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The city's new speed camera program says it exists to protect the children who play in Challenger Park, not to plunder your paycheck. If children's safety is paramount, we think it might have been a wiser move not to turn half of the park into a parking lot, but ... oh well. We all know why the cameras are there.
Challenger Park is only a couple blocks long and a few car lengths wide. Many residents probably aren't even aware of its existence. It encompasses the area between the L tracks and the back wall of Graceland Cemetery, between Buena and Montrose.
Challenger Park was originally supposed to have soccer fields, wildflowers, ice rinks, and native grasses. Instead, it got divided in half -- one part, a parking lot leased to the Cubs for 25 years; and the other, a narrow two-block-long park with a dog-friendly area that residents work hard to improve and maintain. To reach the park from Irving, it's necessary to walk through a two-block-long parking lot. That's probably more dangerous for kids than a car going 33mph a couple blocks away.
- "For the first 30 days after cameras are activated in a safety zone, only warnings will be issued for speeding violations. There is a two-week period between warnings and the issuance of the first tickets in order to ensure that motorists receive their warnings before being ticketed.
- The first time a vehicle owner is eligible to receive an enforceable violation, they will instead receive a final warning. Fines for violations are $35 for vehicles traveling 6-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while in a safety zone, and $100 for vehicles traveling 11 or more miles over the posted speed limit.
- The City will start enforcement by only issuing tickets for speeders going 10 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit. That ticket threshold will gradually be lowered going forward."
UU Note: All three of Uptown's aldermen -- James Cappleman, Ameya Pawar, and Harry Osterman -- voted "no" on the issue of speed cameras around parks and schools. However, the measure passed through the City Council by a margin of 33-14.