea was floated at this week's board meeting. Trustees favored the idea but admitted the move would be controversial.

Drivers in some towns have accused villages of installing cameras primarily to raise revenue through fines, not because of safety concerns. Drivers who run red lights, or don't stop completely before turning right on red, have their license plates photographed by the cameras, and are then ticketed.

Mayor Larry Hanson said he doesn't want folks to think Antioch is in it for the money.

"I know communities put these in for greed not safety," Hanson said. "Before we think of putting a camera in this town, as long as I'm mayor, it will only be for safety. I'm not interested in those cameras if we are making revenue our primary goal. That's the criticism that we are going to get."

Trustee Dennis Crosby raised the issue after reading a recent news story about Route 173 being a notoriously hazardous highways. He said Route 173 was listed as a "killer road" in a Scripps Howard News Service study of the nation's most dangerous roads.

"I was shocked to read that," Crosby said Tuesday. "I knew there were some unsafe areas but it really surprised at how high it ranked. I felt like we needed to do something."

Crosby said the most likely intersections for cameras would be along Route 173 at Savage Road, Deep Lake Road, and routes 83 and 59.

"It depends if the analysis shows the need at each intersection," Crosby said. "These cameras would be place in those high-traffic areas, not just all over town or on Main Street."

Antioch Police Chief Jim Foerster favors the cameras. He agreed with Hanson saying money is not the issue.

"I'm a cop. To me it's not about the revenue," Foerster said. "It's about writing the tickets, making the arrests, it's about consequences of breaking laws. There is revenue involved with everything we do. I'm a cop, not a revenue person."

Foerster cited positive statistics from nearby towns that have cameras in place.

He said Waukegan, Wheeling, Elk Grove Village and others have seen a significant drop in the number of intersection crashes since they installed the cameras.

"The numbers speak for themselves," he said.

The board also heard a plea from JoAnne Kriens. Her daughter JulieAnne was killed when her car was hit by a gravel truck on Route 173 in July of 2007.

"My concern is for the safety of all motorists and reaches beyond my family. My concerns are for your family and their safety as they travel the Route 173 corridor," Kriens said. "Our village officials would be remiss in their response in not researching the cost savings as well as increasing safety for our community."

No decision was made Monday. The issue will be taken up again at future meetings.

Crosby said this won't punish local drivers and law abiding citizens.

"Once residents become used to it them we won't have a lot of resident citations," he said. "We'll get the benefit from all the people that barrel through this town going someplace else. Those are the folks that need to slow down."

The Village of Antioch may join a growing number of Lake County towns that have installed red light cameras.

It could be months before drivers see the devices at intersections, but the idea was floated at this week's board meeting. Trustees favored the idea but admitted the move would be controversial.

Mayor Larry Hanson said he doesn't want folks to think Antioch is in it for the money.

"I know communities put these in for greed not safety," Hanson said. "Before we think of putting a camera in this town, as long as I'm mayor, it will only be for safety. I'm not interested in those cameras if we are making revenue our primary goal. That's the criticism that we are going to get."

Trustee Dennis Crosby raised the issue after reading a recent news story about Route 173 being one of the most dangerous roads in the state.

"I was shocked to read that," Crosby said Tuesday. "I knew there were some unsafe areas but really surprised at how high it ranked. I felt like we needed to do something."

Antioch Police Chief Jim Foerster favors the cameras. He agreed with Hanson saying money is not the issue.

"I'm a cop. To me it's not about the revenue," Foerster said. "It's about writing the tickets, making the arrests, it's about consequences of breaking laws. There is revenue involved with everything we do. I'm a cop, not a revenue person."

Foerster cited positive statistics from nearby towns that have cameras in place.

He said Waukegan, Wheeling, Elk Grove Village and others have seen a significant drop in the number of intersection crashes since they installed the cameras.

"The numbers speak for themselves," he said.

The board also heard a plea from JoAnne Kriens. Her daughter JulieAnne was killed when her car was hit by a gravel truck on Route 173 in July of 2007.

"My concern is for the safety of all motorists and reaches beyond my family. My concerns are for your family and their safety as they travel the Route 173 corridor," Kriens said. "Our village officials would be remiss in their response in not researching the cost savings as well as increasing safety for our community."

No decision was made Monday. The issue will be taken up again at future meetings.

Crosby said this won't punish local drivers and law abiding citizens.

"Once residents become used to it them we won't have a lot of resident citations," he said. "We'll get the benefit from all the people that barrel through this town going someplace else. Those are the folks that need to slow down."