Park Ridge City Council still divided on rail-crossing camera
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:55PM
For some elected officials in Park Ridge the idea of adding a railroad-crossing enforcement camera is another example of governments playing “Big Brother.”
For others it makes sense in an effort to uphold laws and improve safety.
Meeting as a Committee of the Whole this week, Park Ridge Aldermen Joe Sweeney, Dan Knight and Marty Maloney expressed support for the Police Department to seek proposals from companies that install and operate equipment for railroad-crossing enforcement. Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski is recommending a camera for the northbound lane of Greenwood Avenue at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing and has been approached by two companies interested in the project: Redflex and RedSpeed Illinois. RedSpeed currently provides the city with a traffic-enforcement camera at Oakton Street and Northwest Highway.
The railroad-crossing camera would capture vehicles that stop on the railroad tracks or continue through the crossing after the gates have begun to descend. A ticket for a first offense comes with a $250 fine.
Aldermen Jim Smith and Sal Raspanti voted against the Police Department seeking proposals for equipment.
“I think it’s a solution that’s looking for a problem,” said Raspanti, explaining that there has not been “a trend of incidents” involving trains and vehicles at the crossing, which is within his 4th Ward.
Mayor David Schmidt also opposed the concept, calling it “Big Brother.”
“I don’t think it rises to the level of a veto, but I don’t like it,” Schmidt said.